Teaching the clinical encounter in psychiatry: a trial of Balint groups for medical students

Parker, Stephen and Leggett, Andrew (2012) Teaching the clinical encounter in psychiatry: a trial of Balint groups for medical students. Australasian Psychiatry, 20 4: 343-347. doi:10.1177/1039856212447965

Author Parker, Stephen
Leggett, Andrew
Title Teaching the clinical encounter in psychiatry: a trial of Balint groups for medical students
Journal name Australasian Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1039-8562
Publication date 2012-08-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/1039856212447965
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 20
Issue 4
Start page 343
End page 347
Total pages 5
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: Balint groups are being trialled as a method to facilitate understanding of the relational aspects of student encounters with psychiatric patients. This paper reports on the establishment, processes and trends in the student evaluations of these groups.

Method: The groups have been introduced as part of the medical student curriculum at a tertiary referral hospital. In six of the eight weeks of the clinical rotation in psychiatry, students meet in a group led by the authors, to discuss relational aspects of their interactions with patients. Ten third-year postgraduate medical students participate in the group each rotation. The educational value of each meeting and the group overall is assessed using questionnaires.

The groups tended to be rated positively by the participants. However, students were less certain of the relevance to their clinical practice. Vignettes demonstrating aspects of group process are presented in the context of the leaders’ experiential account.

Conclusions: Short-term clinical reflection groups can be effectively implemented for medical students in a hospital environment. These groups have the potential to support students in the process of learning to work in doctor–patient relationships, but may encounter significant challenges necessitating adaptation of method and process to context.
Keyword Balint group
Clinical communication
Medical education
Pastoral care
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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