Guidelines on Balint Group Leadership

Guidelines for Accreditation of Balint Leaders

Proposed by the Leadership Task Force - Approved by Council in Salzburg, Austria (May 14, 2016)
These guidelines are intended as parameters for national societies to consider when drawing up their criteria for accreditation. National societies will want to define periods of sufficient lengths of time for being in a Balint Group, for instance. Societies need to be aware that it is equally important for psychiatrists and psychotherapists to acquire experience of leading Balint Groups before becoming accredited, as it is for GPs. And that the pathway for psychiatrists and psychotherapists will be different to the pathway for GPs.

  1. Leaders should have appropriate basic professional training.
  2. Leaders must have prior experience of being in a Balint Group for a sufficient* length of time.
  3. Leaders should have co-led with an accredited leader as part of their training who is invited to provide a report/reference to the accrediting society.
  4. Leaders should have a supervisor who has sufficient** knowledge of their work to be able to provide a report/reference to the accrediting society.
  5. Leaders should be evaluated prior to accreditation according to the following criteria:
    1. that they encourage the development of a safe and free environment within the group and are aware of the importance of protecting the boundaries of the group
    2. that they focus the work on an exploration of the doctor-patient relationship rather than seeking solutions or teaching
    3. that they are open to learning about their personal style in leading a group and aware that their attitudes and responses will influence the dynamics of the group
    4. that they have an awareness of group processes and unconscious processes that are likely to affect the primary task of the group.
    5. that they recognize that becoming an accredited Balint leader is a not an end but a beginning.
  6. Leaders should receive adequate and continuing supervision.

* to be determined by accrediting societies
** may not be possible at present in some societies