Penney O'Donnell Lyons


About Me

I have been very fortunate in my career and life experiences in that I have had opportunities to work with many diverse populations. Whether this diversity spans different ages, different cultures or different settings, I believe these experiences are invaluable. Being a counselor can be an amazing profession full of challenges, heartaches and celebration. We see you at your worst and see you at your best, but there is no better reward than to see you succeed.

I come from a compassionate, non-judgmental, strengths-based perspective in my clinical practice and in life. I can help you learn life skills and identify alternate healthy thinking patterns so that you can decrease your anxiety and depression while increasing your self-esteem and quality of life.

Asking for help can be difficult, especially if you have never worked with a counselor before. This article, written by Megan Hale, does a great job at addressing 10 aspects of the therapeutic relationship that are either unknowns or common misconceptions. I hope this clarifies what you can expect from working with a counselor.

1. I don't think you're crazy.
I think you are amazingly unique trying to find your way in the world. None of us is perfect and I surely don't expect you to be anywhere close to mastery when you're learning new skills to change your life. Effective change usually requires trial and lots of errors. It means you're trying! Plus, if I think you're being irrational, I'll tell you.

2. Trust is everything.
Your ability to connect with me will be the number one factor determining how well we work together. If you don't feel like you click with me after a few sessions, it's OK to let me know and seek out a different therapist. We all need different things, and my main priority is for you to achieve your goals.

3. My job is not to psychoanalyze you.
My job is to be curious and to help you gain more understanding. A good therapist doesn't claim to have all the answers for why you are the way you are, although we may have some ideas that we will willingly share with you. When it comes to getting answers and more understanding, we will form hypotheses together and you will come to your own conclusions. A therapist facilitates that process. They don't tell you how to think/believe/act.

4. I'm not here to give you advice.
I'm here to share my knowledge with you and help you make your own decisions that are balanced, rational and well-explored. Strengthening your own reasoning and decision-making skills will increase your independence and self-esteem. Win-win!

5. Work through your emotions with me instead of quitting, anger included.
Therapy is the perfect place to learn how to express your feelings. That's what I'm here for - to give you a space to try out new ways of being, thinking, and feeling. Take advantage of this. When we learn how to work through our negative emotions with others, it increases our relationship skills and makes us more comfortable with voicing our hurts. This is a necessary component to maintaining relationships and managing emotions in a healthy way.

6. I expect you to slide backward to old behavior patterns and I'm not here to judge you.
Most people judge themselves enough for at least two people. I encourage my clients to come clean. It's only through acknowledging our steps backward that we can figure out what's standing in the way so that you can catapult forward. Relapse is VERY common and it's nothing to be ashamed of.

7. You deserve to be happy.
Happiness is not reserved for special people. Everyone has regrets, things we wish we never would have done, people we've hurt along the way, people who have hurt us either intentionally or unintentionally. I'm a firm believer that we can heal our wounds and step into happiness. You deserve it just as much as the next person.

8. I can't "fix" your life or your problems. Only you can.
I can help you gain more clarity, more understanding, and form a plan of action, but therapy is not a magic pill that erases all issues. It takes work, but if you're up for the challenge, I'll be there every step of the way!

9. The quickest way from point A to point B is action.
If you continue to come to therapy without putting any new behaviors or thoughts into action, progress will be a slow process for you. The path to action is different for everyone, but if you never do anything different, you'll never get a different result. You're the only one who can decide to take action. You hold all the power.

10. I want you to have the life you want.
I'm on your side. Your success is the ultimate gift to a therapist!
People come to therapy for all kinds of reasons. Usually people are experiencing a moderate level of discomfort in their lives and have noticed a toll on their work/school performance and in their relationships. Beginning therapy can be scary for some as they are showing a willingness to face tough topics, but for others, it's a huge relief to finally be taking action to move in a different direction.

Therapy isn't always easy, but I think it's the most worthwhile gift you can give yourself. Find someone you trust and who puts you at ease. The relationship you build with your therapist is the most important aspect of all.


