EMDR therapy receives royal approval
Last week, it was revealed that Prince Harry has been undergoing EMDR therapy to help deal with the trauma surrounding the death of his mother, Princess Diana. In a new documentary, The Me You Can’t See, co-produced by Harry and Oprah Winfrey, he allows a camera into one of his therapy sessions with therapist, Sanja Oakley.
WHAT IS EMDR?
EMDR therapy was developed in the 1980s and according to the EMDR Institute, it “is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences”. The NHS, World Health Organisation and Ministry of Defence recommend it for helping to recover from trauma and PTSD. An increasing number of people are opening up about their experience of EMDR therapy including celebrities such as Kate Garraway, Mel B, Evan Rachel Wood and Jameela Jamil.
OPENING UP ABOUT EMDR THERAPY
By allowing a camera crew into a session, it really opens up our knowledge of the Prince but also better illustrates what EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) therapy is and what it can do.
The film shows an EMDR session in progress and Harry is instructed by the therapist to think about specific memories and then talk about the feelings connected to those. Harry then uses bilateral stimulation to help re-process these traumatic memories and change the emotions connected to them.
Harry is tapping his hands to induce bi-lateral stimulation, however this can be done in a number of ways. Other methods include following a finger or a light bar with your eyes or holding buzzers in your hands. It is hoped the release of this film will help illustrate better how EMDR works. This should take away some of the fear of the unknown associated with such psychotherapies.
Here are some recent newspaper articles on Prince Harry undergoing EMDR: