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Hart, H.H. (1973). La Formation Psychologique Du Médecin. A Partir De Michael Bálint (The Psychological Formation of the Doctor. Beginning from Michael Bálint): By Michel Sapir, M.D. Paris: Payot, 1972. 354 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 42:467-470.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:467-470

La Formation Psychologique Du Médecin. A Partir De Michael Bálint (The Psychological Formation of the Doctor. Beginning from Michael Bálint): By Michel Sapir, M.D. Paris: Payot, 1972. 354 pp.

Review by:
Henry Harper Hart

This book opens with a historical survey of the roles played by psychosomatic medicine, medical psychology, and psychoanalysis in gradually making the general practitioner of medicine aware of the emotional conflicts associated with organic disease. Overcoming the resistance of the medical profession to this aspect of disease has been a long struggle, from the days of Groddeck, Ferenczi, Alexander, Deutsch, and Jelliffe to the recent work of Michael and Enid Balint and their disciples. In France particularly there was rigid opposition among the heads of specialities in the medical schools; the emotional conflicts of their patients were defensively ignored. But the general medical practitioner knew that conflicts hid behind symptoms, and since 1950 many physicians have joined the groups organized by the Balints to discuss their difficulties with patients. At meetings there were four foci: 1, the personality of the patient and his attitude toward his malady; 2, the physician himself and his feelings about the patient-doctor relationship; 3, the development of transference and countertransference relationships; and 4, the transference to the leader of the Balint group, who was a psychoanalyst.

The many difficulties these sessions presented indicate the need for skill, patience, and flexibility on the part of the group leader. He has to handle the emotions of the physicians in the group as exemplified in their views of the patient; he must wait silently until the emotions of the group gradually emerge.

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