To solve your own cases by listening to other perspectives on the issue.
Balint groups are named after the psychoanalyst Michael Balint (1896-1970 UK). He founded these groups with his wife Enid in the late 1950s to provide psychological training for General Practitioners in London. It is an early example of peer learning. There is no lecture or other teaching in Balint groups. Each doctor brings a case which is then discussed in a specific manner.
When to Use
Balint Groups are excellent for peer learning for a group of professionals working in similar or adjacent fields. The purpose is to learn from each other from different perspectives and get support in solving situations. The focus is on learning from different perspectives and not on solving quickly!
Number of Participants: 4 to 8
Time: 40′ per case
Setting: online and face-to-face
- Presenter, bringing a case
- Participants contributing their perspectives
How to Run It
Running a Balint Group:
- One presents (The Presenter) a case or issue for 5′ to 10′. If necessary, the group can ask clarifying questions, but not solution-seeking ones! When the Presenter is done, she sits back to listen.
- The group explores the issues as if they were their own case for 20′. They try to understand it fully and explore their own associations. There is no requirement to solve the issues!
- The Presenter comes back and sums up what she has heard. The group does not comment! The Presenter focuses on the words that furthered her own thinking, and she explains why.
- At the end, everyone reviews the experience together.
- Was there a strong urge to “solve” the case?
- What feelings came up from individual participants?
- Did the presenter or someone else experience similar emotions? How do these emotions relate to the situation?
- How did the Balint process help you? How could you improve it?
- Don’t go back into the case!