Michelle Kelley

Through in-person and phone counseling, workshops and speaking engagements, Michelle Kelley, owner of Girls Stand Strong, teaches girls and women of all ages the skills they need to lead happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives. Michelle Kelley's professional expertise, personal insights and proven results will help you end your emotional and social struggles and build a life filled with self-empowerment, self-confidence and the healthy relationships that you deserve.

1-Minute Read: Healthy & Productive Conflict

1-MINUTE READ- Healthy & productive conflictBeing able to navigate relationship conflict is essential to happiness and success in life.

Conflict often indicates a struggle or a state of opposition. Because many girls and women are uncomfortable with disagreement and seek to “people please”, they perceive conflict as a negative. Of course, conflict can be uncomfortable and even ugly at times but it doesn’t have to be… if you understand how to have healthy and productive conflict.

It’s a simple recipe:

Say how you feel.

Ask for what you need/want.

Remember to check your emotions at the door (if possible) and remain calm.

Here is an example: “I am feeling left out by my friends and I would like to spend more time with them. I’m afraid I might lose them.”

No one can argue with how you feel. It is always okay to ask for something (in my book).

You might have to spend some time understanding your emotions and motivations beforehand so you can communicate what you want/need clearly.

Let’s teach ourselves and our daughters how to have healthy and productive conflict. It’s a great beginning to label conflict this way and let others know this IS a possibility.

 


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

1-Minute Read: Why Girls Have More Anxiety Than Boys

1-Minute Read- Why girls have more anxiety than boysConsider this as one reason why girls have more anxiety than boys… girls use social media in different (and more harmful) ways than boys.

Girls tend to post more pictures of themselves (usually looking cute). Boys tend to post more pictures of themselves doing something (or achieving something). If a girl does not get many “likes” for a photo of herself, she is likely to dwell and internalize the meaning (i.e. no one thinks she is pretty). If a boy does not get many “likes” for a picture of him receiving a medal/award, it doesn’t matter so much because he already got his recognition.

Girls tend to seek more external validation for their self-worth and physical appearance. Boys seem to have more internal validation. As a girl reaches adolescence she is likely to be less happy with her body. The opposite is true for boys.

When girls turn to social media for validation, their self-esteem is at risk.

Fragile self-esteem, an excessive need for external validation, and too much screen-time equal more anxiety for girls.

This is something to be aware of as you raise your daughter in this very challenging time in history. I have not finished raising my daughters (do we ever?) so I am on this road with you. Let’s support each other by keeping the conversation alive.

Here’s to raising strong, resilient daughters.

 


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

1-Minute Read: Girls and Quiet Leadership

1-Minute Read - Girls and Quiet LeadershipNot all leaders are loud or bossy. Not all girls are loud or bossy. Many parents want to encourage their daughters to be leaders, but many girls shy away from this title – and for good reason. Girls have different personalities and some are shy and quiet and that’s okay.

Girls need to realize that leaders can be quiet, soft-spoken, introverted and thoughtful (as well as loud and bossy). Famous introverts include Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Mark Zuckerberg. I love Rosa Parks’ version of leadership. What she did was say NO! How powerful.

Tips to help girls embrace their own brand of leadership:

• Avoid “excessive” praise of girls who are well-behaved. I want girls to know that it is not the ultimate goal to NEVER get in trouble or to hold themselves up to impossible standards of “always being good”.

• Teach girls that all questions are good (though this may be contrary to how she feels in school) especially in middle school or if she has ever been made fun of for asking a question.

• Encourage girls to have a voice in their friendships. Can your daughter tell her friends what she wants to do when playing or does she let others decide?

• Teach girls the difference between speaking up (which you want her to do) versus talking back (which implies disrespect).

My goal is to help girls embrace their personality type, especially if they are quiet and introverted. They can be leaders – starting in their friendship circles and families.

Here’s to raising strong, confident and resilient girls!

 


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

1-Minute Read: Becoming Emotionally Self-Sufficient Will Increase Your Happiness

1-Minute Read- Becoming Emotionally Self-SufficientMany women are experiencing relationship problems because others (partner, friend, child) are not meeting their “unmet” needs – are you one of them?  

We are all needy in some areas of our lives. It’s okay and it’s normal.

However, some of us can get really out of balance and be “too needy” or “too independent”. I have been both. Since I was very young it was a goal of mine to become emotionally self-sufficient. I wanted to understand my emotions, my moods and my relationships. I wanted to be able to take care of myself emotionally. I never assumed this was someone else’s job.

