Balint work is designed specifically to allow transference and countertransference in a therapeutic alliance to become conscious, understandable, and therefore usable, for the clinician.
In a chapter in Making Spaces: Putting Psychoanalytic Thinking to Work (Kate Cullen, et al.) Grant Wilkie describes why Balint groups fit so well in therapists' continuing psychoanalytic study and self-development:
In the Balint group, by opening up pockets of potential space, [clinicians] learn to make use of associative modes of thinking and engage in “serious play, " which allows them to metabolize their experience, to put it into words, and find different ways to think about the problem. In time, the alpha function of the group is internalized, enabling members to think in a quite different way about their work.
The Balint group method emphasizes experience-near language and de-emphasizes authority for its own sake in both the group leaders and the group members. It fits well with contemporary analytic trends. The Balints understood the mutative power of the clinical relationship and the nonverbal, affective components of the treatment experience long before these took their rightful place in psychoanalytic work alongside interpretation. We are pleased to provide the chance to practice this discipline.
Size: This group will have up to 10 people and will meet 10 times in the new year.
Where: The Hawthorne Hills neighborhood. Details provided to registrants.
When: We will meet ten Monday evenings from 7:30 - 9:00. The dates are January 22nd and 29th, February 12th and 26th, March 12th and 26th, April 9th, 23rd and 30th, and May 14th.
Cost: $250 for the set of sessions. Explicitly allowing some flexibility with attendance has been working well; individuals missing a meeting or two hasn't diminished recent groups and it has been helpful to participants to know this is fine.
If you'd like to join us, let either of us know. Or be in touch if you have any questions at all.