18th International Balint Congress (Heidelberg, Germany)

imagesCAJDGI0PThe 18th International Balint congress took place in Heidelberg, Germany from 7 to 11 of September with the topic : Attachment and Relationship (between a patient and a doctor) in the framework of Balint.

Colleagues and people interested in Balint work (doctors, therapists, psychologists, students, nurses and other health related professionals) met to discuss and share the latest developments in their work with Balint groups. They also shared their experiences and everyday reality of their work and the structure of the medical practice in their respective countries. Many interesting lectures were heard on the topic “Attachment and Relationship” where the doctor-patient relationship was analyzed in the context of Balint theory as well as further developments and experiences both from research and practice.

The lectures were presented by “balintian” university and medical clinic professionals, who had been invited from different countries. They presented their research and their work. Among these lectures, a lecture that was received with many positive comments was that of Dr. Sotiris Zalidis in which he presented his work with first-year medical students from the University of London Medical School.

In this five days congress many Balint groups were formed (simple Balint groups, psychodrama Balint groups and leaders’ groups) where every participant had five ninety-minute sessions, so as to live the experience of a Balint group and contribute to the group with his/her thoughts and his/her cases that challenge or emotionally agitate him/her.

The congress took place in the University Clinic Ludolf-Krehl, a beautiful building located in the green campus “Neuenheimer Feld”. There were also additional activities after the congress such as a tourist visit in the old town of Heidelberg and a boat trip on the river Nechar.

What really impressed me was not just the scientific interest or the successful organization but the fact that, despite the heterogeneity of various nationalities and backgrounds, everyone was able to grasp a better understanding of the doctor-patient relationship and different Balint groups were able to bond very quickly.

In this atmosphere, the congress ended with a farewell dinner that was organized for the participants where each country members sang a traditional song from their country.

Daphne-Tatiana Papanikolaou

Psychologist, Psychotherapist

Member of British Balint Society

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