Balint Matters: Psychosomatics and the Art of Assessment - Jonathan Sklar
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 compartmentalised 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 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 overspecialisation of medicine.