Carolyn Bogott: Making self-care a priority

Published 4:20 pm Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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One of Jenni Linnett’s colleagues and friends, Gema Alvarado Guerrero, said Jenni “brings a sense of tranquility and grounding when she walks into a room.”

Jenni completed a masters degree in Community Counseling at Winona State University 20 years ago, and Austin is so fortunate that she chose our community in which to develop her knowledge and skills.  She first came to town to interview for an internship program at Nexus Gerard Family Healing and ended up being hired as a therapist.

She loved that beautiful residential campus and the energy of the staff and enjoyed three years of the challenging work with the children in treatment there. She also met her husband, Jason, during this time. Next, she worked for Nexus Gerard counseling children in their homes and in foster care with a family focus for another three years.  That experience expanded her knowledge and skills.

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Ready for change with more regular hours in order to start a family, Jenni took a position with Austin Public Schools as a mental health practitioner, working with high school students who had Individual Educational Plans because of behavioral and social problems.  Group work with classes in interpersonal relations, personal emotional health, and life skills, as well as individual counseling sessions, were her responsibilities at the high school.

After 10 years in that position, she was hired back at Nexus Gerard as clinical director.  In this capacity, she learned more about leadership as she supervised the staff who provide the 365-days- a -year, 24-hours-a-day care.

In 2021, Jenni felt the need for another change and opened her own private counseling practice in life coaching, mostly aimed at women.  She loves that work and finds it very satisfying to help women who need to realize  that, “our culture often conditions women to put everyone ahead of themselves. Sacrificial giving can strip women of who they really are.”   

“Many women of all ages don’t know what they like or what they want from life,” she said.

Jenni advocates, “not negating the relationship you have with yourself. It should be top priority.”

In 2022, Jenni added to her private practice the clinical supervisor role at Oakland Education Center, the Austin Albert Lea Area Special Education Cooperative.  This school serves special education to students with unique needs.

One part of the building serves children who have profound issues and may be non-verbal, and need help with every aspect of life, including eating and grooming. The other section of the school has small settings for children with difficult mental health and behavioral issues.

Jenni is proud to be a part of this school which provides a calm, consistent environment for learning which can be individualized for each child. She commends the staff for being extremely creative and flexible in figuring out how to meet needs of their students. She gets great satisfaction from her role supporting the staff and educating them in the latest in brain science.

This amazing woman, who spends all her professional life giving to others, makes self-care a top priority including exercising, eating well, adequate sleep, mediation, time with valued people and what she calls “thought work.”  She is an advocate of having “an active inner dialog with yourself, respectfully questioning whether what you are telling yourself is positive and helpful.” 

And she reaches out to other professionals when she realizes she needs their help.

This keeps her strong so that she can give generously to others and be attentive to Jason and   their children, Liam, aged 13, and Lorelei, aged 7 .

What an inspiration you are and what a service you provide to those with whom you interact!  Thank you, Jenni Linnett.