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Clinical Teacher’s Experiences of the Influence of Participation in the Balint Group on their Work Life in Clinical Settings: A Qualitative Study

Author(s): Mohammadreza Yazdankhahfard, Fariba Haghani*, Athar Omid and Carl Eduard Scheidt

Introduction: Balint group is a method widely used for enhancing understanding of the relationship and communication between health professionals and their patients. Participants meet in small groups, on a regular basis, with a leader to discuss their experiences of problem cases. The method was originally developed in the 1950s for enhancing understanding of the doctor-patient relationship. No studies have focused on the Balint group and clinical teachers’. The aim of the present study was to describe and analyze clinical teachers’ experiences of participation in the Balint group and its influence on their work life in clinical settings.

Method: Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with ten clinical teachers’ working in Iran and Isfahan University of medical sciences, all participating in the Balint group. The participants were selected by purposive sampling. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and subjected to a qualitative analysis. Credibility, dependability, confirmability, and transferability of the data were confirmed.

Results: The clinical teachers perceived that their Balint group participation influenced their work life. Analyses revealed two interrelated themes: behavioral metamorphosis cycle and dimensions of professional interactions development, thus enabling the clinical teachers to rediscover the joy of being a teacher.

Conclusion: The results suggest that Balint group and sharing the experiences of others may be considered a way of enhancing understanding of the clinical teachers encounter in work life, possibly to the benefit of clinical teachers and their students. Further research is needed to evaluate the feasibility of teacher Balint groups in the clinical setting.

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