Table 2.

Themes and Subthemes Resulting From the Analysis of the Interviews

Competence in the physician-patient encounter gained in the Balint groupNaming, tracing, and handling difficult emotions
Knowing oneself
Preparing oneself for difficult encounters
Understanding mechanisms of bad encounters
Viewing the patient as a whole person in a biopsychosocial coherence
Understanding why patients seek health care
Being proactive in consultations
Professional identity as recognized in the groupRecognizing difficult encounters as a special and challenging task as a general practitioner
Learning the limits of one’s abilities and obligations
Understanding patient-centeredness as a prerequisite of being a general practitioner
Having a shared working condition, showing tolerance toward colleagues
Mirroring oneself in others’ stories leading to increased understanding of the tasks of a general practitioner
Sense of security developed in the groupLong relationship with the other group members
Weaknesses and mishaps are tolerated
Permissiveness, openness, and sincerity in the group
Confidentiality, frames, and firm structure
Feeling of not being alone even between group meetings
Long experience leads to feeling of security
Parallel process: general practitioner–patient and Balint group–general practitionerLong relationship with both patients and group
Learning to listen patiently to narratives of discomfort
Acknowledging changes over time in both group and patients
Changing one’s behavior permanently takes time
Endurance and satisfactionHaving good times together, breathing space
Balint group enhances satisfaction with work
Balint group counteracts burnout
Together recognizing the good sides of work