Are family constellations effective?

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

In 2015, 322 million patients worldwide or 4.4% of the world’s population suffered from depression. There was an 18.4% increase in the number of affected people from 2005. Moreover, it is estimated that women, especially between the age of 55 and 74, are more likely to suffer from depression, compared to men of all ages and classes.

According to Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators, 2016 and WHO, 2017, factors such as poverty, unemployment, the death of a loved one, ending of an affectively meaningful relationship, physical illness or problems rooted in the use of alcohol and drugs, increase the chances of depression.

It is estimated that by 2030, in countries with high incomes, this disorder will be one of the three main causes of diseases, along with HIV/AIDS and ischemic heart problems. Therefore, the use of specialized psychotherapies, to mitigate the progression of depressive disorders, appears to be relevant.


The psycho-therapeutic intervention process of family constellation integrates elements of systemic family therapy and phenomenological existential therapies. Even though it has worldwide acceptance, some studies have examined its benefits. Hoppner in 2001 estimated that Family Constellation increases self-esteem and reduces psycho-pathological symptoms. Whereas, Hunger, Bornha ̈user, Link, Schweitzer, & Weinhold, 2014, concluded that family constellation increases the quality of personal interactions with social systems, for example, the sense of belonging, autonomy, and trust.

A study by Sandra Ramos and George A. Ramosin 2020, analyzed the process of change and the effectiveness of five sessions of family constellations (FC) using mixed methods in mixed settings such as video-conference and in person.

Besides the significant reduction in stress and depression levels, the effectiveness of FC was also highlighted in other areas. For example, the patient clarified feelings, released guilt and solved pending family issues. Moreover, in the physical domain, the patient improved her digestive process, stopped having eye pains, and increased the quality of her sleep.

Overall, in this study was observed a reduction in the symptoms of depression from a severe level to normal. During the three months of follow up, the sessions were made in-person as well as online. Moreover, the interventions promoted contact with reality, psycho-emotional establishment, self-determination, and finding meaning in autobiographical events.

Source: Process of Change and Effectiveness of Family Constellations: A Mixed Methods Single Case Study on Depression
Ramos and Ramos 2020
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