Balint Sessions

The Balint Group

The Balint group method is a way to discuss cases or situations arising in practice, which have aroused feelings in the trainees. The small group focuses on relationships and feelings (and NOT problem-solving or clinical management).


  • It allows for safe disclosure of uncertainty in a trusting group. It gives participants permission to be fallible and admit to feelings.
  • It results in a deep sense of trust and caring within a group.
  • Good method for seeing things from other perspectives.
  • It liberates creative thinking, which can sometimes help doctors who may feel stuck in some way.


  • Too ‘touchy-feel’ for some.
  • Some find it frustrating not being able to talk about clinical problems.

 Facilitator tips

  • Aim to explore the interpersonal dynamics, and not the clinical questions.
  • Remember that the purpose is to deepen understanding of what’s going on, and not an exercise in solving a problem.
  • Encourage imagination and speculation about the case, fully acknowledging that this is not necessarily the reality of the case.
  • Reinforce the rule that ‘this is not about right or wrong practice’
  • Allow the presenter to sit back in a “safe haven” and simply listen to the bulk of the discussion.  During this time, they must not contribute or chip into the discussion.
  • Keep the focus on the presented case. Avoid a new case being introduced when some part of the discussion reminds someone of a similar case they experienced.

Click here for our online educational resources on Balint