Peer Support Is Helpful But I Need More

Could a Balint Group be the more you are looking for?

You, like most of us, will have people in your workplace that you feel comfortable talking with – discussing your challenges and the times that you feel inadequate or have a poor outcome, as well as sharing your successes.

Awesome! Effective co-worker support is a partial antidote to workplace stress and we know that talking it out it is far more effective than are wine and avoidance.

But there are times when the assistance of your colleagues is not enough;

-Maybe you are doing the informal debriefing between cases and this is helping keep stress at bay, but, with all the will in the world, regular more formal debriefs are elusive.

-The practice may be going through a busy patch and everybody is stretched and a little frazzled or maybe your practice is consistently busy with many people in survival mode – doing what they need to do to get through the day and not having the energy for anything extra. You might not want to ask a colleague to spend some time with you debriefing what has happened today or this week. You don’t want to be a burden.

-Maybe the practice leadership does not see the value in debriefing and doesn’t prioritise spending time on it.

-You may not feel safe with your colleagues, worrying that you will be seen as weak or as not being a coper or being a whinger if you don’t appear decisive and under control.

What to do then?

Your family and close friends will be a great support – but sometimes even they will get tired of hearing about it, or they may not really understand your concerns or your difficulties.

Have you considered a Balint Group?

Well, probably not – because as best we can see, this is not something that has been available in the veterinary world before.

VetPrac and Make Headway have got together to introduce this new form of support group to the veterinary profession in 2019.

Why Balint?

In reading and attending workshops on burnout in the caring professions, Cathy kept hearing about Balint Groups and how they could help people to process the events they encounter at work. After twenty years in emergency work, she had a lot of these cases sitting there with no real outlet. How exactly do you process the traumas, the sadness and the guilt you encounter on a daily basis without taking it on yourself or hardening your heart and becoming like a robot??

Google confirmed that Australia does have a Balint society, many functioning groups and an annual conference. Attendance at the groups and conference revealed that they do help and that they are an intervention that is readily applicable to the vet profession. Leadership training ensued.

What exactly is a Balint group?

Balint groups are facilitated peer discussion groups where health professionals come together to talk about their experiences and interactions at work. The focus is on feelings and relationships – the management of the case serves simply as a background to this exploration.

They can be conducted on-line or in person and each group has about ten regular participants meeting on a monthly basis. The groups are safe, supportive and confidential.

Why might you want to join our VetPrac Balint Group?

-To talk about the cases and interactions that weigh heavily on you – the ones that continually creep into your mind when you are not at work or you are trying to sleep.

-To share your experiences with your colleagues and know that you are not alone

-To see situations from a different perspective, increasing your compassion for others

-To expand your capacity for dealing with “difficult” people

-To reduce your stress levels and prevent burnout

Our Balint Groups will run on-line monthly on a Monday afternoon between May and October. All members of the veterinary team are welcome. Each of the six sessions will run for 1.5 hours and there is no preparatory work or homework.

Why don’t you make signing up to our on-line Balint group the thing that you do differently to manage your stress and increase your well-being in 2019? Register HERE. For more info, check out the brochure.