  • Stress, Anxiety
  • Self esteem
  • Career
  • Bipolar

I also have experience in LGBT, Relationship, Family, Trauma and abuse, Grief, Sleeping, Parenting, Anger, Depression

Years of Experience: 8

Services Offered

  • Messaging

  • Live Chat

  • Phone

  • Video


LMHC #MH12160 (Expires: 2019-03-31)


Written by D.. on Jun 16, 2018 after counseling with Penney for 2 weeks on issues concerning career

Penney has been very supportive as I work through a complex business situation which has been creating quite a bit of anxiety for me. She is sensitive to my particular needs and makes me feel very much understood and capable. I appreciate how Penney makes her time available to me even if it means moving around her other commitments. Her guidance has provided me with practical, immediately applicable strategies that effectively support the attainment of my goals. I highly recommend Penney as a sensitive, thoughtful and experienced counselor.

Written by H.A. on May 22, 2018 after counseling with Penney for 6 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, self esteem, and career

Love my therapist. She is very supportive and caring.

Written by C.A. on May 16, 2018 after counseling with Penney for 2 weeks

Penney has been a wonderful source of support in my life. She is sensitive and understanding of my concerns, and has a very strong knowledge of the tools that I can use in order to manage my anxiety. Penney presents these ideas in a friendly and accessible manner, while still validating my feelings. I know that I have to do the work in order to see improvement, and after a session with Penney I am focused and positive about my own well-being.

Written by J.O. on Apr 28, 2018 after counseling with Penney for 10 months on issues concerning stress, anxiety

Mrs. Penney is a fantastic counselor. She's helped me tremendously thus far and I'm excited for what's in store for the future with her!

Written by Y.E. on Nov 29, 2017 after counseling with Penney for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, sleeping, self esteem, and career

Penney is so sweet and understanding, she has helped me a lot with a few sessions and I feel confident with her. I'm glad to have found her.

Written by L.I. on Nov 07, 2017 after counseling with Penney for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, lgbt, relationship, grief, self esteem, and career

Penney is very caring and thoughtful. I have enjoyed my experience so far with therapy. She’s a great listener and gives not only advice but solutions to problems in life. I would definitely recommend her to anyone who is struggling.

Written by P.A. on Oct 24, 2017 after counseling with Penney for 8 months on issues concerning stress, anxiety, and family

Penney has been instrumental in helping me control my anxiety. Without her guidance, I would still be a mess. So glad that she is my counselor.

Written by T.O. on Oct 23, 2017 after counseling with Penney for 1 month on issues concerning stress, anxiety, family, self esteem, and career

I could say stuff like "Penney is awesome!" and "Penney is an amazing counselor!" Hyperbole is unnecessary, what I will say is that (coming from a prior counseling experience) Penney is the right counselor for me. She's helping me unclutter so much of the self-defeating stuff going on in my head, helping me understand that counseling is a process, a journey requiring patience and and self compassion. It hasn't always been easy, but it's always been illuminating and empowering. Thank you, Penney!

Written by C.H. on Sep 23, 2017 after counseling with Penney for 2 weeks

Penney is really awesome! As a therapist myself, first I know what good therapy is, and secondly, it's not always easy to have a therapist as a client. Penney is a pro. She knows how to connect, stay engaged without being intrusive, support, and help identify areas of change that benefit the client. I highly recommened her.

Written by A.D. on Sep 14, 2017 after counseling with Penney for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, and grief

Penney is great. She makes me feel very comfortable as I was skeptical to getting help, and made this feel like a totally normal process. She is very understanding and knowledge and I am thankful I have Penney to help me out.

Written by G.A. on Aug 29, 2017 after counseling with Penney for 2 weeks on issues concerning stress, anxiety, relationship, and self esteem

Penney seems to always be available and willing to explore different avenues to a problem. She stays on topic and makes everything relate. I enjoy messaging her because she will send something even after the session is over to help you get more depth on the topic.

Written by S.U. on Aug 24, 2017 after counseling with Penney for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship, trauma and abuse, grief, intimacy-related, eating, sleeping, parenting, self esteem, and anger

I have started counseling with Penney, and I didn't know what to expect, but I've found her to be extremely helpful from the very first session. She just gets me and she leaves me feeling motivated and confident knowing that I can make my way through this very complicated world!

Written by S.U. on Jun 20, 2017 after counseling with Penney for 2 weeks

Ms. Penny gets my son. She offers advise that he can easily use. I have seen a difference in a short time.

Written by A.R. on May 10, 2017 after counseling with Penney for 2 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship, intimacy-related, anger, and career

Penney is great. She is very caring and can easily pinpoint work areas and needs fairly quickly. She provides precise and helpful information and gives reading materials for self improvement.