Everybody I know goes to therapy now. "Wellness" and "self-care" have seeped into every corner of what must be such miserable lives that we’re always seeking something better. We can’t be triggered. We hate toxicity. We must feel heard.
There is no better example of this than Prince Harry. The tortured duke’s latest memoir, Spare, is a 416-page therapy session that is so deeply personal it almost feels wrong to listen in. Every page reveals a new trauma and every revelation is not a nasty swipe at his family but an important part of his healing. He...
Everybody I know goes to therapy now. “Wellness” and “self-care” have seeped into every corner of what must be such miserable lives that we’re always seeking something better. We can’t be triggered. We hate toxicity. We must feel heard.
There is no better example of this than Prince Harry. The tortured duke’s latest memoir, Spare, is a 416-page therapy session that is so deeply personal it almost feels wrong to listen in. Every page reveals a new trauma and every revelation is not a nasty swipe at his family but an important part of his healing. He must tell his truth. It is the only way.
It may be the British in me, but I dare ask, is there such a thing as too much therapy? Must every bad day be made into something more than just that, a bad day? Everything in Harry’s life that hasn’t gone smoothly is catastrophized. It is abundantly clear that whoever is psychoanalyzing the prince is telling him that nothing is his fault.
The first third of the book is telling. Harry recounts the death of his mother, the color of the crisp but imperfect sheets that he pulled up to his face the night he was awakened with the news. He remembers not shedding a single tear until the burial because in his head she wasn’t dead. It was all an elaborate ruse to trick the press. She would come back for Harry and William when the coast was clear. He would go on believing this until he was twenty-three.
It was the death of Diana that shaped his entire life. He recalls that every click of a camera would take him back to that moment. The moment he looked at the crime scene photos as a boy, wondering what the orb-like bright lights in them were, later finding out they were the flashes of the paparazzi. His visceral hatred for the British press has influenced every move he has made since then. But now whatever shrink that Harry is seeing in California has made him cannon fodder for front-page news.
His campaign is full of contradictions. He wants privacy; he does four interviews in a week. He hates the institution; he refuses to give up his titles. He’s moving on; he is fixated on the past. He even audaciously claimed that he hopes the next conversations he has with his father and brother stay confidential.
Is the therapy-speak part of Prince Harry’s plan? To trash-talk his family under the guise that it’s healing his poor mental health? After all, it’s harder to poke fun at someone when they introduce themselves as mentally ill. In just about every interview he’s given, Harry has pushed hard to let us all know that he is “healed and happier than ever.” I’m just not buying it.
Part of the problem may lie with BetterUp, the cult-like coaching platform where Harry serves as “Chief Impact Officer.” Late last year in San Francisco, the prince said onstage that “I never, ever, ever thought I would be saying, ‘Therapy is good, and coaching will change your life’ or ‘both will change your life.’ And the more people that we can get that to, the better.” But the problem is with BetterUp, their cheesy mantras, such as if you believe you can, you can, is just that. They’re mantras. The testimonies of ex-employees show that while they may talk the talk, by all accounts they do not walk the walk. It has been branded a “Toxic Boys Club” where wartime language was used to push people to their limits. Another claimed it was a “psychologically unsafe place to work.”
There is the truth, and then there is Harry’s truth. Just look at the backtrack on Meghan’s claims of racism within the royal family. An unknown family member wondering what skin tone Archie had has gone from the evil of an inherently racist institution to a troubling “unconscious bias” that Harry believes “isn’t racism.” Is he gaslighting us? His biggest peeve with the palace was that they did not speak out against the press narrative of his wife, yet he let his own grandmother the Queen be branded as a racist for the last few years of her life. Not to mention how idiotic he’s made the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry look, who have continuously peddled the narrative of the big-bad-royal-family ever since.
So we must question just how much good this therapy has done for Prince Harry. This doesn’t look like a man who has dealt with his issues and is looking to start a new chapter. It looks like somebody who has fixated on the worst moments of his life and has become full of anger because of it.