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Mama Jen

When I broke, something in me broke free.


I realized the only person coming to save me was myself.

As I begin the slow and deliberate healing process of coming back to myself as a mother, I started an online community about mindful mothering to share what I was discovering worked to reconstitute my energy and my soul wellsprings while being a caregiver. In community with other mothers, we discovered that simple research-based mind/body practices could be highly effective, when engaged daily, to keep a healthy sense of balance between caring for others and attending to our own energy. 

Over the years, as I got healthier and my girls grew, I decided that what I learned on my "soul-battical" from teaching could potentially help teachers, too. I created an 8 week curriculum designed to heal teacher burnout, and I vetted it through a doctoral program at the University of Minnesota. The impact data was astounding. 

I discovered that burnout does not discriminate. It manifests in those who care deeply who also need and deserve compassionate care and mindbodysoul health support. 


I also discovered that when I was unable to build and sustain a healthy relationship with myself, I was impaired in my ability to nurture resonate, healthy relationships with those in my care. I was determined to discover a way out of that double-bind because I believe that our callings and our caregiving should not hurt our relationship with our selves. Rather, our callings as caregivers should be opportunities to harmonize with the greatest aspects of who we really are.

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Books and Branch

My research taught me three fundamental truths about burnout and caregiving that I am determined to share with all those who care - professional and personally:


Being called to a care-based profession is intimately aligned with the soul of who you are, and that is why we are all susceptible to energetically "burning out."

Those who don't care from the core of who they are, don't burn out.



Since our callings are soul-centered, they did not only call us to serve, assist, teach, lead, and hold spaces of healing for others.


Our callings also called us to serve, assist, teach, lead, and hold spaces of healing for our very selves. 



The stressors we encounter in our callings are uniquely customized - not to harm us - but to help us harmonize with the greatest aspects of who we are and who we are becoming.


The very same stressors that have the propensity to feed burnout have the potential to fuel becoming more of one's self and expanding one's legacy of light impact on those we are called to care for. Our caregiving is designed, from a soul perspective, to make us stronger. 

is the founder of Present Well-Being LLC and the creator of The Light You CastTM Curriculum (previously known as the Present Teacher Restoration Project).


Jen received her BA in Elementary Education from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and her MA in Socio-Cultural Foundations and Educational Thought from Western Michigan University.


Jen received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota College of Education + Human Development where she focused on discovering and exploring the  salutogentic, asset-based origins of human-service professional mental, emotional, soul, and relationship health while they were in service to others.

Dr. Jen's research on preventative and healing practices to heal from and stave off burnout, compassion fatigue, and moral injury in care-based professions is innovative and integrative.

Jen is currently the program administrator for the Minnesota Grow Your Own Teachers (MNGOT) program at the University of Minnesota's College of Education + Human Development. Jen also teaches courses on new teacher social-emotional health at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Jen

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Jen is also a 200 hour certified yoga teacher and mindfulness teacher. She integrates restorative mind/body practices in all her engagements with caregivers. 


Dr. Clifden has experience teaching mindfulness trainings and courses for the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota, Lifetime Fitness, the University of Minnesota College of Education + Human Development, Carlson School of Management, and Target Corporation. She has worked with over 25 school districts in Minnesota to help raise burnout prevention and healing awareness to school caregivers over the last 8 years.

Dr. Jen connects with individuals, teams, and leaders in systems of care about how to examination of contextual factors that exacerbate toxic and traumatic stress responses while also equipping them with information, practices, knowledge, and support that allow them to re-claim their innate capacity to engage core social and emotional learning competencies that protect the self from soul loss while strengthening self-liberatory practices that fuels healing and contributes to personal, community, and societal well-being.

Core to her training and teaching is raising awareness about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Complex PTSD and the ways that adult survivors of ACEs cope with the relationship stress triggers of care-based callings. 

She lives in the Twin Cities area where she is enjoying spending time with her three teenage daughters before they head off to college and traveling as much as possible to the west coast of Ireland.

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Research Expertise

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As a trained phenomenologist, Dr. Jen researches and studies how human-beings connect to, engage with, and relate to themselves, their world, their work, and their relationships. She assists caregivers in "seeing what frames their seeing" and invites them to explore their invisible relationship patterns of engagement-- personally and professionally.


She guides caregivers on a path of self-discovery to explore how their ways of perceiving, behaving, and being can become more aligned with their integrity, personal truth, and soul's core character. 


Jen uses design-based research to intersect theory, research, practice, and body-based healing methods to create evidence-based curriculum designed to scientifically and systematically stoke human-service caregiver mental health, relationship resilience, social and emotional intelligence, and soul well-being.


Dr. Clifden’s keynotes, trainings, courses, and yoga retreats focus on research-based preventative and restorative practices that treat and heal soul sickness – burnout, compassion fatigue, moral injury, and sacrifice syndrome -- while cultivating greater social and emotional intelligence, compassion, and empathy in one’s care-based work.

Check out the origins of Jen's journey in caring for caregivers


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Book a Free Consultation


Schedule a complimentary 1-on-1 with Dr. Jen to learn more about how we can undo burnout and reignite compassion and hope yourself, your team, or your organization.

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