12th Balint Intensive Workshop 2019

Written by Di Nash

The BSANZ 2019 experiential workshop offered an immersive Balint Group experience.

We invited clinicians interested in participating in and learning more about Balint groups to join us. We welcomed trainee GPs, GPs and other specialists, psychiatrists, analysts, psychotherapists, nurses, medical educators, psychologists, social workers, and other professionals who work closely with the emotional lives of others.


The BSANZ was founded in 2005. Its name acknowledges psychoanalysts Michael Balint, trained as a psychiatrist, and his wife Enid Balint, originally a social worker, who developed this ground breaking method for studying the clinical relationship. A Balint group is a form of reflective practice, an experiential, small group activity, where practitioners discuss cases from their own work with a focus on the relationship between practitioner and patient or client. We work to develop an atmosphere of trust and acceptance in the group where group members are supported to present their challenging or troubling encounters. Balint work discourages questioning, advising, interruptions and criticism.

The benefits to practising GPs and other practitioners in a variety of professions is well recognised. Indeed, for over a decade our annual workshops have been fully subscribed.

Workshop Goals

As they experienced Balint groups, participants were invited to discover new ways of thinking about and addressing difficult encounters in their practice, of building relationships with colleagues who are interested in this work, and of learning about Balint groups and leadership.

While not sufficient on its own, attendance at this workshop fulfilled one of the requirements for the BSANZ Balint Leadership Accreditation Pathway.


One group – the Case Group – focussed on cases, and included some reflection on the group experience. This group appeals to participants new to the Balint experience, and to those who may not wish to co-lead a session with a Group Leader.

Two Leadership Groups offered participants the opportunity to co-lead their group with a Group Leader. Reflection and discussion of leadership followed each case presentation. Leadership groups suit people who have some Balint group experience, or who are currently leading groups, including those who are on the BSANZ Balint Leadership Accreditation Pathway.

Most of the work took place in small ongoing groups with experienced Group Leaders. The membership of each small group remained constant. As well as these small groups, the programme included large group discussions, social activities, and some free time.

Important Notes

All participants in these workshops must be current financial members of BSANZ. Registration fee for non-members includes BSANZ membership fee for 1 year


For all enquiries about this Intensive please contact Anne Malecki by email at the BSANZ office: admin.bsanz@bigpond.com

The Balint Society Bursaries

The BSANZ offers bursaries for two medical students to attend its Intensive.

Continuing Education Credits

Australian Medical Practitioners may apply to RACGP for 21 hours of CPD points. New Zealand General Practitioners may apply to RNZCGP for 17 hours of CME points. All participants will receive a Certificate of Attendance.

Our next workshop of this kind is planned for 2021.


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From 24th January 2021, BSANZ will continue to offer monthly facilitated conversations via Zoom. The meetings, to support Medical Practitioners, are at 10am AEST (8am in WA, 9.30am Central Australia, noon in NZ). See here for information about how to join –