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“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”
M.K. Clinton (author, The Returns

Hello! I'm Penny


I have been a counselor for almost 30 years and have seen lives change. The people I meet with often come in broken, devastated, hurt, depressed, anxious and confused about where they are in life. Our work together, is to help bring about real, lasting change, based on truth and focused in hope.

My heartfelt motivation, is that as we connect, you will experience the reality that change is possible and hope can be found in almost every situation. I look forward to meeting you and becoming a wonderful, productive part of your journey in healing, changing and growing in a new life direction.


My practice has three parts to it:  Counseling, Pet Grief Support and Coaching.  The uniqueness and difference in focus of each approach, is explained below.

  • Counseling - The focus is on your mental health, healing and growth, since life presents us with many complicated challenges. Counseling will first identify what issues you are dealing with and then a therapeutic plan will be agreed upon, designed to guide your work in therapy and optimize your best solution focused outcome.  Areas that Counseling would generally focus on include anxiety, depression, grief**, substance abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, marital and/or family problems

  • Tele-Therapy - I have recently started working with clients via an online platforms called Thera-Link.  I have clients who because of illness, distance of last minute inability to come to the office can benefit from the use of technology.  This can be a good option if you will be going away for vacation or business so therapy can continue.  It is also a wonderful way to reach out to me in crisis.​

  • Coaching - The Focus is on your Talents and Character Strengths, and how to leverage them towards defined goals and challenges. The "diagnosis"/assessment is on what is right with you and how you can find practical steps to achieving specific goals.  ​Areas that Coaching would generally address include life changes, such as job or career, parenting strategies, relationship growth, positive health goals and decision-making.

  • **Pet Grief Support: Walking with someone facing the devastation of preparing to/saying "goodbye" to a beloved pet, is also a service I value providing.

The Secret Of Change Is To Focus All Of Your Energy

 Not On Fighting The Old, But On Building The New,


Penny van der Westhuizen, M.Ed, LPC-S

Licensed Professional Counselor* and Coach
*TX License: #9177


(972) 454-0016




Comerica Bank Building
811 S. Central Expressway, 
Suite 201A (Executive Suites)
Richardson, TX 



I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas and also hold the LPC-S certification which enables me to supervise graduate students for their licensure.

I have taught alcohol classes for the State of Texas for over 10 years and been involved in running juvenile offender programs/classes for Richardson Municipal Courts.

I am certified in the VIA Character Strengths Profile and various other Positive Forensic Profile Tests and processes. I am an expert in Profile Evidence Contamination. This enables me to profile possible DNA Markers, that if addressed appropriately, will result in sustained High Performance and not limit or undermine Talent DNA.​

  • I was an aerobics instructor for many years, and enjoyed playing field hockey, tennis and swimming.  

  • I am very involved in my church as the Director of Women's Ministries.  

  • My approach to therapy is both as a licensed mental health counselor and for those who seek a Biblically based approach.    

  • I am a passionate advocate for animal welfare and rescuing dogs from abusive situations. I currently enjoy two such beloved rescues, as part of my family.


Six simple words with profound implications.

You cannot have progress without change, and you cannot change without experiencing some type of discomfort sooner or later. Remember: "Discomfort" is not necessarily a bad thing. Much in the same way our muscles are sore after an intense workout, when we make the deliberate decision to begin working outside of our “comfort zone” in order to break free from unproductive or unhealthy routines and behaviors, the "discomfort" we feel lets us know we are growing, moving, improving, building, changing and progressing.

People primarily seek therapy because something in their life is not working, and they want to find a solution, an answer, to make things right again. In other words, people come to counseling to change what is no longer effective.

My role in this process of change is not to tell you what modifications to make, or how to live your life. Rather, my part in this journey is to work with you, collaboratively, to accomplish three things:
1) help you identify what changes you want in your life, 
2) guide you in recognizing (and perhaps rediscovering) the strengths you possess to make these changes happen, and finally, 
3) support you in finding a plan to put these changes into action.

"With each step, I become stronger." I firmly believe that with enough time, support, guidance, challenging of erroneous beliefs and perseverance, each person is capable of drawing upon their unique God-given design, in using individual strengths to experience growth, change and progress in life.

If you are ready to begin this process of changing that which is no longer working in your life, please call or email me for an individual, couples or family therapy consultation today.


Doctor of Philosophy Program

Masters Degree

Bachelor of Science



I continued with my doctoral work after graduating with my masters degree.  I completed all of my Ph.D. work with the exception of a short dissertation.  


I began my graduate studies in counseling after coming to Texas from Virginia.  I graduated with highest honors and went directly into my doctoral program.


I came to the USA to Liberty University after having lived in South Africa for a few years.  I continued my undergraduate studies at Liberty University, the largest non-profit and Christian university in the USA.  


I started my education at the University of South Africa.  I was living and working in Johannesburg at the time. 


I work with a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues. The services I provide span from working with parents/caregivers to address adolescent behavioral concerns, to therapy for depression and grief counseling, to couples counseling and beyond. In a comfortable and supportive atmosphere, I offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each of my clients individual needs to help attain the personal growth they’re striving for.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Adolescent Behavior Management

Positive Psychology

Couples and Family Counseling

Grief Counseling - People & Pets

Tele-Therapy and Coaching

Parenting Support and Coaching

PTSD - Victims of Violent Crime

Therapy for Anxiety & Depression

Substance Abuse Issues

Work and Career issues

Client Responsibilities


Rates: My appointments are $150 for a 50 minute session.                                                                                                


Reduced Fee/Sliding Scale: Reduced fee services are available on a limited basis.

Insurance: I do accept Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance.  If you are with another insurance provider, I can provide you with the necessary documentation to submit & seek reimbursement .


Payment: Cash, check and all major credit cards accepted for payment. 

Cancellation Policy: If you do not show up for your scheduled therapy appointment, and you have not notified me at least 24 hours in advance, you will be required to pay the full cost of the session. 

Schedule Online: Request a therapy appointment online here. 

Contact: Questions? Please contact me for further information.



The law protects the relationship between a client and a psychotherapist, and information cannot be disclosed without written permission.

Exceptions include:  

  • Suspected child abuse or dependent adult or elder abuse, for which I am required by law to report this to the appropriate authorities immediately.                                                                                

  • If a client is threatening serious bodily harm to another person/s, I must notify the police and inform the intended victim.                                                                                            

  • If a client intends to harm himself or herself, I will make every effort to enlist their cooperation in ensuring their safety. If they do not cooperate, I will take further measures without their permission that are provided to me by law in order to ensure their safety.

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