About us: The IBF Task Force on Leadership

History of the Task Force

The IBF meetings in Chicago /USA and Brasov /Romania in 2009 had set the first impulse to establish a working group on leadership training and accreditation in the IBF member societies.

One of the original aims of the task force was to create a thinking space, where concepts, ideas, issues and dilemmas of Balint group leadership could be contemplated and elaborated with a group of internationally experienced Balint group leaders. Conferences and joint meetings should be an opportunity to explore themes and to provide guidance for Balint group leaders.

In 2010 a small working group - Michel Delbrouck (Begium), Andrew Elder (UK), Andre Matalon (Israel), Don Nease (USA) and Heide Otten (Germany) - sent a “Questionnaire on Balint Leadership: Accreditation, Supervision and Training” to all member countries affiliated to the IBF, 22 at that time.

At the IBF council meeting in Görlitz (Germany) in May 2010 the results were reported, and the group recommended that the IBF should support an international “seminar on leadership” every two years, alternating with the International IBF Congresses. From now on, the group would be the Task Force on Leadership, in charge to organize these international leadership conferences. The meetings should become a place to explore and exchange ideas about leadership, and should include workshops and seminars as well as Balint groups, exchange ideas and suggest methods of leadership training.

The “IBF Guidelines on Balint Group Leadership” have been developed by the Task Force on Leadership. They were accepted in 2016 at the IBF meeting in Salzburg.  You can find the Guidelines here:

Activities and projects


The FIRST BIENNIAL INTERNATIONAL BALINT GROUP LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE in Copenhagen in 2011 was set up in cooperation between the IBF Task Force on Leadership, and the Danish organizing committee consisting of Tove Mathiesen and Jorgen Strobech from the Danish Balint Society.

Until 2019 four more leadership conferences of this type took place. Due to the worldwide corona pandemic situation two more international conferences as an online event have been held in 2020 (“Belgrade online”) and 2021 (“Staying connected”).

You can find the themes and locations of past and upcoming leadership conferences here:

Developing Balint group leadership

In 2013 a second and in 2022 a third questionnaire on leadership training and accreditation was sent out to the IBF member countries.

The results of the questionnaire of 2022 to the meanwhile 26 member societies were presented on the IBF Congress in Brussels in September 2022. The presentation can be found on this webpage under the button of “Ritter A., Herzog P., Torppa M., Rimmer E.”, as well a s a summary by Andrew Elder on the questionnaires of 2010 and 2013.

The work of the Task Force is not only focused on organizing the biannual conferences mentioned above, but also is meant as an attempt to develop the exchange of international concepts of leadership training, accreditation and supervision by facilitating contacts and supervision for accredited Balint group leaders on an international scale. This happens partly on international leadership conferences, partly in online groups. *

The results of the surveys show an impressive development since the first questionnaire of 2010 as quite a few societies have developed their own leadership training programs while some still rely on the bigger societies for their leaders’ training.

In the 2022 survey the vast majority of member societies express a strong request for IBF activities in supporting supervision of already accredited leaders on international conferences. The Task Force will continue to facilitate and support this process of development in leadership with great respect of the diversity within the IBF Community.

*The Task Force would like to point out, that participation in groups organized by the Task Force does not fulfill the requirements for accreditation as Balint group leader. The IBF neither offers leadership trainings nor grants accreditation for Balint group leaders. Decisions about accreditation as a Balint group leader have to be made within the regulations of the member societies.