Transcultural issues in the dynamics of a Balint clinical reflection group for community mental health workers
The author presents transcultural issues in the content, process, and group dynamics of consecutive meetings of a Balint clinical reflection group for community mental health workers at Inala, Australia. Balint work and the context and evolution of the group process are briefly described, as is the consultative research methodology. The process of a Balint group meeting is reported in detail, following the author's consultation with group members. The collaborative work of a culturally diverse team of mental health professionals is examined in the context of discussion of a practitioner-patient relationship in which transcultural, gender, and family conflicts were the focus of affective and cognitive dissonance. For mental health workers engaging with communities of cultural diversity, Balint reflection groups can facilitate insight into cultural countertransferences that adversely affect clinical work. The group served to support the caseworkers' engagement with patients of different cultures, and provided a safe environment for the creative consideration and exploration in fantasy of the emotional pressures and complex ethical dilemmas related to boundaries in transcultural client-practitioner relationships, including those in which open discussion would otherwise be avoided.
Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified