We make good care better

"At the center of medicine there is always a human relationship between a patient and a doctor."
Michael Balint

ABS Website FAQs

1.  What are the primary benefits of an ABS membership? 
The answer may depend on how long or how much you’ve been involved. Right away you benefit from discounts on event registrations, access to a nationwide directory of great colleagues, and having a place (the Balint-L listserv) to express any Balint questions and get intelligent responses. As time goes on you may appreciate the good fellowship more and more. Some folks join committees in part to be able to hang out with ABS colleagues.

2.  I've been doing Balint for years, why would I join the ABS?
If you’ve been doing it for years, you know how important it is, but you may not realize how to take your involvement to the next level in terms of connections, understanding and new experiences. You might join to expose yourself to new colleagues, to refresh your point of view and renew your appreciation of the work. Maybe you’d like to be a member of a Balint group – the ABS holds online groups, less expensive for members of the society. Maybe you are ready to have international experiences; the ABS is the American portal to the International Balint Federation and its events. You may not think of Balint work as happening beyond training or clinical practice, but there is a whole world of Balint-related activities.

3.  How can I best make a meaningful contribution to Balint Group work?
Think about your own skill sets and preferences that might dovetail with American Balint Society’s mission or the further development of Balint work. If you are a researcher, help our Scholarly Activity Committee with quantitative and qualitative projects. If you are a great communicator, join our Communications and Marketing Committee. Especially if you are a professional underrepresented in our organization, we need to hear your voice; join us and participate to help us grow and develop. To view a list of committees, refer to FAQ #9 below.

4.  What sort of support is there for people leading Balint groups, especially in residency programs or with early learners?
ABS membership gains you access to the Balint-L listserv, where experts are available for just such situations. Spell out your quandary and you will receive multiple consultative responses.  Other supports include leader training through an Intensive or completion of either credentialing or the fellowship. Information on Balint training can be found under the Our Activities tab on the website.ABS credentialed leaders have access to bi-monthly online drop-in meetings where those leaders can present issues they face with their groups.

5.  During my medical training, I had to complete a prescribed number of procedures or patient visits successfully and was then deemed competent, with no further need for education. What is the difference in competence with Balint Group work? When am I done with training?
We hope never! While initial competency in Balint work is affirmed when a supervised candidate receives credentialed leader status, Balint work definitely profits from lifelong learning. After all, the quality of 'beginner's mind' is useful to the work and to any continuing education one undertakes. Perhaps it would help to think of post-credentialing Balint activities not as endless training but as reflective, deepening exercises. 

6. How do I find the collection of Balint group curricular resources called Balint Basics?
Balint Basics, as well as all other Balint resources, can be accessed by ABS members through the Documents tab which is nested under the Members Only tab. Once in the documents section, you can search for a specific title by clicking the magnifying glass icon and entering your search query.

7.  What are the best research articles to provide administrators who are making decisions about whether or not to fund participation in intensive training?
Restoring the Core of Clinical Practice: What is a Balint group and how does it help? is an excellent resource with qualitative research built into its text and is available through Amazon as a paperback or ebook. Link is available in the footer section of the ABS website. 

8.  What opportunities to present nationally and/or publish does the Society offer?
The ABS National Meeting and the International Balint Federation (IBF) Congress both issue a call for submissions which is posted to the Balint-L listserv. Residents, students, and fellows are also eligible to submit to the biennial Enid Balint Essay Contest, which gives winners publication in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine. In addition, the Events committee maintains a dashboard of upcoming conferences and can assist folks in preparing proposals. The Scholarly Activity committee invites and supports ABS members in initiating various quantitative and qualitative studies, followed by possible submission for publication.  The Balint in Brief newsletter also seeks articles describing novel settings and outcomes of Balint work (recent issues featured how Balint groups have been introduced for veterinarians as well as attorneys.)

9.  Where do I find an ABS organizational chart, ideally with a listing of committees that are seeking new members?
You can find an ABS Organizational Chart with active links to committees here.