Jen Smolinski Provides a Closer Look at Her Weekly Group Medical Visit
January 19, 2023
We're so happy Jen Smolinski, E.D, J.D., M.S, agreed to sit down with us to give us some more insight into her upcoming Group Medical Visit, "Teen Support Group". This title might lead potential members into thinking it is an all business group but this is far from the truth, read on to hear more from Jen!
AFP: What made you want to start the teen support group? How long have you been leading this group?
Jen: The teen years can be hard. I wanted to form a safe and non-judgmental space where teens could get together and provide support and ideas to one another on how to manage whatever it is they are experiencing. The group has been running for over two years.
AFP: Can you give us an example of topics that many be covered during a session?
Jen: Topics can include family dynamics, friendships, partner relationships, difficulty navigating the academic and social aspects of school, or just about anything someone wants to bring up and needs to talk about.
AFP: What is the setup of this group? Is it more conversational or structured?
Jen: The group is more conversational than structured. If there is an event that is happening (covid, school shooting etc.) at the time that is impacting society as a whole, I will check in with the group to see if it is something anyone needs to discuss.
I try to sit back and let the teens help each other as the group is all about them but will offer support when and where needed or requested.
AFP: How have you seen this group impact past or current members? And, how has this group impacted you?
Jen: The biggest impact the group has had on its members is that the teens realize that they are not alone in their struggles. Although not exactly the same, teens share similar experiences and knowing that someone else has had a similar experience and can understand and identify with their thoughts and feelings can be very validating and empowering.
This group has not only taught me the latest teen lingo but has allowed me a greater understanding of what it is like to be a teenagers in today’s society which in turn helps me with my teenagers at home.
AFP: If someone can't make it to the group one week, is it okay for them to attend the following week?
Jen: The group is “come when you can”. Homework, school events and clubs, etc are all important and I let the teens know that those things should take precedence over the group. Teens can come every week or however often their schedule allows.
They are welcome to keep their camera on and fully participate, keep their cameras off and just listen, or anywhere in between. There is never any pressure from me or the other group members to talk or disclose more than they are comfortable with.
AFP: Who is able to be a part of this group?
Jen: Group members have ranged from 12 to 17 and have been either in public school or homeschool.
For more information, or to register for this Group Medical Visit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.