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Balint Intensives on The Road: Leader training at your site

All Intensives on The Road are set up through the Coordinator of Intensives. Below is a detailed description, including standard site requirements. Ask about how we may accommodate any unique needs of your organization.


Introduction and Background


The American Balint Society (ABS) offers Balint leader training at least twice/year as an Intensive, in varying geographical locations.  The training Intensive involves 9 Balint group sessions, in which a group member presents a troubling/puzzling case, and the group discusses the case from the standpoint of trying to better understand the patient’s perspective, the clinician’s perspective, and the relationship between the two. Each Balint group session takes 45 minutes, followed by another 45 minutes of discussion on the leadership in that group.  The group is led by two professionals, a physician and a behavioral medicine specialist, both trained in the Balint method. 


One intent of the training is for various group members to try out leading groups, either as pairs, or individually with a faculty member, for experience and feedback.  One of the groups is videorecorded and reviewed with the group for a different type of observation and feedback.  Attendees also learn experientially about what it is like to be a group member and to present cases.  The training includes one or two discussion sessions for specific questions and answers. The intensive usually qualifies for approximately 21 hours of CME/CE.


This training traditionally starts on a Thursday afternoon and ends by noon on Sunday, with Saturday afternoon free.  The format includes this pause because of the intense nature of the experience and to best consolidate the learning experience of the participants.


The American Balint Society offers leadership training Intensives as an important stepping stone toward developing and improving one’s Balint leadership skills, and as a formal requirement for further Balint training.  The further training offered by the ABS includes two specific pathways:

  1. Credentialing, a two year process of formal supervision with a requirement of attendance at 3 Intensives; one of those Intensives must be attended prior to starting the credentialing process;
  2. Fellowship, a one year educational experience that also requires attendance at an Intensive prior to starting the Fellowship;


Description of Intensives on the Road


Balint on the Road is a concentrated training that includes all the teaching components of an Intensive condensed into two and a half days. This concentrated tutorial provides our best product for initial leadership training for the participants.  We offer this on-site training at the hosting organization (e.g. a health system, a large medical school, etc.).  We wish to emphasize that this training is intense. We provide three faculty for the training of 8 to ten leaders, six faculty for 16 to 20. This format is especially appropriate for organizations wishing to start or enhance the leadership of multiple Balint groups (e.g. in more than one residency, at several sites, for staffs of several different services). While its roots are in Family Medicine, Balint work is effective with and appreciated by other specialties, including pediatrics, OB/Gyn, internal medicine, palliative care and others. A mix of disciplines in each group is welcome and may enhance participants' experiences.


Learning Objectives


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


  1. Describe verbal and non-verbal leadership behaviors of Balint Group leaders.
  2. Demonstrate different leader interventions.
  3. Identify the process and progression of a Balint Group, over multiple group sessions.
  4. Identify potential outcomes of Balint Group work.


Specific Schedule


A specific schedule will be worked out as part of the contract you sign with the ABS. As an example, we might start at 8 AM on a Thursday, finishing by midday on Saturday.  Generally speaking participants will not have evening sessions. Note that participants must be free from clinical or other demands during the time of the training; one of the benefits of the format is that the organization can tailor that availability to best suit its purposes.


Logistics -- to be provided by the hosting organization


  1. A room large enough for a comfortable circle of 12-13 chairs, with a door, preferably not near high noise/traffic areas. Privacy and confidentiality are important for room selection. If two groups are planned, two such rooms will be needed.
  2. A/V
    1. Projection capability for an introductory powerpoint presentation;
    2. Video set-up with good sound pick up within the group circle;
    3. Video playback setup (on a TV or screen) with ability to start and stop the video;
  3. Snacks, coffee, water, tea, etc. for breaks;
  4. Lunch on the full days of the training (note that the schedule does not include travel time, so lunch will need to be nearby);
  5. Break area (also near the meeting room);
  6. Understanding/expectation that:
    1. participants will not be interrupted or called away during the training (barring a family emergency);
    2. participants will be present for all sessions, as cohesion/group development is a critical part of the training;
    3. participants are clinically active and willing to present cases;
    4. participants should be aware that this type of training can stir up strong feelings. If someone is at a particularly vulnerable time in their life, they may want to consider completing this training at a later date;
  7. CME/CE will be granted, either through the hosting organization or the ABS, as arranged in their contract;
  8. Preparation of folders for each participant with introductory information, name badges, contact information for all participants and faculty.


The basic cost of a Balint Intensive on the Road is set by the society. It is less expensive than sending a comparable number of participants to regular Intensives. Apart from the basic fee ($7,000-$10,000 at this writing) the organization pays housing, transportation and meals (or a per diem) for all faculty, and any costs associated with the logistics listed above. To discuss your situation or to work out a contract, contact the Coordinator of Intensives.

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