Monday, March 19, 2012
comment about astrology by a practicing psychotherapist friend
Astrology is at best a pseudoscience with little or no empirical evidence to support its claims. However, people are entitled to their beliefs, and if some people find that believing in the powers of planetary alignment or whatever gives them symptomatic relief, then that's just fine by me. I feel the same way about homeopathy, witchcraft, religion, magic, alchemy etc etc. - their placebo effect can be powerful, but to claim that deep-rooted psychological or physical problems can be cured by them is disingenuous at best and potentially dangerous. Counselling doesn't claim to have all the answers, but aims to help individuals to use their own resources to end potentially destructive patterns of behaviour within a safe therapeutic alliance. The relationship between the therapist and client is probably the most powerful element of the process, and the debate still rages on whether or not counselling/psychotherapy is an art or a science. However, where trained practitioners work within a code of ethics laid down by a professional body, (and I wouldn't recommend seeing any practitioner who doesn't) scientific claims must be backed up by scientific evidence. This doesn't seem to be the case for astrology, which seems to call itself a science but then exempts itself from validation criteria generally accepted by the rest of the scientific community.