What is the conference about?

This is an opportunity for international colleagues to consider the benefits and challenges brought to Balint groups by having patients, members and leaders from diverse cultural, professional and personal backgrounds.

Diversity is all around us, but talking about it can be difficult. We think that an IBF Congress is just the setting to do it. Here are a few examples of questions that the Congress might address, but there will be many more:

  • As more countries and professions join the Balint movement has underlying theory been adapted and with what effect?
  • What are the challenges in a group when the social or cultural identities of the patient, presenter, participants or leaders are relevant to the case?
  • How may different professional cultures affect the work of multidisciplinary groups?

How will the conference address these matters?

The conference setting, Keble College, allows everything to happen on one site, so we hope that it will not take too long for us to feel comfortable together and able to speak about difference openly.

Groups are a central part of all Balint conferences. There will be Balint groups, Leadership training groups and a Balint Psychodrama Group. You will be in the same small group for five sessions spread throughout the conference. The conference theme is likely to be in people’s minds when cases are discussed and may be relevant more often than we would think.

There will be paper presentations, posters and workshops relevant to the theme with time for discussion. Once the Scientific Committee has been able to read all the submissions, we will be able to offer more information about these. We hope that the smaller numbers in workshops will allow plenty of time for shared discussions.

Who is the conference for?

Most people who attend an International Balint Federation Congress will be a member of a national Balint Society, but this is not essential and we welcome those new to Balint work. Everyone who attends will be in one of the groups described above. If you have not experienced a Balint group before, then an ordinary Balint case discussion group is probably the best choice for you. Leadership training groups are suitable for those who have experience as a Balint group member and are thinking about becoming a Balint leader. There will be people from a variety of professions and with a range of experience, from trainees to retired practitioners. Most come from health or social care backgrounds, but teachers and other professionals where relationships between the practitioners and their public are important, are looking to Balint work as a way of developing their understanding.

You should commit to attend the whole conference so that groups can work in continuity over the days that they are together.

All papers, poster and workshops will be in English, as will most groups. We will be offering Balint groups for French speakers. We would encourage less confident English speakers to come. International Balint groups are an inspiring experience and communication is more than just words.

Are you interested in being a group leader at the conference?

The application form (available after 1st April 2017) will include this question. You should already have Balint group leadership experience and be confident in your English to consider this option. The IBF Leadership Taskforce working with the UK Balint Society Leadership Team will contact those who have expressed interest and then decide who will be leaders for the groups. There will be Leaders’ meetings before the start, during and at the end of the conference, as shown in the outline programme, so if you express an interest in being a leader, please bear this in mind when making your travel plans.