Penny Gifford,LPC

Penny Gifford,LPC

Telehealth Available
License Status: I'm a licensed professional.
Primary Credential: LPC - BBH-LCPC-LIC-4727
Billing and Insurance:
I am an in-network provider for:
  • Aetna
  • Allegiance Life and Health
  • Alliance PPO
  • Allied Insurance Group
  • Cenpatico
  • Cigna
  • Coventry
  • Coventry Health Care
  • GEHA Health Plans
  • GWH-Cigna (formerly Great West Healthcare)
  • Highmark
  • Meritain Health
  • Nippon Life Benefits
  • Optum
  • Optum Health
  • United Behavioral Health
Free Initial Phone Consultation
Weekend Availability
Evening Availability


Bozeman, Montana 59715

My Approach to Helping

Hi, I am Penny!

Your recovery begins here. I seek to help adolescents and adults in individual sessions to integrate new and healthy skills to gain self-empowerment and improve your life. Whether you struggle with substance abuse, mental health issues, or change of life issues the goal is to provide a supportive therapeutic environment to empower you to grow and make effective changes in your life. Creating a collaborative, non-judgmental and positive atmosphere is a crucial piece to your healing process and change.

I am a licensed profession Counselor in Colorado, Montana with 27 years of professional work experience. I have experience in helping clients with stress and anxiety, coping with addictions, motivation, self esteem, and confidence, & depression. I work with couples to repair trust, improve communication, and strengthen their emotional intimacy with each other. It takes courage to seek out a more fulfilling and happier life and to take the first steps towards a change. I am here to support & empower you in that journey.

I employ treatment through integrative counseling by drawing on behavioral therapies, psychodynamic therapy & humanistic therapies to help you learn, grow and heal by guiding you through a directive and solution focused process.

I have extensive experience with the following conditions: anger management, anxiety & stress, co-dependency, co-occurring disorders, family discord, eating disorders, grief & loss, life purpose & transition, mood disorders, substance use disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, post- traumatic stress disorders.

As a therapist, my communication style is characterized by a balance of empathy, active listening, and professional expertise. I prioritize creating a safe and non-judgmental space for my clients, where they feel heard and understood. Here are some key elements of my communication style:

Empathy: I strive to understand my clients' emotions and perspectives from their point of view. I use empathetic statements to convey my understanding and validate their feelings, which helps foster trust and a strong therapeutic alliance.

Active Listening: I pay close attention to what my clients say and do, as well as what they may not say. I ask clarifying questions to ensure I fully grasp their thoughts and feelings. Active listening allows me to provide targeted feedback and insights.

Reflective Communication: I often use reflective techniques to help clients gain insight into their experiences. By restating and reflecting on what they've shared, I encourage them to explore their thoughts and feelings more deeply.

Open-Ended Questions: I use open-ended questions to promote self-reflection and encourage clients to express themselves freely. These questions help clients explore their emotions, beliefs, and motivations.

Psychoeducation: I provide clients with information and tools to help them better understand their issues and develop coping strategies. This education is provided in a clear and accessible manner, tailored to the client's needs.

Non-Directive Approach: While I offer guidance and suggestions, I respect the autonomy and agency of my clients. I empower them to make decisions and choices that align with their values and goals.

Goal-Oriented Communication: I work collaboratively with my clients to identify and prioritize their therapeutic goals. I communicate progress, setbacks, and potential strategies to achieve those goals.

Culturally Competent Communication: I am sensitive to cultural and diversity issues, respecting each client's unique background and values. I strive to adapt my communication style to be culturally competent and inclusive.

Feedback and Encouragement: I provide feedback to help clients gain insight and promote growth. I also offer encouragement and support, helping clients build confidence and resilience.

Non-Verbal Communication: I pay attention to non-verbal cues, such as body language and tone of voice, to gain a deeper understanding of my clients' emotional states and feelings.

In summary, my communication style as a therapist is client-centered and empathetic, emphasizing active listening, reflection, and collaboration. I aim to create a therapeutic environment that is conducive to personal growth and positive change for my clients, while respecting their autonomy and individuality.

When approaching goal setting with clients, it's important to follow a structured and client-centered approach to ensure that their goals are specific, achievable, and aligned with their values and desires. Here are the steps I generally follow:

Establish a Relationship: I start by building a strong and trusting relationship with the client. This includes active listening, empathy, and understanding their needs, motivations, and values. I ensure that I create a safe and non-judgmental space for open communication.

Assess Current Situation: Together with the client, I assess their current situation and identify areas where they want to make improvements. I discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and gain a clear understanding of their starting point.

Set SMART Goals: I use the SMART criteria to set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This ensures that the goals are clear and actionable. I encourage clients to be as specific as possible about what they want to achieve.

Prioritize Goals: I help the clients prioritize their goals. Not all goals can be tackled simultaneously, so I work with them to determine which goals are most important and which ones should be addressed first.

Break Down Goals: Together the client and I divide larger, complex goals into smaller, more manageable steps. This makes the goals less daunting and creates a clear path to success. We discuss the potential obstacles and challenges that may arise.

Create an Action Plan: I collaborate with the clients to create a detailed action plan. This plan outlines the specific steps they need to take to achieve their goals, along with deadlines and milestones. It's important to make the plan realistic and adaptable.

Monitor Progress: With the client, I regularly review and monitor progress towards the established goals. Clients should track their achievements and identify any setbacks. This allows for adjustments and keeps them motivated.

Provide Support: I am a source of support and encouragement for the clients. I offer guidance, accountability, and assistance when needed. I listen to their concerns and celebrate their successes.

Adapt and Refine: As the clients progress, I am flexible in adapting their goals or action plans if necessary. Sometimes, circumstances change, and goals may need to be modified.

Reflect and Evaluate: Periodically, the client and I reflect on the client's journey and evaluate their progress. We discuss what worked well, what could be improved, and what they've learned from the experience.

Celebrate Achievements: I recognize and celebrate the achievement of milestones and goals. This reinforces the client's motivation and provides a sense of accomplishment.

Set New Goals: Once a goal has been achieved, I work with the client to set new goals or adjust existing ones to continue their personal or professional development.

The goal-setting process is collaborative and client-driven. It's important to respect the client's autonomy and choices throughout the process, and make adjustments as necessary to support their evolving needs and aspirations.

The first therapy session is primarily an opportunity for you (the client) and I to get to know each other and determine if it's a good fit. It's a safe space for you to share your concerns and begin the process of working toward your goals. Feel free to ask questions and express your preferences during this session to ensure you're comfortable and aligned with my approach. It is important to find someone you are comfortable working with.

Ages I Work With

  • Adults


  • English

Client Concerns I Treat

  • Addictions and Compulsions
  • Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Behaviorism
  • Bipolar
  • Borderline
  • Career Choice
  • Codependency / Dependency
  • Compulsive Spending / Shopping
  • Depression
  • Domestic Violence
  • Drug and Alcohol Addiction
  • Dual Diagnosis
  • Eating and Food Issues
  • Gambling Addiction
  • Grief, Loss, and Bereavement
  • Inattention, Impulsivity, and Hyperactivity (ADHD)
  • Internet Addiction
  • Life Purpose / Meaning / Inner-Guidance
  • Men's Issues
  • Mood Swings / Mood Disturbance
  • Obsessions and Compulsions (OCD)
  • Pre-Marital Counseling
  • Relationships and Marriage
  • Self-Esteem
  • Self-Harm
  • Social Anxiety / Phobia
  • Stress
  • Suicidal Ideation and Behavior
  • Women's Issues
  • Workplace Issues

Types of Therapy

See other therapists in Bozeman, MT.

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