What is Family constellation pros and cons Pseudoscience

Ever wondered what it is? Or did you see a group of people somewhere around an individual doing “group therapy?” It may be that you have seen or had some contact with a family constellation work. It is a technique in the field of brief psychotherapy linked to systemic therapies.

Brief psychotherapy is a shorter treatment than the others. The constellation seeks to make a “session” with a focus. Many professionals who do the family constellation with their clients do it wrongly because they do not have prior preparation with the emotional involvement it causes. And it is because of this and other situations that the family constellation can indeed be dangerous.

Let’s understand a little more what family constellation is and if its practice is dangerous. In this Psychology-Online article we will answer you if family constellation is dangerous.

Family constellation: pros and cons


  • Helps in family balance;
  • Prevents “interrupted movements” from happening;
  • Support after stressful and bereavement situations.


  • It has no proven empirical evidence;
  • Many professionals who perform are not able to practice.

What is family constellation

The constellation theory was created by Bert Hellinger (German) and has some foundations in Milton Erickson’s Theory (father of regression) and emerges with the familiar systemic principles with the help of psychodrama and phenomenology (line of philosophy).

Phenomenology basically portrays that the body is always manifesting what the unconscious wants and doesn’t want. The body appears with physical symptoms and characteristics linked to the unconscious and conscious emotional state.

Knowing this, in the midst of the practice of family constellation, individuals can see the physical reactions and especially the professional will be able to have a better idea of ​​what the person is feeling or going through.

It is linked to the concept of the constellations of the stars – they in the sky, they live in harmony – they live in a system. Despite this, we recognize that family constellations are often used in disharmonious and troubled families – precisely to seek the synchrony of this system.

The family constellation is strongly linked to systemic thinking and within this thinking we are linked to some characteristics such as:

  • There are no victims;
  • There are no villains;
  • We made mistakes, because we failed to do something that was not indicated;
  • To repeat what our “previous ones” did;
  • “Give me a little piece of your pain , we’ll share it and I’ll take it with me” – these hidden dynamics are what are often linked to psychological disorders according to the family constellation.

This last point is extremely important because, in systemic theory, when we don’t have the will or ability to change something “wrong” – that is to say, it is systemic, because it came from other environments, it came from your relatives or your experiences, so, like like many theories, we need to “look back”.

Family constellation – Pseudoscience

In the magazine “Questão de Ciência” it is recalled that despite what is widely believed, the constellation does not have empirical evidence, that is, with proven experiments. And that’s its main disadvantage.

But empirically proven or not, it’s very easy to find people who participated in constellations and had great benefits.

So, despite not being proven, there are several witnesses to its effectiveness. So, accepting that it can work, in which cases can the constellation help?

  • Family conflicts (focus);
  • Mourning;
  • Post-traumatic stress;
  • Social difficulties (such as social phobia).

Another important negative point of the family constellation is that the CFP (Federal Council of Psychology) does not authorize the use of this practice by psychologists in psychotherapy, so many instructors are not prepared to use it, with that, they may also not be prepared for the situation. emotional experience that the constellation can bring to each person.

How to make a family constellation

It can be applied in a group or individually, in which case an intermediary is needed to perform it

  • A specific theme is needed to make the family constellation;
  • The family constellation is done with unknown people;
  • Use of phrases with healing power;
  • Healing systemic movements;
  • Understanding and releasing the “weight” of things you “carried” due to your system.

Almost always the theme is chosen by the professional who will perform it. It is not suitable for an unprepared person to perform the constellation. Today there are several professional courses to apply it correctly. After all, the practice involves situations of intense emotional involvement – it is necessary to be prepared to give the help that these individuals can and will need.

Is family constellation dangerous?

Having said all that, the family constellation can be dangerous, as there is no empirical scientific proof – so much so that it is not recognized by the Federal Council of Psychology (CFP). The practice has several controversies and for many it is considered a set of pseudoscientific evidence.

Constellation is deception?

Knowing that the family constellation is a pseudoscience doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. You should only pay attention when your therapist starts talking about empirical scientific evidence, because, so far, they don’t exist.

Ideally, a therapist would explain that while there are results – there is no proof. For if your therapist has referred you to a constellation and is talking about empirical evidence that is validated, he is speaking an untruth to support his argument that the constellation is the best option.

So the family constellation is only dangerous if the therapist performing it speaks fallacies and exaggerates the evidence – because as much as therapy does work for some people, its evidence is unscientific. If you want to carry out the family constellation because you thought it was valid for you, look for a good professional who will guide you truthfully.

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