Balint Groups in Residency Training
Training resident physicians in the skills of patient-centered medicine through Balint Groups has been a priority of the American Balint Society since its founding. Balint Groups are an important part of post-graduate residency training in many Family Medicine programs, and now other specialty training programs are adopting them. Balint Groups fulfill many core ACGME residency training competencies, and provide a way for doctors in training to learn how to form effective, professional, healing relationships with their patients. Our ABS policy statement on ACGME competencies and how Balint work fulfills these may be downloaded by clicking here.
Johnson, et. al. published the most recent data on Balint Groups in Family Medicine training programs in 2001(1). At that time almost half of responding residencies reported conducting Balint Groups. Balint Groups are also expanding beyond Family Medicine with groups being offered by ABS trained leaders in OB/Gyn, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine programs.
Turner and Malm published a comparative study of Balint Group training vs. no Balint Group training with outcomes being evaluated via the Psychological Medicine Inventory. Residents that participated in the Balint Groups had enhanced levels of psychological medicine skills (2).
- Johnson et al. The current status of Balint groups in US family practice residencies: A 10-year follow-up study, 1990-2000. Family medicine (2001) vol. 33 (9) pp. 672-7
- Turner and Malm. A preliminary investigation of balint and non-balint behavioral medicine training. Family medicine (2004) vol. 36 (2) pp. 114-22