Understanding the emotional content of the therapeutic relationship

Posts in category [:el]Εκπαίδευση[:en]Training

The basic two-year training in Balint groups

Balint groups constitute a method of training and research (“training-cum-research” groups) that provide to health/mental health professionals (doctors, psychologists, nurses, midwives, social workers etc) a space to narrate their experiences from their clinical practice within a group of peers with the aim of better comprehending the psychological aspects of their work and cultivate personal skills like understanding, empathy and active listening towards their patients.

The participants, based on a case from their clinical practice, have the opportunity inside the group and with the help of the group leader, to try to understand the difficult aspects of the therapeutic relationship with certain patients (communication problems, non-compliance to treatment, boundary crossings etc). Just like the clinician-patient relationship occupies a central position in healthcare provision, equally in the group this relationship is placed in the centre of interest of the members in order to become an object of elaboration for them.  In this elaboration, the complexity of the clinical relationship emerges (emotions, psychological defenses, limitations) as well as the role of illness (or the medical problem/symptom) and the environment (patient’s family, clinical setting etc) in the interaction of the doctor/clinician with his/her patient.

Through their work in the group, the participants cultivate their ability to listen to their patients in a more effective and meaningful way. This improves the communication that they maintain with them and at the same time it helps them in their clinical work and contributes to a better personal mental state in and out of work. Moreover, by observing him/herself in the group which gives a feedback through their statements and opinions on the case presented, the clinician (doctor or other health/mental health professional) can trace any possible “blind spots” s/he may have and may render his/her communication with certain patients difficult, thus cultivating his/her capability for self-observation and reflective practice.

*The Hellenic Balint Groups function under the auspices of the British Balint Society and the participation in them counts in the credits that are needed for the Balint group leader accreditation (see below). 

Training in Balint group leadership

The training of Balint group leaders is conducted in Greece under the auspices of the British Balint Society that provides the accreditation upon successful completion of training. The prospective group leaders are usually doctors and psychologists who have a considerable experience as group members (in an ongoing group or in Balint weekends and workshops) and have the desire to train as leaders. The training in leadership includes the co-leading of groups with an accredited leader, individual and group supervision and the participation of the trainees in theoretical seminars.

For more information on the training programme you can contact the Responsible person for training of the Hellenic Balint Groups, Mrs Lida Bitrou, at lbit@otenet.gr or by phone at 210 8016400.

Theoretical seminars

The theoretical seminars constitute an important part of the training of new group leaders and are also addressed to members who have completed at least one year of participation in a Balint group and wish to enrich their empirical knowledge with some knowledge on theoretical issues surrounding Balint groups

The seminars are conducted one Saturday a month in our premises in Kifissia and are based on the study and discussion of texts and articles relevant to Balint groups, Psychoanalysis and Psychosomatics as well as the doctor-patient and therapist-client relationship. The rapporteurs are accredited Balint group leaders as well as invited persons who are involved in a clinical, academical or research context with the above scientific subjects.

Indicatively, in the first introductory seminar with the title “The relationship of Psychoanalysis with Balint groups: Freud, Ferenczi, Balint” we study the work and theories of Michael Balint, the influences that he received from Freud’s metapsychology and the work of Sandor Ferenczi -who was his analyst, mentor and friend- and his relationship with him, as well the convergences and divergences from the freudian theory and technique. Moreover, we are interested in the role of these influences and equally his differentiations in the creation and function of Balint groups.


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Hellenic Society of Medical Psychology and Balint Groups

Tel. +30-210 8016400
email: info@balintgroupgreece.com


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