Just as it is your job to take care of your physical well-being, it is also your job to take care of your emotional well-being. Culturally, this is not the message that many of us women received. Of course, we know that it is our job to take care of others (sometimes to our detriment) but what we were not told was that we must take care of ourselves!!

Becoming emotionally self-sufficient will make your relationships better.  It will also increase your happiness.  

Being emotionally self-sufficient means you know when to lean on others, when to ask for help, and when to go within for answers and guidance. It is a delicate balance. What a wonderful gift to give yourself and your children who (as always) are watching you closely.

Go ahead, look inside. Some of what you will see is scary, some is ugly, but most of it is REALLY GOOD.  

In my blessed profession I have the privilege of assisting others on their journey. Let me assist you, too.


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

1-Minute Read: Don’t let your emotions runs your life

1-Minute Read-don't let your emotions run your lifeLife gives you plenty of reasons to get mad, sad, irritated and frustrated. These feelings are all okay.

Sometimes, however, it may feel as though your emotions are taking over. If your emotions are feeling overwhelming to you, causing trouble in your relationships or interfering with work or school, then you may need some help in understanding your emotions, identifying triggers and learning tools to manage them.

Tips to Manage Strong Emotions:

• Stay calm and mindful
• Develop healthy outlets (emotional and physical)
• Get support
• Stay connected to your support system

If your child(ren) also struggle with strong emotions, then you definitely want to make sure you can be a positive role model.

It’s a sign of strength to own your emotions and admit to being human.


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

1-Minute Read: Narcissists will drain the life out of you

1-Minute Read- NarcissistsA narcissist often presents as super confident, but what lies behind the mask is a fragile self-esteem.  Narcissists have to be right and cannot handle criticism.   And lastly, they don’t care about you (though they claim to) and they will drain the life out of you.

Does this sound like someone you know? 

Other common characteristics of a narcissistic personality disordered (NPD) individual:

Grandiose sense of self-importance

Sense of entitlement

Requires excessive admiration

My way or the highway attitude

Easily rages (particularly in interpersonal relationships)

Lacks empathy

Many of my clients are in relationships with a NPD partner, parent, boss, friend or family member.  Some didn’t realize it.  Maybe you didn’t either.

What’s important to know is that relationships don’t have to be this way; this isn’t “normal”.

Relationships are difficult enough but throw into the mix a narcissistic personality and what you are left with is self-doubt, confusion, drama and a lot of emotional pain.  A narcissist never asks the question “Why is my relationship so difficult”?  That is because they know the answer:  It is because of you.  They never take responsibility and they are master manipulators.

This is a serious situation!  If you or someone you love could be in a relationship with a NPD individual, then please reach out for help.  A lot of outside validation and support will be needed to heal.  I speak from experience, I have been there!


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

1-Minute Read: Bad behavior – Don’t accept it!

1-Minute Read- Bad behavior - Don't accept it!As a general rule I am sure we all agree on this, but you would be surprised how many women allow others to treat them poorly. This includes spouses, children, co-workers and friends.

My experience in working with women is that many have conflict avoidance. I get it. It’s not easy speaking up to some people, and standing your ground is no walk in the park.

If you do not already know the saying “We teach people how to treat us” then go ahead a commit it to memory. It’s true. Every time you allow someone to be rude to you (whether intentional or not), you are sending them a green light for more. In my opinion it not only hurts you but it hurts them to be rude to you. So you are not doing the other person a favor by allowing their rude behavior to continue.

Children watch closely as to how you treat others and allow others to treat you. Your children will have experiences dealing with difficult personalities and they will need a good role model.

If this is not a strength of yours, it’s okay. You can learn to be assertive (self-confident). It feels really good (after you get past the fear). You will need a good coach/counselor and a lot of practice. Your future self and your children will thank you (or at least I like to think my kids will).

The simple message here is DO NOT ALLOW OTHERS TO TREAT YOU POORLY. You matter. Maybe you can’t change another person but you can ask for change in how they behave toward you. You can let your voice be heard. You can stand up for yourself. This is a great start!


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

1-Minute Read: A path to healthy self-esteem and happiness

1-Minute Read- Want a better path to healthy self-esteem and happinessWant to know a better path to healthy self-esteem and happiness? Try some self-compassion. In other words, cut yourself some slack!

In my work with girls and women, I have found self-compassion to be an area where women are lacking. We women can be so hard on ourselves; this isn’t good for our health (emotional or physical).

