Recently I had an article released in The Canberra Times talking about “The Me You Can’t See”, the combined Oprah and Prince Harry mini-series which discusses mental health, including Harry’s own experiences which lead to him taking his wife and family and leaving the UK.
Back in February, after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex aired their initial interview with Oprah, I prepared an article in response to something I had read in the New York Journal from Bessel van der Kolk, the author of “The Body Keeps the Score”. Bessel van der Kolk is a psychiatrist who is well-known for his trauma expertise, and normally I would say that he speaks a lot of sense. I met him in Spain almost a decade ago, and he has previously shared a lot of wisdom in his approach, especially about the physical manifestation of trauma in the body. However, in this particular article, I was really surprised because Bessel claimed that just because Prince Harry had lost his mother, this was no guarantee that there was any traumatic impact. I was shocked! I just couldn’t believe what he was saying.
Of course, the death of Prince Harry’s mother was going to have a traumatic impact on him
Prince Harry’s story makes perfect sense. He hates the UK media with a vengeance because, in his mind, they are the ones that are responsible for his mother’s death. The way he views it, they murdered her.
Is he ever going to have a great relationship with the tabloid media? Of course not.
The approach taken by Bessel van der Kolk was really surprising. Sometimes individuals in certain professions spend an awful lot of time trying to validate their intellectual position on it, rather than actually looking at the experiences that people have as reasonable, and expressing empathy for those experiences.
Harry was watching his wife being chased around by the media, in the same way that they used to pursue his mother when he was a boy. Is that triggering? Absolutely. Does it cause issues? Of course it does! He became distressed, feeling like he was going to lose another woman in his life and he couldn’t protect her. It all makes perfect sense.
Prince Harry talks about using EMDR Therapy to process his traumatic experiences, making everything feel better
You can tell that EMDR Therapy has been effective for Harry, especially when you compare the way he speaks in comparison to others, including Oprah and Lady Gaga in ‘The Me You Can’t See’. When Harry speaks about his traumatic experience, his demeanour is quite different to when Lady Gaga, Oprah or others in the series open up about their mental health challenges. While many can be seen to be still highly emotional about their experiences, Harry is able to recall his experiences calmly and with clarity. That’s not great editing, that is how EMDR Therapy processes the negative emotions associated with the traumatic experience.
The Duke of Sussex supports that attitude that I have spoken abut for many years, which is the need to support humanity to build mental resilience. That is the reason I developed the Mental Muscle Method 12-week program looking at building psychological awareness and increased resilience. This method is focussed on how we prepare people for emotional challenges or difficulties and provide them a range of strategies that assist them to build self-awareness to help them move through it and get on with life.