An Order Warns of Treatments Without Scientific Validity in the Field of Mental Health

Family horoscopes are a way to help resolve conflicts that pass from generation to generation, through a therapy that is developed, in many cases, in sessions with groups of people.

The Psychologists Union has warned of the dangers of illegal therapeutic practices such as family horoscopes, arguing that no one who needs a mental health answer should seek them out.

“I’m afraid (…) that these types of practices find recipients willing to find a miraculous solution, but that cannot be considered in the field of science,” says President Francisco Miranda Rodríguez. According to this official, in the case of the so-called family horoscopes, a treatment developed by the German Bert Hellinger, “it is important that people are clear that it is a practice that is not in the scientific field.”

Family horoscopes are a way to help resolve conflicts that pass from generation to generation, through therapies developed, in many cases, in sessions with groups of people who represent different family roles, with the aim of overcoming conflictive personal or family situations. . This method tries to explain how a series of behaviors inherited from one generation to the next negatively affect family members, and it is supposed that it can also help to solve problems such as depression or psychosocial difficulties.

“It is not a psychological intervention, nor something that should be used by people seeking a supportive mental health response. It is not safe,” warns the president. A warning that the “family constellation”, which has been practiced for about 15 years in Portugal, is considered the result of “ignorance” about how this type of treatment works, due to the lack of knowledge of the “scientific basis of the constellations”. ”, which have “an enormous prevalence and expansion” in the country.

“All therapies are complementary. There is no one who has the ultimate truth,” says the “transpersonal psychologist,” who requested anonymity, claiming that she was not willing to “enter this war” that “is no longer new” with the Guild of psychologists. For the therapist herself, family constellations, a field in which she is also a coach, are “a way of opening awareness” and constitute “more holistic approaches” than psychotherapy. Adherence to the practice also “shows that people have really left.” to many places and don’t have the answers” they need.

“I have had many patients who have been in psychotherapy consultations for 10 or 15 years and who, in two or three groups, have their lives resolved,” he said. “I have a completely tight schedule until July of next year. I just did an event with 50 people and I’m going to do an event with 100 people in December,” she revealed, acknowledging that the practice is not regulated in Portugal.

He also added that people who resort to it are divided into three large groups: they have problems in family relationships, depression and other mental illnesses, and diseases such as cancer, and many times they find in this treatment a complementary response to conventional medicine. “At the moment, fortunately, I have psychologists from a more innovative area who want to train in constellations because they have realized that psychology doesn’t solve everything, because conventional medicine doesn’t solve everything,” he says.

The concern of the College of Psychologists is not new. Already in 2019, it issued an opinion that family horoscopes “do not constitute a recognized therapeutic paradigm in psychological science”, as well as “they do not have a scientific, theoretical, academic or socio-professional framework”.

The document explains that in a session of this practice, generally in a group, “the client introduces a topic and the family group facilitator requests objective information about the family.” Then the client chooses, among other members of the group, some to represent his relatives or himself. Guided by the reactions of these representatives, the facilitator guides the representatives towards a solution that improves family relations, “says the opinion. However, “there is no information, much less scientific studies that allow us to understand what exactly these family constellations are. and how they work or how to evaluate their effectiveness”, which are not yet subject to any type of “professional regulation”.

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