The American Balint Society
We exist to make good care better
The American Balint Society strives to: Develop & Support professionals who lead or are members of Balint groups. Promote & Encourage increased participation in Balint group work. Teach & Study the nature, use and effectiveness of Balint groups.
The vision of the American Balint Society is for relationships of profound trust, such as those between physicians and patients, to grow in respect and healing power. Utilizing the empathy fostered through creative engagement with trusted peers in a safe environment, clinicians can improve their understanding of both themselves and others, so that patients and clients are increasingly heard, supported and empowered to become healthier and happier.
What makes the ABS unique?
The ABS is unique in its focus on and approach to: actively engaging in the empathic care of others and of our professional selves; inspiring dedication and perseverance of health care providers; and developing essential skills for sustaining and enhancing resilience and longevity in practice. The core values that guide us include: Authenticity; Collective wisdom; Compassion; Empathy; Hope; Lifelong learning; Reflection.
Our Society and its History
The American Balint Society is a supportive and collaborative organization of clinicians and teachers whose common values are promoted through a group process of exploration and training called the Balint group. The goal of the Balint group experience is for the participants to transform uncertainty, confusion, and difficulty in the doctor-patient relationship into understanding and meaning that nurture a more therapeutic alliance between clinician and patient. We appreciate the use of intellect, emotion and self-reflection in the doctor's work and the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
The ABS was born in May 1990, formed by those medical educators convened at a Balint theme day at the annual meeting of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine in Seattle, Washington. Until that time, a number of faculty in Family Medicine programs throughout the US had been leading Balint groups autonomously, and according to their own understandings of the teachings of Michael and Enid Balint. Eighty-five interested people participated in this maiden effort, resulting in the election of officers and a governing council that were charged with the development of this organization along lines similar to the Balint Societies that existed in England and many other countries.
By 1993 The ABS was prepared to hold its first Leadership Intensive, in Wild Dunes, SC. This four day experiential workshop format has evolved and is now repeated twice yearly throughout the country; several hundred Balint leaders have received training in this venue. In 1999, in Sayre, PA, an initial Credentialing workshop was held to certify qualified Balint leaders; to date 44 people have achieved this designation in the American Balint Society.
As can be seen throughout this website, the ABS is a thriving, vital force in patient-centered medicine and the development of the therapeutic relationship. We are proud of the quality of our leadership training and outreach activities, and invite your inquiries and participation.
To join the ABS click here: Member Signup