WORKSHOP 1: THE WORKING GROUP FOR EDUCATORS – IS IT BALINT?
Workshop Presenters:Joan Fogel, Belinda Moller
The Working Group (WG) for those working in schools and higher education – as teachers or with teachers – has been meeting for 5 years. The co-leaders are both Group Analysts, one a Balint Leader and former teacher and the other a Balint Leader in training and an organisational consultant. They met on a Balint workshop weekend; the WG puts the Group Analytic and Balint frames together.
The WG was, eventually, named with Wilfred Bion in mind: the ‘work’ is to discover what goes on in educational institutions. Of the eighty on our mailing list – teachers, head-teachers, school counsellors, child psychotherapists, special needs coordinators (SENCO’s), teacher trainers, medical trainers, academics, researchers, and psychologists – a maximum of 15 was meeting for 2.5 hours termly (every four months), alternating between Dublin and London but now, in the pandemic, on Zoom for 1.5 hours. There are a few regular attenders from both Ireland and the UK but no two groups are the same.
Group Analysis and Balint cohere both in the co-leaders’ minds and in the WG’s structure which, especially in the last pandemic months, has been flexible in meeting the challenges not only of the external world but also of the group itself.
Group members reflect on what might be going on beneath the surface of their conscious awareness. The Balint case provides a window. The reflection continues into the notes which members supply following each group. With the theme of the conference ‘Balint core values: cohesion and flexibility’ in mind, does the flexibility of the WG extend beyond the boundaries of what can be called Balint?
In this workshop we will invite participants to meet as the WG does, to experience it and to reflect upon its content and upon itself.
WORKSHOP 2: BALINT 2.0 AND ITS ONGOING RELEVANCE
Workshop Presenters: Frank Meumann, Donald Nease, Albert Lichtenstein, Joy Humphreys
• Share the history and ongoing work of Balint 2.0
• Discuss how Balint 2.0 informs ongoing work
• Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the importance and unique role of Balint 2.0 in the worldwide Balint movement.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has rapidly moved what were isolated efforts at online Balint groups into a mainstream activity as many existing groups transitioned to meeting online and new groups have formed which have never met in person. As members of the International Balint Federation’s Balint 2.0 Task Force, the workshop leaders have been at the leading edge of the move to online Balint groups, having hosted the first groups in collaboration with the WONCA Young Doctors Movement, published data on the first groups and assisting with transitions by leading a series of seminars for group leaders in April through the current time.
With this workshop we wish to bring focus on providing online Balint groups to younger doctors who don’t have access to Balint in any other way.
There is a diversity this group brings (and doesn’t know any different) – race, colour, language, years of experience, age, background, nationality, – are all present without apparent judgment or subtext/unconscious dynamics affecting the group.
WORKSHOP 3: PRO BONO BALINT-GROUPS IN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
Workshop Presenters: Judit Popovics, Judit Erdős
The values experienced in the Balint group such as trust, attention to each other, presence, intimacy became essential in the uncertainty, isolation and overload caused by Covid. After the invasion of Covid our Hungarian National Balint Society considered it important to play a social responsability role in helping healthcare professionals with online pro bono Balint groups.
Online groups are started in 2020 and they are still running today, where more than 120 doctors, psychologists and social workers have been participating across the country. In addition to experienced Balint Group leaders attending, there are also health care workers who have just met the Balint Group for the first time. Groups running in parallel are led by permanent group leader pairs, who have recieved Balint group supervision and individual supervision provided by the National Balint Society.
This structure is a challenge for the group leaders to be flexible enough to introduce the Balint group method to as many healthcare professionals as possible for the first time, and to preserve the cohesion, the values and sustainability of the Balint Group.
As a result of all this during the joint supervision of the group-leading pairs a cohesive, intellectual workshop was established within our National Society. By getting to know each other in different roles (case presenter, group member, leader, co-leader) the personal relationships within our National Society have also been enriched.
During this workshop in the form of a thematic group we would like to continue the thinking we started together in our Society to extend it along dilemmas similar to the following. Can a Balint group process be formed from these pro bono meetings? What makes a person who sits in a group come back again? How can a group norm be passed during one single session? How does the commitment to one session affect the commitment to the method along the values of Balint?
Those who have similar experiences or who are interested in starting pro bono groups are welcome to attend the workshop.
WORKSHOP 4: CULTIVATING EMPATHY WITH BALINT GROUPS AT UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION
Workshop Presenters: Jéssica Leão, Priscila Castro, Gabriela Pina, Fernando Almeida
In the beginning, Balint Groups with students were not conducted. Even Balint thought that students were not mature and experienced enough to do so. However, other experiences have shown that the student-patient relationship can have desires and repercussions just as necessary to be discussed as those of the doctor-patient relationship. From this new vision, the Ascona Student Prize was born in the 1960s. It encourages the sharing of these experiences.
The cases described by students are challenging from an emotional perspective. There is uncertainty about their professional role, as well as feelings of helplessness and dependence during college. Medical students systematically address the relationship between themselves and patients as a relevant part of that patient’s care and therapeutic plan.
The leader, therefore, must be prepared for the challenges and the specificities of working with this public. Thus, the workshop “Cultivating empathy with Balint Groups in undergraduate” aims to: 1. share the experience of a Brazilian leader of online Balint groups with medical students and 2. encourage discussion about the potential of these groups for the formation of students and, consequently, of more empathic doctors.
WORKSHOP 5: KISSING UNDER THE WATERFALL – THE INTIMACY AND VARIETY OF SUPERVISION
Workshop Presenters: Tove Mathiesen, Frank Meumann, Mary Wassink
1. Learning objectives
By the end of the workshop participants will:
a. Have shared experiences of Balint leader supervision (supervisor and/or supervisee) in online and face-to-face settings
b. Have reviewed their understanding of the need for Balint leader supervision
c. Be aware of the variety of supervision methods currently being used
d. Have generated ideas on how to promote Balint leader group supervision locally, nationally and internationally
2. Program outline
a. Introductions – name, country, Balint group settings
b. Describe what the workshop is about and what will happen
c. Ask participants about their experiences and methods of Balint leadership supervision
d. Set the scene: Talk about Balint leader supervision and why it is necessary
e. Participants divide into 4 groups and, using the ‘Waterfall method’, the groups will develop ideas on: How to promote Balint leader group supervision locally, nationally and internationally
f. Plenary discussion on what was discovered about the variety of Balint leader supervision and suggestion for progress on Balint leader supervision
g. Closure of the workshop