Prince Harry taps himself on film as he starts new EDMR therapy for PTSD – what is it?
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Prince Harry has been open about combining alternative therapies with traditional medicine to help deal with his mental health problems.
The 36-year-old has revealed that he uses EMDR or ‘tapping’ methods to address his energy balance and begin to alleviate his symptoms, and treat his PTSD diagnosis.
Sanja Oakley leads a session with him on camera for his new AppleTV series, The Me You Can’t See. Other celebrity fans of the technique include Oprah and Jameela Jamil, who said it "saved her life".
But what exactly is EDMR all about, and how does it work? Let’s take a look…
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EDMR stands for Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming and those experiencing symptoms of PTSD so that they can come to terms with the past and move on.
It is a recognised treatment and recommended by the NHS and WHO for treating PTSD.
The clinically proven psychotherapeutic technique EDMR works by addressing previously traumatic events and reframing their associations within the brain.
The sufferer recalls the traumatic event in details while the therapist instructs making eye movements, usually by following your therapist's finger movement.
The physical act of tapping on the body can also be used to create a new memory when recalling traumatic events, to replace them with the sensation that the individual is safe.
EMDR offers a therapeutic way of dealing with feelings and emotions or unpleasant vivid memories that we have held on to.
Traumatic events can often not be stored in the usual way in the brain's memory, which is why they can often replay, particularly during REM sleep, where they present as dreams.
EDMR helps these memories store correctly so that they are less occurring in the daily lives of the sufferer.
Often, EDMR will be offered as a substitute to cognitive behavioural therapy and has been found to be more effective by some studies.
It doesn’t matter how much time has passed since the traumatic event, and EDMR therapy can treat PTSD at any stage.
Harry’s therapist Sanja Oakley has previously worked with London Underground and with victims of the July 2006 London bombings.
For more information about EMDR, you can visit the EDMR association’s website.
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