The Balint Society of Australia and New Zealand (BSANZ) was founded in 2005. It was named in acknowledgement of the Hungarian born psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Michael Balint and his wife Enid Balint. In London during the 1960’s, they developed a unique method for studying the clinician-patient/client relationship. There are now Balint groups around the world for doctors and health professionals.
The aims of our Society are to:
- focus on clinical practice in medicine and psychological disciplines, with special reference to the health professional – patient or client relationship.
- disseminate this knowledge beyond the Society for the improvement of health care of the public at large.
- promote and advance research, studies and training in the psychological aspects of health care.
The Society was founded by a group of doctors, including general practitioners and psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and psychoanalytic psychotherapists. The Society has grown rapidly over the last 12 years. It supports more than fifity Balint groups which are being run in Australia and New Zealand, acts as a liaison organisation for information about these groups, runs a four day Intensive Workshop in Australia or New Zealand each year, which has a leadership training focus, and publishes a regular online newsletter.
It is working with University medical school staff in Australian Universities to establish Balint work in medical student curriculums. Pilot projects are running at Woolongong and Sydney Universities, and there is an international group conducting research in collaboration with clinicians in the United Kingdom.
Since the 2010 the Auckland University Medical school has successfully run Balint groups for final year medical students in the context of their general practice training internship programme, and Otago Medical School has been running reflective practice groups for medical students.
There are Balint groups running in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin. A list of current groups and leaders’ contact details can be accessed from the link on the Balint Groups page.
Attendance at workshops and membership of Balint groups is recognised for accreditation points in the Continuing Professional Development and the Continuing Medical Education programmes in Australia and New Zealand, by the respective Colleges of General Practice and Medical Councils. See the link on the Why Balint Groups page.
The Society was affiliated to the International Balint Federation in 2007.