So why are you so hard on yourself? Is it actually helping you feel better or to be a better person (mom, daughter, wife, sister)?  My guess is that it is not.  No need to keep doing something that is not working, right?

I remember when I was younger and my mom noticed that I was being very hard on myself. She suggested I view and talk to myself as if I were talking to a child in a compassionate manner. I did this and it worked! As a matter of fact, it has been something I have kept up for most of my life.

The world would be a kinder place if we could all embrace a little more compassion for ourselves and others. Remember, it’s a journey!

I’m here to help.


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

1-Minute Read: Ever have a difficult relationship?

1-Minute Read- ever have a difficult relationshipHave you ever had a friendship that left you feeling confused, hurt or angry? It’s not only our children who struggle with difficult friendships. Adults can struggle with friendships just as much as our kids. We all have them!

Here are some questions I frequently hear:

How do I tell my friend that he/she has hurt my feelings?

How do I end a friendship? Is this mean?

How do I get over a hurtful experience within a friendship?

These are great questions. Things to consider when seeking solutions are your own patterns (people pleaser, peace maker) and your ability to deal with uncomfortable feelings.

Knowing those answers will also help us be a role model for our children on how to handle difficult friendships. At times we need to know how to speak our mind.  At times we need to know how to set boundaries. At times we need to be able to end a toxic relationship.

It is very important to get clarity on all of our relationships so that we can feel empowered in them. Remember that whenever one friendship ends it opens the door for other relationships to enter. Change is not a negative.


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

1-Minute Read: How to Deal with Strong Emotions

Myth Emotions are for girls 2Why aren’t we teaching our children how to understand their emotions? Maybe it’s because we don’t understand ours? Maybe it’s because we have been taught to ignore or deny what we are feeling. Feelings don’t lie. Our feelings are never wrong.

Three steps to dealing with strong emotions:

1. Feel your feelings. The problem is we have so little tolerance for uncomfortable feelings. Stop trying to escape them. Sit with them. They are a part of you. Feelings are not facts. They will pass but they will also come back to you.

2. Share your feelings. As social beings we are meant to share, especially our feelings. Share with a trusted person. It can bring you a sense of relief or a sense of calm. Sharing can help you to realize you are not alone and it can help you to find the answers you desperately seek.

3. Re-frame the situation. Give an emotion or event a different interpretation. Shakespeare says “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. How you sort and file events will affect how you feel about them.

Emotions make our lives rich.  Embrace them.  Understand them.

Parent Tip:  Help your children to sit with their uncomfortable feelings. Show them how to do it.  Talk about feelings.  Share them.  Seek guidance.  Read books.  Emotional intelligence is critical to your child’s future personal and professional success


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email michelle@girlsstandstrong.com.

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Testimonials

I just wanted to say THANK YOU. I left your office so inspired today.
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AnnaMay
To say Michelle changed our lives would not be an exaggeration. She was very empathetic and non-judgmental... She didn't make our daughter feel badly... She didn't make my husband and myself feel like incompetent parents.
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Linda
I definitely owe my newfound confidence to Michelle. Without her, I don’t know how I would’ve been able to come out of my horrible situation as such a better version of myself.
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Grace
People don't understand Michelle doesn’t just offer advice… which they seem to be afraid of hearing. I convey the message that the decisions you make are ultimately your own but Michelle will help you find clarity and sort through emotions.
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Chris
We felt comfortable knowing that Michelle would be the kind of counselor that would help our daughter see the good in herself, but also question some of her choices and actions.
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Patricia
You have brought back the communication ability that I thought that I lost. You helped her understand what we were feeling and she is such a better person for seeing you.
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Maggie
Michelle, you are so right about [my daughter] and how she thrives off of feelings of accomplishment. All seems to be good now. She amazes me every day with the way she is learning to handle tough situations.
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Cynthia
With Michelle’s guidance, I was able to accomplish in approximately 8 months what I hadn’t been able to over the past 15 years.
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Elizabeth
I am forever grateful for Michelle's help.
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Anne
Thank you, Michelle, for giving me my voice and a new lease on life.
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Nancy
Retired Arlington County Teacher
She helped me focus my attention toward problem-solving issues.
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Laura Clancy, Owner
MuffinToppled® Fitness Coaching
Michelle is the best life coach I ever had.
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Marina
Michelle is an excellent listener and her insights and advice were always right on target.
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Ann
(mother of a teen girl)
She helped me in so many ways!
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Kelly
Michelle Kelly saved my life. What more can I say?
...
Stephanie W.

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