Michael Balint was an important figure in the story of contemporary psychoanalysis.
The broken arc of his life could stand as a symbol for many professionals who were forced to leave their country during dark times and start a new one with revived hopes about a less traumatic future.
He was a central figure of the younger generation around Sandor Ferenczi in Budapest working at the clinic with his wife Aliz, teaching, developing original ideas and techniques. A rare model for creative couples who live, work, think and write together!
After they emigrated to the UK in 1938, Michael Balint became one of the leading personages of the Tavistock Clinic and president of the British Psycho-analytical Society, in London. Aliz died tragically young and Michael found another equal creative partner in Enid Balint, proving that such unions do exist – sometimes even twice in one’s lifetime!
Tragedies,losses and new beginnings… Balint’s themes and books bear witness to human drama in the face of traumatization and social-individual experiences threatening basic trust and primary love.
Our conference aims at reviving the memory and work of the Balints together with the main protagonists in their world both in Hungary and in the UK. We try to show them in the climate of scientific, social and cultural developments of the time, in the network of their living relationships while following their original and groundbreaking psychoanalytic thinking.
Aiming at a “Balint revival” the conference brings together an interdisciplinary network of psychoanalysts, social thinkers, historians, literary scholars, artists, and medical doctors who draw on Michael Balint’s work in a variety of ways.
Themes include ‘the basic fault’, ‘primary love’, ‘thrills and regressions’ and ‘Balint groups’, Balint’s pioneering work with medical doctors. We consider the emergence of these ideas and techniques in direct connection with the collective practices of the Budapest School of Psychoanalysis, and reflect on their importance for contemporary clinical practice.
12 Maresfield Gardens
London, NW3 5SU