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Balint groups: a doctor-student mutual investment company


Emma Salter

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, GB
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Balint Groups were traditionally established as reflective groups by psychoanalyst Michael and Enid Balint for general practitioners to reflect on the doctor-patient relationship. Balint described components of this relationship between doctor and patient including the collusion of anonymity, the doctor as a drug and the mutual investment company. This paper discusses 2 case examples from the perspective of a junior doctor facilitating medical student Balint groups and from the junior doctor participating in a peer group. Comparisons between the doctor and student emotional expression, empathic ability and apparent preconceived ideas of the “doctor role” are discussed, with reflection on potential origins and contributing factors to such internalised views and responses. The author explores potential professional benefits of medical student Balint groups facilitated by junior doctors in influencing empathic response and internalised personas, as discussed through the eyes of Balint’s components of the interpersonal doctor-patient relationship.
How to Cite: Salter E. Balint groups: a doctor-student mutual investment company. The British Student Doctor Journal. 2020;4(2):47–53. DOI:
Published on 30 Jun 2020.
Peer Reviewed


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