This book explores the life and theories of Michael Balint, who kept alive Ferenczi’s analytic traditions in Budapest and brought them to London, where they became a vital part of the Independent Group’s theory and practice. Balint’s theoretical understanding of regression, "new beginnings," "basic fault," as well as his profound impact on medicine, are all described.
The work in the Balint groups by general practitioners, psychiatrists, and physicians are explored. Whole person and psychosomatic medicine, championed by Balint, is contrasted with today’s more compartmentalized approach to medicine, including the increasing separation of the GP from the family.
In the second part of the book, Dr. Sklar reflects on the complex tasks involved in psychodynamic assessment. Vignettes illustrate the the importance of understanding the forces in family dynamics, the value of an early memory and a dream, and the sexual life of the patient. The author argues that Balint's ideas are of particular significance to us today, in our world of quick fixes and the overspecialization of medicine.
About the Author:
Jonathan Sklar MBBS, FRCPsych is a training analyst and fellow of the British Psychoanalytic Society. Originally trained in psychiatry at Friern and the Royal Free Hospitals, he worked for four years in psychotherapy at the Tavistock Clinic in London. For many years he was consultant psychotherapist and head of the psychotherapy department at Addenbrookes and Fulbourn hospital in Cambridge. He now works in full time analytic practice in London. He teaches and supervises at the Institute of Psychoanalysis; teaches an MSc course on "Ferenczi and Contemporary Psychoanalysis" at University College London; and teaches in Chicago. For the past five years, he has convened a psychoanalytic conference outside Cape Town and, for thirty years, has convened Balint groups working with general practitioners and psychiatrists. He has lectured widely throughout Europe as well as in South America. His psychoanalytic papers have been published in Italian, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. From 2007-2011 he was Vice President of the European Psychoanalytic Federation.