Report from the 1st Balint Workshop

On Saturday December 14th the first Balint workshop took place with Greek participants.

Apart from the Balint group work that included case studies and discussion on them, Ms Lida Bitrou gave a presentation titled: “ What does psychoanalytical thought has to offer in a Balint Group”. An interesting discussion followed on the theoretical framework as well as the group methodology.

The workshop was an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other better and exchange thoughts and experiences on Balint and the topic of the presentation gave us the opportunity to discuss about listening in Balint group that being influenced by the psychoanalytical principles, gives prominence to the sharing within the group, the understanding of the interaction of the therapeutic dyad, as well as the identification process between the therapist and the patient.

We extensively discussed the particularities of the Balint group and its group dynamics which are different from the group dynamics in a classic supervision group and a psychotherapy group. This is explained since each group member is allowed to experience the feeling coming from the group as well as to differentiate him/herself from it; s(he) tries to hear another perspective , another point of view whether its about him/herself or about another member. For example, I felt I had to differentiate myself from the presenter’s narration but at the same time I had to sympathize with him in order to experience his grievance and bereavement that the end of a therapeutic relationship caused to both him and his patient.

In the two one and a half hour sessions that took place, four cases were presented. Not many biographical data were given because emphasis was put on the patient-therapist relation and the emotions that stem from this relationship. Many of the difficulties that had arisen were due to the fact that the therapist felt (s)he did not “hear” his patient thus leading to impasse. The discussion was focused sometimes on some aspects that might help the therapist overcome difficulties and sometimes on aspects that aimed to help the therapist accept his work’s limitations.

A lunch followed the workshop with appetizers at a local tavern so that members of the workhop could share their impressions from the first Balint group and they parted for Christmas in a relaxing and festive atmosphere.

Daphne-Tatiana Papanikolaou


British Society Balint Member

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