Family, parenting, children, couples, and individual specialties:

Cynthia Penwell, LCSWI view therapy as a way to release, energize, and give direction to your motivation to change.  Together we can find opportunities for developing new coping strategies and growth.  A therapeutic relationship is collaborative – I’m here to work on your behalf – together we can build a framework based on acceptance, respect, and understanding. I believe you already have many skills and will emphasize possibilities, strengths, resources, and specific tools to enhance what you already know and fill in the gaps.


My practice is based on the belief that you have the capacity and the strength to solve the problems; perhaps there is an acute situation or emotional issue blocking or impeding your over-all coping ability – people have potential for growth and adaptation throughout life.

I provide individual psychotherapy, parent and lifestyle coaching, as well as family and couples counseling to address a variety of issues.  I have extensive training in a variety of treatment modalities and client concerns.  My primary area of specialization is families and children impacted by trauma; I use a generalist methodology, but tend toward more trauma-informed and cognitive behavioral therapy modalities.eclectic techniques: primarily using cognitive-behavioral framework with problem-solving and solution -focused treatment; play therapy and trauma informed work with children.

Some of my areas of specialty include:

  • Children with behavioral issues
  • Families struggling with children’s issues; step-parenting and blending families challenges
  • Parenting – creating a strong hierarchy, how to parent a child with special needs, the importance of structure and consistency
  • Attachment issues
  • Grief and Loss
  • Relationship issues – such as communication problems, “after the affair,” or deciding “should I stay or should I go”
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning issues
  • GLBT families
  • Trauma and recovery
  • Life-in-transition concerns (life after graduating, career changes, life after divorce, etc.)
  • Stress management
  • Anger Management

You need both support and the right tools for change. I start by honoring the strengths you already have, while helping you to develop lost or hidden aspects of your self. My approach emphasizes the important connections between physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being – including the value of a good sense of humor. I will collaborate with you to develop individualized goals and a treatment plan that’s mindful of the ways issues such as gender, sexual orientation, and culture create the context of your life.

Insurance. I am in-network with Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Medicare, but have some limitations in availability for insurance clients. I work on a sliding scale basis with office rates varying $90-$140 depending upon your ability to pay given your financial situation. Coaching an therapy sessions are 50-55 minutes, held weekly at my office.

As I understand the importance of finding the right counselor to suit your personality and your needs- I offer a 15 min phone consultation free of charge. I would love the opportunity to work with you to move your LIFE FORWARD… and hope to hear from you soon.

Expertise and Evidence-Based Practices
Specific training and expertise in areas such as: trauma, adoption and attachment issues, play therapy, crisis intervention, DBT, trauma-informed care, major mental illness. Additional skills include:

  • Teaching parents and helping them implement problem-solving skills in stressful situations
  • Providing individual therapy to children to help identify and implement coping skills in stressful situations and process past traumas
  • Providing family therapy to support the creation of rules, structure, behavioral plans, safety planning, and to process past issues
  • Supporting children and families in accessing available services and resources in the community to obtain self sufficiency

“Always appreciate the little things, because in the end you realize they were the big things.” ~ Robert Brault

Cynthia S. Penwell, LCSW,  Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Clinical Supervisor


Professional Credentials:

I have a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from UT Austin.  As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (Texas License # 54834), I provide parent and lifestyle coaching, as well as family and individual therapy as part of my counseling practice.  I am also an Adjunct Professor at University of Texas in Austin, teaching graduate and undergraduate classes for the Clinical Social Work Program.  In addition, to my teaching, I am a frequent guest lecturer and speaker specializing in trauma, adolescent and behavioral issues, attachment, and social justice.  I enjoy working in a group modality and provide a variety of  groups for Seton Behavioral Health and Bastrop Family Crisis Center, including parenting, DBT, and anger management, among others. I have worked as a parent coach and advocate with children and families struggling with mental illness and working towards reunification for over 15 yrs…I believe in giving back, and have a long history of volunteerism for organizations such as Community Resource Coordination Group/Children’s Partnership, Feed My People, Central Health Community Collaboration. I am also an active member of the Board for PLANCTX, a non-profit serving adults with mental illness in person-and family centered ways; an issue which is near and dear to my heart.

Professional Memberships:

  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Austin Group Psychotherapy Society
  • Austin Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology
  • Trauma-Informed Collaborative

I wasn’t born in Austin, but I got here as quickly as I could.  Having lived here for almost 25 years, I enjoy the people, music, and “keep Austin weird” culture.  When not working or teaching, I enjoy time with my children and family, running with my dog, golfing, hiking, reading, playing guitar, and laughing with friends.

I bring enthusiasm, passion, empathy, practicality, and humor to all of my relationships.  As a therapist, teacher, and ally – I strive to create relationships that are collaborative, empowering and fun.  Therapy doesn’t have to be painful, it can be relaxing, rewarding, and fun… Let me show you how.

| (512) 922-5865 | cynthia@lifeforward.com | 8700 Manchaca Suite 605, Austin, Texas 78748 |