"At the center of medicine there is always a human relationship between a patient and a doctor."
Brian Wexler, PhD
Council -1st Term
My introduction to the world of Family Medicine and Balint was rather fortuitous, and honestly, has turned into a wonderful journey. Since 2015, I have been the Director of Behavioral Health with Eisenhower Health Family Medicine residency program in Rancho Mirage, CA. As a new faculty member, I was introduced to the world of Balint at The Forum for Behavioral Science in 2015, followed by my first Balint Intensive in Santa Rosa in 2016. Combined with my background as a clinician/psychologist with a focus on CBT, health psychology, and mindfulness, the impact of the Balint experience has been enormous, not just for me, but for residents as we reflect on the doctor-patient relationship and explore how to cultivate professionalism and expand communication skills through Balint. I have successfully facilitated our monthly residency group for more than 5 years, as well as an online group with colleagues to address unique challenges during the Covid pandemic.
Along the way I immersed myself into 2 fellowship programs, the STFM Behavioral Science Family System Educator Fellowship, and the inaugural Balint Group Leader Education Fellowship facilitated by the distinguished Frank Dornfest; both were completed in 2016-2017. My research focus integrated both fellowships as I explored the question Does Balint Group Experience Address ACGME Competencies in Family Medicine? The findings were presented at the 2017 Annual STFM Spring Conference and the 3rd National Meeting of the American Balint Society in 2018. I’ve had the good fortune of collaborating with colleagues and co-facilitating several Roundtable discussions on Balint at The Forum and STFM, and a pandemic-inspired live virtual presentation at STFM 2021 on Cultivating Professionalism & Communication Skills with Balint Groups. And recently, in 2020 I was honored to join the American Balint Society Scholarly Activity Committee, and exponentially honored to join the Council in 2021.
Among the highlights as a Balint colleague were adventures to participate in meetings with the International Balint Federation in Helsinki 2018 and Budapest 2019. The journey has certainly illuminated the supportiveness and connectedness among our Balint community. Truly wonderful and engaging experiences on many levels!
When I’m not engaged in Balint, you can often find me hiking with my family and doggy around my native home in Palm Springs, travelling and exploring far away when pandemics don’t curtail, and making efforts as a novice to play an acoustic Fender.