Ascona and Monte Verita have been since the mid-nineteenth century (!) at the same time meeting places and metaphors for social commitment and critical developments of personality.

The history of Balint on the Monte Verita is called the Ascona model.

This model stands for "Training cum Research in Relationship" (M. Balint). Situations, encounters and their impacts in medicine, in the hospital and practice were and are the subject of this work on the Monte Verita, the "Mountain of Truth”, above Ascona. 

Discussions were held in an international framework about positive developments such as how to impact deficits in education and continuing education, also about the possibilities and opportunities of Balint work.

Medical students, doctors, psychologists, and teachers of many disciplines were involved in the exchange of ideas. They discussed "pros and cons" of bio-medical and bio- psycho-social medicine, brought together in a holistic model. 

The central focus of Balint work is the doctor-patient relationship. Focal points of the related discussions were "situations, encounters and relationships in medicine".

The history of Balint in Ascona began with Michael Balint’s book “The doctor, his patient and the illness".

Immediately after reading this book Professor Boris Luban-Plozza flew to London to M. Balint. He felt that he was “lightning struck" by the book.

The Balint's reciprocal visit to the beautiful Ticino led to regular meetings that made up larger meetings and conventions were and the “Maitreffen” May meetings of case history groups, i.e. the students who were trying to work out this new territory.

The International Balint Conferences organized in various European cities since the early nineties: Szeged / Southern Hungary, 1990; Graz, 1992; Aachen, 1993; Budapest., 1996

At the International Balint Congresses in Berlin in 2003, Stockholm in 2005, Lisbon in 2007, Brasov, 2009, Philadelphia in 2011 and Heidelberg in 2013, the winners of the Ascona Student Balint prize presented their work on encounters with patients in clinic or practice. They reflected each positive experience, as well as the failures of medicine that is not grounded in relationships.

The Ascona-Balint award has been offered regularly since the mid-seventies for medical students at national and international levels. (See also the home pages of DBG www.balintgesellschaft.de, the IBF www.balintinternational.com, the Ascona www.stiftung-ps.com Foundation

The Ascona model as a training and further education model for medical students and psychology, as well as for physicians is being maintained by the "Foundation for Psychosomatic and Social Medicine".

The “Foundation for Psychosomatic and Social medicine" administers the endowment, and organizes conferences and symposia.

In particular the Foundation supports scientific research, developments and implementations of ideas and methods of psychosocial concepts in medicine.


Topics and places of Ascona - Conversations

1967 Minusio "Esplanade" + Ascona "M. verità"-  Michael and Enid Balint

          Topic: "The psychosomatic patient"


1968 Ascona- "Casa Incontro" -  J.A. M. Meerloo

         Topic: "Angoise e peur"


1968 Ascona - "Casa Incontro"-  Michael and Enid Balint

         Theme: "Development and Education"


1969 Ascona - "Casa Incontro"-  Michael and Enid Balint

        Topic: "Meeting House"


Verità 1973 Ascona- M.

           Topic: "relationship diagnostics in practice"


Verità 1974 Ascona- M.

            Topic: "The doctor and the hospital: New relationship possibilities thanks to Balint in training".


1975 Ascona- M. verità - (with Enid Balint)

           Topic: "The influence of the Balint Group on the change in patients and the doctor"


1976 Ascona- M. verità - (with Enid Balint)

           Topic: "seeing and hearing in Medicine".


           Ascona "Fromm meadow") - Erich Fromm

           Topic: "Case-related seminar"


1977 Ascona- M. verità - (with Enid Balint)

          Topic: "students and physicians in training"


Verità 1978 Ascona- M.

          Topic: Balint groups: concept and method

          + "Brain and mind" with a contribution of Nobel laureate Sir John Eccles.


Verità 1979 Ascona- M.

         Topic: "Speaking and answers in the doctor patient relationship"


Verità 1980 Ascona- M.

          Topic: "Psychosomatic symptoms in the relationship"


Verità 1983 Ascona- M.

          Topic: "Asconauten and farmers" - student and patient-centered medical multi-generational group work ".


Verità 1984 Ascona- M.

           Topic: "Between suffering and hope"


Verità 1985 Ascona- M.

           Topic: "patient and therapist in the long-term treatment and monitoring"


Verità 1986 Ascona- M.

          Topic: "Patient, Doctor, family in dealing with pain and fear"


Verità 1987 Ascona- M.

            Topic: "dependency and liberation"


Verità 1988 Ascona- M.

            Topic: “Ideas exchange on problems of the doctor patient relationship"


Verità 1989 Ascona- M.

            Topic: "The aging man and his doctor"


Verità 1990 Ascona- M.

             Topic: "The chronically ill as a challenge"


Verità 1991 Ascona- M.

             Topic: "Psychosomatic Medicine in primary health care"


Verità 1992 Ascona- M.

             Topic: "Relationships with depressed patients in therapy"


Verità 1993 Ascona- M.

             Topic: "The aging man and his environment"


            Hospital Aachen

            Topic: "The dimensions of Balint work".


Verità 1994 Ascona- M.

           Topic: "Art and Therapy" / "ways to health at Monte Verità"


Verità 1995 Ascona- M.

          Topic: "The art of the encounter"


Verità 1996 Ascona- M.

          Topic: "The depressed patient and his treatment"


Verità 1997 Ascona- M.

          Topic: "stress as a challenge"


Verità 1998 Ascona- M.

          Topic: "Psychosomatic and Balint"


Verità 2000 Ascona- M.

           Topic: Integrated psychosomatics"


Verità 2001 Ascona- M.

           Topic: "The pharmacology of the patient and the drug doctor."


2003 Berlin/Germany/ 13. Int. Balint Congress

           Topic: "The Doctor, the Patient and Their well-being- World Wide"


Verità 2004 Ascona- M.

           Topic: Psychosomatic Medicine and the Synergetic complex systems -

                       The Ascona model in the 21st century


2005 Stockholm/Sweden/ 14. Int. Balint Congress

           Topic: Balintwork in a time of change and crisis in the healthcare system (37)


Verità 2006 Ascona- M.

           Topic: "New Directions in Psychosomatics: Looking for

                        lost reason and proper measurement in medicine "


2007 Lisbon/Portugal/ 15. Int. Balint Congress

           Topic: "Medicine, Evidence and Emotions, 50 Years on ..." (38)


2008 Ascona- M. verità + Locarno

           Topic: "La Musica e Giovanni - Music is young.”


2009    Brasov/Romania/ 16.Int. Balint Congress

           Topic: „Balintwork and globalisation"  (39)


2011   Philadelphia/USA/ 17. Int. Balint Congress

           Topic: „The Heart of Patient-Centered Care“                                                                             

2013   Heidelberg/Germany/ 18. Int. Balint Congress

          Topic:  „Attachment and Relationship“ 

2015   Metz/France/ 19. Int. Balint Congress

          Topic: "Importance of the Patient-Doctor relationship in contemporary health care: the relevance of Balint work"  

2017   Oxford/UK/ 20. Int. Balint Congress