Balint-style case discussion groups in psychiatric training: an evaluation

Acad Psychiatry. 2009 May-Jun;33(3):198-203. doi: 10.1176/appi.ap.33.3.198.


Objectives: The authors aim to identify any benefits or limitations of psychiatric residents attending a Balint-style case discussion group, to explore those experiences, to study the process of the learning experience, and to identify potential educational implications.

Methods: Seventeen psychiatric residents and counselors completing two parallel case discussion groups at a U.K. psychotherapy service were given in-depth interviews about their experiences of this training. Interview transcripts were analyzed using qualitative methodology.

Results: The groups were anxiety provoking; most participants were able to progressively accommodate to and benefit from the psychological learning process, but some struggled to adapt.

Conclusion: Basic psychological competency and the awareness of the self in relation to the patient can be fostered through attendance at a case discussion group. With some limitations, Balint groups continue to be a useful way of introducing young psychiatrists to psychological processes.

MeSH terms

  • Group Processes*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychiatry / education*
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy / education*
  • Teaching / methods*
  • United Kingdom