Michael and Enid Balint, psychologists

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This collection comprises the official correspondence of Michael Balint (b. 1896-d. 1970) and his wife Enid Balint, as well as documentation relating to the publication of the Freud-Ferenczi letters.

Michael Balint originally surnamed Bergsman, was born in Budapest, Hungary on December 3, 1896, the first child to a middle-class Jewish family practitioner. In 1918 he qualified as a doctor, but proceeded to take up psychoanalysis, spending 2 years in Berlin with Hans Sachs, and another 2 years in Budapest with Sandor Ferenczi (1873-1933). Balint was profoundly influenced by Ferenczi. From 1931 to 1935 Michael Balint served as vice-director of the Budapest Psychoanalytic Institute, and was its director from 1935 to 1939.

The 1930s was a key decade for Michael Balint with a pronounced development towards his subsequent career as a general practitioner educator (1950). In that decade Balint began gathering together a few general practitioners with the sole purpose of studying methods by which psychotherapeutic skills could be introduced into medicine. These group meetings foreshadowed the later Balint societies.

Balint moved to England in the late 30s and made this his adopted home. He resided initially in Manchester, but later on settled in London. Michael Balint married for the third time in 1953, taking as his wife Enid Flora Eichholtz. They had met in 1949 when Enid was working in the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in conjunction with a group of psychologists and social workers upon the idea of investigating marriage problems. Michael Balint became the leader of this group and together the Balints developed the Balint group, a coterie of general practitioners influenced by psychoanalysis. Balint societies were eventually set up in Britain, France, Belgium, Holland, and West Germany and by the 1970s this international group led to the founding of the Balint Federation. This now comprises 12 affiliated national societies.

From the guide to the The Balint Papers, 1936-1994, (University of Essex: Albert Sloman Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf The Balint Papers, 1936-1994 University of Essex: Albert Sloman Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Balint Enid Flora Founder of Balint Society person
associatedWith Balint Michael 1896-1970 person
associatedWith Ferenczi Sandor 1873-1933 person
associatedWith Freud Sigmund 1856-1939 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Balint Society Great Britain


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