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What Training do I Need to Lead a Group?

This is a complex question influenced by your prior training, your setting and other factors. We've arranged the answer(s) below. They all concern Intensives, our basic format for training leaders.

1. Will I be ready to lead a group after I attend an Intensive? 
Very rarely, but it depends.  If you have had extensive experience and training with other groups, an intensive might be enough to start.  Even then, having a Balint-trained co-leader, consultant or supervisor can make a world of difference. The ABS recommends a series of three Intensives.  If your setting will require you to take charge of a Balint group after a single Intensive, talk to your colleagues and administration after the intensive about how they can support your leadership.

2. What happens at Intensives?

Attendees are assigned to small groups that conduct Balint sessions, each followed by a period of reflection on the group process and leadership.  Learning is from experience, the experience of participating in and leading your small group’s Balint session, with reflection and feedback.  Didactic presentations and opportunities to consult with faculty are also provided. 

3. Who goes to intensives? And who should go?
Professionals providing health care and mental health care find Intensives worthwhile, even if they are not in medical education or primary care, the traditional sources of Balint interest. If you plan to start a group, an Intensive is the perfect way to begin preparing to do so. Attending with a co-leader or a decision maker from your program works well, too. Still unsure? Contact the host of the next Intensive.  Upcoming trainings and events are always listed here.

4. How can I get an Intensive to occur closer to home?

Consider hosting one at your own organization! If you have an agency or department able to help you with administrative support and 7 to 9 other colleagues who might be interested as well, you may be able to host an Intensive on The Road. Contact the Coordinator of Intensives to discuss the possibilities.


 5. How can I make my Intensive experience last?

Contact a faculty member from your intensive. They share their contact information deliberately. A quick question will be welcome, and if your issue is one for the Balint listserve or lengthier supervision, that can be worked out, as well. Also consider joining a Balint Online  group, which provides an inexpensive ongoing Balint experience and a time-limited commitment.

6. How can I continue to develop my Balint Group Leadership skills? 
The ABS offers a structured pathway to becoming a Credentialed Balint Leader that involves attending leadership Intensives and provides supervision as you start and lead your own Balint group back home.  There is also a shorter option which uses a distance learning format: the one-year Fellowship. Information on Credentialing Credentialing Roadmap and the Fellowship Brochure are on this website.  

7. I attended an intensive a few years ago and have been leading since. Should I go to another one?
Yes. Not only do we recommend three intensives for basic training, we have many years of feedback from attenders who have been to multiple intensives and find the training deeper and different every time. While this is partly due to our constant efforts to improve our offerings, it is also an effect of the power of group work and experiential learning: your group is different each time and you have been changed by your experience between trainings, so what you learn will be different and enhanced. 

 "Restoring the Core of Clinical Practice: What is a Balint group and how does it help?" by Laurel Milberg, PhD and Katherine Knowlton, PhD. Available in paperback or ebook Order Now

The American Balint Society
, is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the therapeutic relationships between healing professionals and their clients/patients. The American Balint  Society is a member society of the International Balint Federation