Soon after the end of the 2nd world war, in 1952, Michael Balint started the first “training cum research” group. The purpose was the observation of the doctor-patient relationship.
Since then, Society has changed, our lifestyle has changed. Scientific and medical knowledge have evolved. Healthcare is different : balance of gender is no more determined as it used to be (male doctors, female nurses), the internet has deeply changed the access to information for the practitioner and for the patient as well, modifying the contact between these two. What about “the caregiver-patient relationship”? Is it still the same as in the early fifties? Are the core values of our movement the same seventy years later as they were for Michael Balint? Have they been transformed? And if so in which way?
Nowadays, the International Balint Federation (IBF) is composed of 28 Societies all over the world! Culture, historical background, language, healthcare systems, are such a patchwork! How can we maintain cohesion in our federation? To what point is flexibility acceptable taking account of our differences? Flexibility is also an ability to adapt ourselves to uncertainty and changes.
In 2017, in Oxford, our 20th congress was about “Diversity” (“Balint theory and practice : exploring diversity”). In the next, in 2019, in Porto, we were asking ourselves how we could “See medicine through other eyes”. Innovations on the way to lead a Balint group were proposed. In 2020 we also have become more familiar with new tools like videoconference because of the pandemic crisis with COVID.
An atom is composed with one core and electrons. It seemed obvious to us that it could represent our concerns : the deal with core values, cohesion and flexibility. The carbon atom which is represented in the monument “ATOMIUM” is an important element of life! This metal construction and the European Flag with its stars, are two of the symbols of our beautiful city of Brussels where the 22nd congress will take place. That’s why you can see them on our logo!