DR MAX PEMBERTON: Why I fear Harry’s had too much therapy
- Prince Harry spoke about his need to leave the Royal Family in an interview
- Max Pemberton explains characteristics of those who’ve had too much therapy
- NHS psychiatrist says Harry should turn difficulties into something positive
We all have things that we carry with us. Life’s slings and arrows are part of being human. That’s not to dismiss people’s suffering. Far from it. People have to endure a lot. It’s up to us, however, how we deal with it.
And certainly there are times we benefit from talking about our troubles.
At the launch of his Apple TV+ mental health series last week, Prince Harry spoke about how the ‘majority of us carry some form of unresolved trauma, loss or grief’. Well, yes, we do. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. In fact, it can actually be a force for good.
The failures, struggles and difficulties we experience are what make us learn to stand on our own two feet and be stable, secure adults. It is part of learning how to deal with frustration, anxiety and uncertainty. This seems to have passed him by.
Dr Max Pemberton claims Prince Harry is starting to embody the characteristics of those who’ve had too much therapy. Pictured: Prince Harry speaking at the Global Citizen VAX live event
Harry launched a further broadside at the Royal Family in an interview on Thursday, during which he appeared to suggest both his father and the Queen failed as parents.
He said he needed to leave the Royals to ‘break the cycle’ of ‘genetic pain and suffering’ for the sake of his own children.
Far from being the poster-child for the benefits of therapy, I’m afraid Harry is actually becoming quite the opposite.
He is starting to embody the characteristics of those who’ve had too much therapy — self-centred, self-obsessed, aggrieved and resentful. He says he’s talking about his troubles ‘to help other people’. This rings rather hollow.
While a bit of self-obsession is acceptable inside a therapist’s office, it is unbecoming in public, especially from someone who has — and continues to have — a life of almost unparalleled luxury and privilege.
It would be far more helpful if Harry showed through his actions how he has turned his difficulties into something positive, rather than simply sounding spoilt and angry.
He has also failed to understand that the modern obsession with getting everything off your chest, airing every grievance, isn’t helpful at all.
Sometimes a stiff upper lip is precisely what’s needed. Sometimes talking about something endlessly isn’t the answer. Talking can only make so much difference. There are times when you need to accept the past and move on.
No amount of chat is going to change what has happened.
Dr Max (pictured) said we have become a little too obsessed with every single emotion we experience, in our rush to encourage people to explore their feelings
The best advice doesn’t always come from Freud or Jung. I often think a good mantra to live your life by is the song from Disney’s Frozen: Let It Go.
After all, isn’t that all that psychotherapy is, really? It’s simply helping us to let go of something in the past and move on. And there does come a point where people do have to let stuff go.
At what point, for example, do you stop looking back and start looking forward? At what point do you stop blaming your parents for all the mistakes you’ve made in your life?
Now that’s not to say I’m not a great fan of psychotherapy. I’ve had psychotherapy myself and I’ve trained in it. But I also think there can be too much navel-gazing.
In our rush to encourage people to explore their feelings, we have become a little too obsessed with every single emotion we experience.
Sometimes, the best thing someone can do is to pick themself up, dust themself off, accept that they have been knocked down and get on with their life.
I’m not saying bottling things up is the answer. That can cause a multitude of problems as things fester. But, equally, there comes a point when you have to leave wounds alone. Constantly reopening and examining them only makes them take longer to heal and more likely to scar.
Looking at the young who embrace the idea that we must constantly examine our feelings, I wonder if they really are happier than the older generation?
Has society got noticeably better, with more psychologically rounded individuals? I’m not convinced it has.
If anything, I think people have become more self-obsessed and narcissistic. I think about my nan and the awful hardships and traumas she had to endure.
Not only did you never hear her complain, I didn’t know half the stuff she had gone through. She didn’t speak about it because she knew she couldn’t change what had happened. Instead, she got on with living. Isn’t that a good way to live your life?
If Harry really wants to help people, rather than following the trend for oversharing — which has done little to help the mental wellness of large swathes of the La La Land elite — he would do far better to look closer to home and ask himself who are the modern royals we most admire?
Who, over the past few decades, come across as the most psychologically robust?
It’s certainly not his much- loved mother Princess Diana, who, despite hours upon hours of psychotherapy, was still dogged by problems.
No, the royals people look up to are the Queen and Princess Anne, both of whom are paragons of emotional restraint.
I’ve no doubt both have their own issues, as everyone does, but they just get on with things, don’t they? They don’t wallow in self-pity or spend all day self-analysing. They let it go.
Dangerous allure of an ex-lover
Dr Max said we forget the reality that our ex’s personality didn’t work with ours, as there’s something comforting in familiarity. Pictured: JLo and Ben Affleck
Hollywood stars Ben Affleck and JLo are rumoured to be back together. Who hasn’t been tempted to get back with their ex? Past lovers seem to have a magical pull, despite us knowing they are not right. For some people there’s a self-sabotage element — they know they’re ex is bad for them and that is the appeal. But there’s also something comforting in familiarity. We found our ex attractive once and, for many people, that attraction remains. We forget the reality that their personality didn’t work with ours. There’s also something incredibly intoxicating about being with someone who already knows you. Sure, the first throes of love are great, but there’s also something to be said for the security of someone who gets you. This is really what we want, deep down.
- Postnatal depression has been twice as common in mothers during lockdown, according to the latest research. Most people don’t realise the number one cause of death in pregnant women and new mothers is, tragically, suicide. This shocking statistic was first uncovered by a confidential inquiry which triggered nationwide perinatal psychiatry services to be set up. Everyone in perinatal psychiatry is dedicated to helping support pregnant women and new mums. If you’re worried about a new mum, or are struggling yourself, then please do speak to your GP.
Dr Max said he has seen the horrors of what can happen to cyclist and is passionate about everyone wearing a helmet
Dr Max prescribes…
An eco helmet
Since lockdown began, I’ve got into cycling — it’s such a relaxing and enjoyable way to exercise. But having worked in A&E and seen the horrors of what can happen to cyclists, I’m passionate about everyone wearing a helmet. I love those from Dashel. Each one is designed and made in the UK and at the end of its life, customers can return their helmet to Dashel for recycling, and they will be given money off their next purchase in return. n From £79, dashel.co.uk
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