The Doctor, his Patient and the IllnessBMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39384.467928.94 (Published 01 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:941
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It is gratifying to note that The Medical Classic, "The
Doctor, his Patient and the illness" by the late Michael Balint is still
considered a classic some 50yrs from its publication. This book has taught
us the essentials of typical British General Practice, which are not
taught in any medical curriculam or in any Text Book of Medicine. I have
read, reread this book and have consulted it several times during my work
as a GP, which was of 3 decades. I know I have learnt a great deal from
this book, specially the new dimensions it has opened in Doctor-Patient
relationship. A whole new meaning has emerged from this book about the
style and contents of Consultation. I did not know, until I read the book,
that Doctors also have their, emotions, feelings and beliefs which He
displays in his consultaion. I had the privilege of attending the Balint
type of seminars run by the Tavistock Clinic, North London. These seminars
were attended by working GPs, with a psychoanalyst as the Group Leader.
It was a great learning exercise attending these seminars, which I did
regularly on Thursday afternoons for almost 13yrs.
There are some further titles, adding to the orignal book.
1) Treatment or Diagnosis, By Michael Balint and others, published by
2) Six Minutes for the patient, By E. Balint & others, Tavistock
3)The doctor,the patient and the group, Balint revisited, by E. Balint
& others, Published by Routledge London.
I was a VTS trainer and all my Registrars had to read this book during
the early months of training. Regretfully with modern techniques,
gadgets and number of expensive investigations (defensive medicine?) we
have overlooked the person who is sitting in front of us as a patient,
leave alone his illness, we do not attempt to understand it, We are more
concerned about our performance indicators?
Competing interests: No competing interests