The American Balint Society
is a member society of the
International Balint Federation.
A Balint group is a group of physicians or other clinicians who meet regularly and present clinical cases in order to improve and to better understand the clinician-patient relationship.
Whereas physicians are usually trained to seek the “right” answer to medical problems, in a Balint group, the focus is on enhancing the clinician’s ability to connect with and care for the patient. A Balint group session begins with a member's presenting a case for the group to discuss. The group learns about the patient through the presenter’s story and about how their relationship seems to the clinician. During the facilitated discussion, the group members uncover different and new perceptions about the patient's and physician’s feelings and their experiences with each other.
A Balint group usually has two leaders (often a physician and a psychologist, psychiatrist, clinical social worker or counselor) who facilitate the process. The success of a group depends on group members being honest, respectful, and supportive of divergent opinions. The content of the group is confidential. A Balint group may meet over the course of months or years, and group cohesion and trust develop over time.