This is why Prince Harry volunteered to have therapy on camera, says director

‘He volunteered, he was game for trying something,’ says documentary director

Olivia Petter
Monday 24 May 2021 10:07 BST
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Prince Harry does EMDR psychotherapy with Oprah
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The Duke of Sussex volunteered to have his therapy session filmed for his new series on mental health, The Me You Can’t See, created in collaboration with Oprah Winfrey.

In the new Apple TV series, which aired on Friday, Prince Harry is shown undergoing a form of therapy called eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), which works by blocking out traumatic memories.

Now, speaking to Town and Country magazine, the director of the episode, Dawn Porter, has revealed that it was the duke’s idea to undergo the treatment on camera.

“He volunteered, he was game for trying something,” she told the publication.

“And we thought well, we have the opportunity to film this [therapy] and maybe this is something that will work for some people, maybe it won’t, but the idea is that you don’t tick a box and you’re done, mental wellness is an ongoing pursuit.

“You have to continue to try new things and to push yourself and his volunteering to try something was a great way to emphasise and underscore that point.”

In the episode, Prince Harry explains that he first chose to undergo EMDR in order to deal with the loss of his mother Princess Diana, who died in a car accident in 1997 when he was 12 years old.

“EMDR is always something that I wanted to try and that was one of the varieties of different forms of healing or curing that I was willing to experiment with, and I never would have been open to that had I not put in the work and the therapy that I’ve done over the years,” the duke told Winfrey.

Winfrey accompanied him for his session with EMDR therapist Sanja Oakley in the third episode of the show.

Explaining how visiting the UK is traumatising for him, Prince Harry said: “Of course for me, London is a trigger, unfortunately. Because of what happened to my mum, and because of what I experienced and what I saw.”

According to the EMDR Institute, the practice “is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.”

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