We make good care better

Balint Leadership Training Intensive

Training leaders in relationship centered care.™

Join us in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
November 1 - 4, 2023

Sponsored by:

Early Registration Deadline: July 31, 2023
Registration Deadline: September 18, 2023

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Course Overview

The four-day Intensive course is designed to teach Balint group leadership technique primarily through experiential groups, supplemented by topic-focused small discussion groups and faculty panel discussions. Attendees will have ample time to present cases, practice leading a Balint group, and engage informally with other participants. Faculty-guided debriefings provide opportunities to receive feedback on participants’ practice sessions in a safe and supportive setting. Participants emerge from the course with a deeper understanding of Balint group leadership techniques and responsibilities and improved awareness of the method’s limitations and risks. This course is given a minimum of twice a year, and we will follow public health guidelines regarding COVID 19 to ensure a safe learning environment. Each offering has unique aspects because of the mix of faculty and the specific cases offered in the Balint groups themselves.

Tentative Schedule

Registration Fees

Space is limited and previous Leadership Intensive courses have filled before the early registration deadline. Early registration is strongly encouraged. Registration fee includes syllabus, refreshment breaks, breakfasts, one dinner and one lunch.

Single Registration:
    $800 by July 31, 2023; $875 thereafter.

ABS Member Registration:
    $700 by July 31, 2023; $775

Residents, students, fellows receive a 20% discount:
    $640 by July 31, 2023; $700 thereafter.

ABS Member Residents, students & fellows:
    $560 by July 31, 2023; $620 thereafter.    

Those registering at the non-member rate will have an option to apply for a one-year complimentary membership to the ABS following the conference. Current members of other countries' Balint societies also qualify for a registration discount. They should contact the Course directors, Phil Phelps, philphelps@icloud.com , or Paul Scott, paul.cp1@gmail.com , by email prior to registering. If you have any issues with the registration process, contact Shantel Beckersadmin@americanbalintsociety.org

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Financial Aid

The American Balint Society (ABS) seeks to increase inclusivity in its educational activities and among its membership. To support this goal, ABS has two financial aid programs available to applicants of underrepresented groups (e.g. ethnic, socioeconomic, professional background, etc.) for whom the regular course tuition would present a hardship or barrier. 1) The ABS Financial Aid program provides up to $500 tuition support for up to two individuals who have been accepted into an ABS Leadership Training Intensive course. 2)The Jerome and Maureen Lebowitz Scholarship provides reimbursement of course registration for nurse practitioners and family medicine or surgery residents. You must complete the registration process prior to submitting one of the financial aid application.

Please note that the deadline for financial aid applications is July 31, 2023. 

ABS Intensive Financial Aid Application

Jerome and Maureen Lebowitz Scholarship Application

Cancellation Policy
Registrants wishing to cancel their registration must do so in writing by the cancellation deadline of September 18, 2023. For cancellations received by the cancellation date, $100 of the registration fee will be withheld for administrative fees and the refund will occur within 30 days of acknowledgment of cancellation. For cancellations received after the deadline, no refunds will be available. 

Welcome to Pittsburgh!

The conference will be held at the award-winning Klimpton Hotel Monaco in downtown Pittsburgh. Housed in an iconic Beaux Arts-style building designed in 1903 by James R. Reed, this chic boutique hotel is located close to the Cultural District. The ABS has negotiated a conference rate of $179 per night which includes high-speed WiFi, on-site fitness center, and evening wine social.
Hotel Monaco

In reserving your room with the following link, you're getting the best possible rate and helping us fulfill our contractual obligation with the hotel. Rooms booked through other methods will not be protected by our cancelation policy with the hotel and will not count toward fulfilling our contractual obligation with the hotel. 

Reservations can be made by clicking here. The form will automatically populate with the dates of the conference; however, you can adjust the dates by selecting "change search" at the top of the page. You can also call reservations at (833) 469-8452 and request the American Balint Society Block code AZ1. 

Rooms must be booked by October 6, 2023.

Explore the City

The Cultural District provides dynamic art and entertainment options including opera, ballet, contemporary music and more. Containing the largest collection of art and archives in the world, the Warhol Museum is a must-visit for anyone who enjoys the pop art movement.

You can also explore another favorite Pittsburgh neighborhood nearby, the Strip District. There you can grab an authentic Pittsburgh Primanti's sandwich (the one with the fries on top!) and tour the Heinz History Center. Further east along Penn Avenue and Butler street you will encounter another favorite neighborhood of your hosts, Lawrenceville.   

If you'd rather spend your time outdoors, the Phipps Conservatory encompasses 15 acres with 23 distinct gardens and a 14 room glass house of industry-leading architecture and green design.

