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The Theory and Practice of Balint Group Work


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Table of Contents

Forewords by E. R. Petzold, John Salinsky, and Donald E. Nease


1 Introduction

I History and Basics 2 The doctor patient relationship in History

2.1 The Classical Era

2.2 Old Testament

2.3 Arab Medicine

2.4 Middle Ages to Renaissance

2.5 Romantic Era

2.6 Industrial Age

2.7 Age of Psychoanalysis: Freud, Ferenczi, Balint

2.8 21st Century

3 Development of Balint work 3.1 How it began 3.2 The idea is spreading 3.3 International confederation II Practical Aspects of Balint work 4 How the sessions work 5 Balint groups with doctors working in somatic medicine 6 Balint groups with Psychiatrists, Psychotherapists, Psychosomatic Physicians 7 Balint work with Students 7.1 the Ascona-Balint Prize for Students 7.2 Balintgroup work with Students 7.3 The UCL Student Psychotherapy Scheme 8 Homogeneous and heterogeneous groups 8.1 Various Professional groups 8.2 Different Cultural Backgrounds and Nationalities 8.3 Balint work in different Countries 9 Balint groups with added creative elements 9.1 Sculpture 9.2 Role play 9.3 Psychodrama 9.4 Imagination III Requirements for Leading a Balintgroup 10 Prerequisites 11 Balintgroup Leaders' Training 11.1 Leaders' Seminars 11.2 Supervision for Balintgroup Leaders IV Results and Opportunities 12 Research Findings 13 Balintwork with other Professionals 14 Summary 15 Bibliography

About the Author

Heide Otten, PhD, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Germany. She was Secretary of the German Balint Society (DBG) from 1991 to 2013, President of the International Balint Federation (IBF) from 2001 to 2007 and has been a member of the Foundation Psychosomatic and Social Medicine since 2000.


" In our modern age doctors are expected to be resilient in the face of adversity, but how are they to cope with their feelings of uncertainty and helplessness? This richly illustrated text describes how and why participating in a Balint group can be so helpful, not only for doctors, but also for other health care professionals and medical students, struggling to understand their own and their patients' emotions, as they arise in their therapeutic relationships with patients. (Peter Shoenberg, FRCPsych, MRCP(UK), Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy Camden and Islington NHS. Foundation Trust , London, formerly Head of the Department of Psychotherapy at University College Hospital London)

Heide Otten gives us a very complete and rich view about today's evolution of the seminal work initiated 70 years ago by Michael Balint, with English general practitioners. This book reasserts the importance of the doctor-patient relationship. Be it in hospitals or ambulatory, the way doctors deal with their patients remains a corner stone of today's medical practice. As a tool which aids doctors in this particular area, Balint Groups have continually increased in importance. (Jorge Brandao, Vice President, International Balint Federation)

This book is a masterful exposition of the Balint group method in exploring the mysteries of clinician-patient relationships. Heide Otten, in calling upon her vast German and international experience, has written a superb book that provides a comprehensive overview of Balint group work, from its beginnings to methods, theoretical underpinnings and creative additions. Those experienced in Balint group work and those who are new to the method will welcome this new English edition. It is the book we have been waiting for. (Dr Frank Meumann, Past-President of the Balint Society of Australia and New Zealand, Chair of the Accreditation Committee and past CEO and Director of Training of General Practice Training Tasmania)

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