The relationship between primary care and psychotherapy is discussed, with emphasis on Balint groups as an important training method for the psychological education of general practitioners. This paper is a synthesis of the intervention held at the meeting "Psychiatry and primary care" (Reggio Emilia, Italy, January 25, 1991). Here it is introduced by a detailed note of the Author who retraces the history of the attempts made in the 1970s-80s by the health care system of Reggio Emilia (Italy) at improving the psychological education of primary care physicians, within a general movement of renewal of services also in other sectors such as welfare, environmental health, community psychiatry, occupational medicine, hospital care, education, etc. The reasons why these reforms were later interrupted are discussed.
Keywords: Primary care, psychiatry, psychotherapy, training, Balint groups