Conference Director
Phil Phelps, LCSW, BCD

ABS President Elect
Director of Behavioral Science
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Pittsburgh, PA

Conference Co-director
Paul Scott, MD, DLFAPA

ABS Past-president and Emeritus Councilor
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Pittsburgh, PA

Additional Faculty
Clive Brock, MD

Professor, Department of FM
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, SC

Chiara Ghetti, MD
Associate Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Fellowship Director, Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, MO

Barbara Hemmendinger, MSS
ABS Secretary
Associate Director of Behavioral Medicine
Williamsport FM Residency
Williamsport, PA

Shari Leidig Holland, LPC
Director of Behavioral Science
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
McKeesport FM Resdency
McKeesport, PA

Albert Lichtenstein, PhD
ABS Past-president
Director of Behavioral Science
Guthrie FM Residency
Syare, PA
Olivia Liff, MD
Associate Medical Director, NewBridge Campus
Hebrew Senior Life
Boston, MA

Eran Metzger, MD
Director of Psychiatry
Hebrew Senior Life
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Laurel Milberg, PhD
ABS Past-President and Emeritus Councilor  
Clinical Associate Professor Dept. of FM
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine 
Leeds, MA

All faculty members are credentialed as Balint Group Leaders by the American Balint Society. Faculty present will depend on number of small groups.

In accordance with ACCME requirements on disclosure, information about relationships of presenters with commercial interests (if any) will be included in materials distributed at the time of the conference.


Participants should be clinically active and willing to present one of their cases.

Because group cohesiveness affects participants’ experience of the course, registrants are asked to commit to attending all sessions and to attending each session in its entirety. Please do not plan to arrive late, leave early or miss sessions.

The Balint Leadership Intensive is a training course and is not intended as therapy. Nevertheless, Balint Group work can sometimes stir up strong feelings. Prospective registrants who are experiencing a particularly vulnerable period in their lives may want to consider participating in this training at a later date.

The world COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. All participants should anticipate that they will be required to provide proof of having received the CDC-recommended number of COVID-19 vaccinations no later than 2 weeks before the start of the course. Additional requirements may include having received a booster and/or testing before the event. Registrants will receive updates closer to the start of the course.


Application does not  guarantee acceptance. The American Balint Society (ABS) reserves the right to choose the participants and registrants for its programs and to assign participants to small groups in order to maximize the educational and professional experience offered. We reserve the right to refuse registrations and to cancel registrations already made. In the event of cancelation by the ABS, any registration fees paid will be refunded. Such refund shall represent the entire liability to the registrant. 

COVID-19 considerations: we will monitor and comply with public health guidelines for a safe conference. Registrants will be informed closer to the event of any recommendations.

During this Balint Leadership Training Intensive, a few experienced participants may be co-leading small group sessions as part of an evaluation process by which they hope to become credentialed as Balint group leaders. If this occurs, we may ask all members of their small group to complete an assessment of the candidate's expertise during one of the two sessions in which he or she is acting as co-leader. We believe this process furthers your learning of Balint leadership skills in addition to offering the candidate helpful feedback. 

Balint Groups

Balint groups provide an opportunity to develop insight into the interpersonal aspects of the clinician/patient encounter and to become more empathic with patients and with oneself. They are used by health care clinicians throughout the United States and internationally to improve clinician/patient communication and clinical effectiveness, increase practitioner satisfaction, and decrease isolation. Residencies and other training programs use Balint groups as part of their curriculum addressing professionalism, clinician/patient communication, and clinical ethics.

Target Audience

The Pittsburgh Leadership Intensive course is appropriate for clinicians new to the Balint Group method as well as experienced Balint Group leaders. The course is well-suited to those who are currently leading, expect to lead in the future, or are seeking a better understanding of Balint groups.  The curriculum is appropriate for physicians (primary care, psychiatry, other specialists), psychologists, social workers, other mental health care providers, veterinarians, and pastoral care providers.

Course Goals

At the end of the training, attendees will be able to:

  1. Describe verbal and non-verbal behaviors of Balint Group Leaders.
  2. Recognize the effectiveness of different leadership interventions.
  3. Identify the process and progression of a Balint group over multiple sessions.
  4. Define the new perspective of a presenter as a result of the Balint group process.

Note: a complete list of learning objectives is available on request.

Grievance Policy

Any concerns should be brought to the attention of the Course Directors, Phil Phelps,  philphelps@icloud.com , and Paul Scott, paul.cp1@gmail.com

ABS Grievance Policy


The AAFP has reviewed Balint Leadership Training Intensive, and deemed it acceptable for AAFP credit. Term of approval is from 05/01/2023 to 04/30/2024. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. This session is approved for 19.25 Live AAFP Prescribed credits.

AMA/AAFP Equivalency: AAFP Prescribed credit is accepted by the American Medical Association as equivalent to AMA PRA Category 1 Credit toward the AMA Physician's Recognition Award. When applying for the AMA PRA, Prescribed credit earned must be reported as Prescribed, not as Category 1.

The American Balint Society is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The American Balint Society maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This activity is approved for 19.25 CE credits.

This activity is pending approval from the National Association of Social Workers.