a Guide

This book will be interesting and useful for various specialists involved in the practice of Balint group work and willing to obtain a Balint group leader certificate.

In a very comprehensible form it gives an account of the manifold aspects of Balint group leaders ’training and work, the types of Balint groups and their main features, as well as what a Balint group is not by definition. The author thoroughly considers the following issues: the leader’s position in a Balint group, the co-leader’s job, the parallel process, specificity of leaders’ training — requirements, stages and criteria.

The book tells about styles of leading different groups, eg. homogeneous and heterogeneous groups, groups with physicians, psychologists and psychiatrists as well as with members of other helping professions. The aspects of supervision for Balint group leaders and the key leader’s tasks in a classical and sculpture group are also covered. A special Appendix features the main guidelines of the International Balint Federation for accreditation of Balint group leaders and criteria for their accreditation in Germany.

This bilingual edition — Russian and English versions under one cover — features original thematic illustrations.

This book is a joint project of Dr. Heide Otten and the Publishing House «Psyllabus».



The very special nature of the doctor-patient relationship has not been given the attention it deserves in traditional textbooks. Dr. Balint’s book is a detailed account of one of the few systematic researches undertaken on this subject.

For a number of years research seminars in the form of discussion groups have been organized at the Tavistock Clinic in London to study the psychological implications in general medical practice. The discussion quickly revealed that the most frequently used drug was the doctor himself, i.e. that it was not only the bottle of medicine or the box of pills that mattered, but the whole atmosphere in which the drug was given and taken. The chief aim of this project was a thorough study of the constantly changing doctor-patient relationship. The book contains a variety of real case histories, presented by seminar participants for group discussion.

The first edition of this book, published in 1957, was enthusiastically reviewed for the novel ideas proposed concerning the doctor’s relationship with his patient, and how that relationship could affect the patient’s treatment. In the second edition, first published in 1964, the author changed the format and text only slightly to preserve the simplicity and coherence of the presentation, iron out some ambiguities and point out the direction of his new ideas. This millennium reprint includes an introduction by the author’s son, Professor John A Balint, placing the book in today’s context and demonstrating the continued relevance and influence of Balint’s ideas.

“The Doctor, his Patient and the Illness” is an important book as it suggests the doctors to have an entirely new look at their everyday practice and develop efficient relationships with their patients. It is a book to be recommended to psychiatrists, psychotherapists, psychologists, medical teachers and above all to general practitioners.

Scientific Editors
Bohdan W. Wasilewski and Lilianna Engel

Theory and Application

This monograph provides an introduction to the theory of Balint group work and a comprehensive overview of its current state in Poland. The book deals with important topics that include the origins of Michael Balint’s work, current applications of his method in the work of family doctors, psychotherapists, and other healing professionals as well as special applications such as medical student training and terminal care.

The methods used in Balint group work show that feelings and fears of medical professionals follow certain patterns and rules. Their group analysis allows a more effective prevention of burnout syndrome and improves contacts with patients. Participation in Balint group sessions is a preventive measure, which brings effects not only in the scope of the doctor-patient relationship but also in the everyday functioning of doctors. Balint’s recognition of the need for physicians to approach patients in a holistic manner, with an awareness if the interplay between the patient’s expressed needs and emotions and their own is described by the authors from their own perspectives, and these new voices lend credence to Balint’s fundamental ideas. This book also features an ample bibliography section with an overview of writing and research on Balint group work internationally over the past 50 years, which will be particularly useful for Russian-speaking professionals willing to access source materials.

The Russian edition includes a chapter written by the Russian colleagues and dedicated to the development of Balint movement in Russia.

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