Every Wednesday at 6:30pm, Jennifer Smolinski, the young adult therapist at Atkinson Family Practice, leads a Teen Support Group. This group provides emotional support for teenagers, as well as a safe space to talk about the world today, in the midst of Coronavirus. Jennifer Smolinksi shared more information about this very important group with us here.
AFP: What topics does the Teen Support Group cover?
Jennifer: We cover everything from school, relationships with family and friends, and the pandemic to stressors, common connections, thoughts, feelings and everything else in between.
AFP: What ages are invited to the Teen Support Group and why?
Jennifer: Right now group members consist of 12 and 13 yr olds but up to and including age 15 is appropriate. This age group has a lot of common experiences, particularly in school and with parental and friend group relationships. They have been able to share ideas, thoughts, and feelings, identify with each other, and give thoughtful and appropriate feedback to each other.
AFP: How important is it for teens to have an outlet like this group?
Jennifer: It is especially important for teens to be able to identify with each other and know that there are other people their age that are going through the same things. The pandemic has isolated teens from their friends and other social outlets so it is important to give them a safe place to feel connected with their peers and be able to talk about whatever is on their mind.
AFP: Do you have any additional information about the Teen Support Group?
Jennifer: This group is very casual and can be fun. Participants can feel free to join and just observe, participate with their camera off, or turn their camera on and participate fully in discussions. It is all about being comfortable with the group in their own way.
This group is at no charge to AFP patients. For more information, and to register for the Teen Support Group, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.