Reframing Balint: thoughts on family medicine departmental Balint groups

Fam Med. 2003 Apr;35(4):289-90.


This paper explores recurrent processes and themes in the 1,300 family medicine faculty, resident, intern, and community Balint groups the author has facilitated/led. The frequent group "deviation" from the central Balint task of understanding difficult physician-patient relationships is reframed as less "resistance" or "obstacle" to work, as it is an expression of unmet developmental needs and organizational realities. When group members are carefully attended to (by facilitator and one another), the group often becomes emotionally capable of addressing a "case " in the conventional Balint understanding of the work the group has assembled to do. The group dynamics of such "hybrid" Balint groups thus become comprehensible as other than error.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Family Practice* / education
  • Group Processes*
  • Group Structure
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Leadership