Prince Harry, counselling, rain dancing and the Stiff Upper Lip

Prince Harry’s announcement that he did not seek counselling over his mother’s death for twenty years and regretted not having done so depends on what type of counselling he received. What is generally understood as counselling, talking to a therapist about your fears, difficulties and past traumas, (sometimes called confessional counselling) has never been proved to be of any long term benefit. You might feel better immediately, a phenomena some call the ‘McFreud Effect’, but there is no evidence that talking about your difficulties has any effect on your long term psychiatric morbidity or well being. It seems that psychoanalysis, Jungian therapy, interpersonal therapy and the like are no better than rain dancing, tarot reading or Morris dancing.

On the other hand cognitive behavioural therapy where you train yourself to replace destructive or obsessive thoughts with positive ones is as good as or better than confessional counselling or anti-depressants.

So, as one landmark study showed, is adopting a ‘stiff upper lip”.

Unfortunately the prince did not tell us what type of counselling he received which is a bit like failing to mention whether your kidney stones were removed by a surgeon or a witch doctor.

Medical References

Hard Medical Evidence

Stiff Upper Lip

Oxford University Press Counselling in Primary Care 2000  Chap 6 pp 85/99 The Sceptical View Myles Harris



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