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Difficulties in Balint groups: a qualitative study of leaders' experiences
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences.
2010 (English)In: British Journal of General Practice, ISSN 0960-1643, E-ISSN 1478-5242, Vol. 60, no 580, p. 808-814Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background Balint groups (BGs) are a means of enhancing competence in the physician-patient relationship and are also regarded as beneficial for GPs' mental health. However, voluntary BGs are still few, some members terminate their participation, and problems are reported in obligatory groups in residency programmes. This raises questions about possible negative aspects of BGs. Aim To examine difficulties in BGs as experienced by BG leaders. Design of study Qualitative study using interviews. Setting Eight BG leaders from five countries were interviewed. Method The interviews focused on the informants' experiences' of difficulties in their groups and were analysed with a systematic text-condensation method. Results Three categories of difficulties emerged from the analysis: 1) the individual physician having needs, vulnerabilities, and defences; 2) the group (including the leader) having problems of hidden agendas, rivalries, and frames; and 3) the surrounding environment defining the conditions of the group. BGs were found to fit into modern theories of small groups as complex systems. They are submitted to group dynamics that are sometimes malicious, and are exposed to often tough environmental conditions. Conclusion Professionally conducted BGs seem to be a gentle, efficient method to train physicians, but with limitations. Participation of a member demands psychological stability and an open mind. BGs need support from the leadership of healthcare organisations in order to exist.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 60, no 580, p. 808-814
Keywords [en]
Balint groups, complex systems theory, education, medical, continuing, family practice, group process, qualitative research
National Category
Nursing
Research subject
Caring Sciences w. Medical Focus
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-25578DOI: 10.3399/bjgp10X532585ISI: 000284131400007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-25578DiVA, id: diva2:548205
Available from: 2012-08-30 Created: 2012-08-30 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

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Holmström, Inger

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • vancouver
  • Other style
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  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf