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: Confidence!

Authenticity_breeds_confidenceI have always been curious about confidence. What is it? How do you get it? Why do some people have more of it than others?

As a woman and as a counselor I have been on my own journey to understand the mystery of confidence. In the February issue of the Warrenton Lifestyle you can find my article on “The Mystery of Confidence” (click link here to read it).

Hundreds of girls and women have shared with me their struggles and their pain. I often hear these words: “I don’t feel worthy”, “I don’t like myself/my body”, “I don’t have the confidence to say/do that”. It takes courage to be so vulnerable – even with a therapist. I appreciate the trust many have given me as I help them to understand themselves and their relationships.

Confidence is built with the winning combination of right thinking and action.

You can learn how to think in an empowered way.

You can learn how to act in an empowered way.

You can learn to feel and be more confident.

Confidence is a requirement for healthy relationships.

Above all, we must be authentic. Authenticity breeds confidence.

Learn what is weakening or has destroyed your confidence and most importantly, learn how to build or restore your confidence. I would love to help you.


 

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: Talk About What Hurts!

1-Minute Read- talk about what hurtsWe all have struggled emotionally.  I have.  You have.  Some of us talk about it and others do not.

If I had not talked about my divorce when I was going through it, I would have suffered a lot more.  If I had tried to deal with my parenting struggles alone, I would have felt isolated and confused.

My talking and reaching out to supportive people (family, friends and a great therapist) made all the difference.  Like many others, I had to overcome the embarrassment of admitting that I was struggling (and therefore sad, confused, hurt, and anxious).  

My wish is that you learn how to embrace your issues (your problems) too, because we all have them.

I see so many women and girls who have kept so much inside of them that they are about to explode (with anger, anxiety) or implode (through depression).  Keeping your emotions trapped is very emotionally damaging.  

Parent tip:  Demonstrate for your children that you have difficult and unpleasant emotions.  By demonstrate I mean let them see you sad, mad, or hurt.  These emotions are real.  You are real.  The trick here is to be able to talk about your emotions and show your children how to work through and mange those unpleasant feelings.  There is a difference between productive talking and letting loose (without control).  This gives your children permission to own their emotions without feeling broken or bad.

It’s time to start talking about what is hurting us!  

 


 

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: It’s Going to be a GREAT Year!

1-Minute Read- It's Going to be a GREAT Year!Why not think it’s going to be a great year?  Do you believe in the power of positive thinking?  I do.

Positive thinking is a mental attitude that focuses on the bright side.  A growing number of people believe in the effects of positive thinking.  Yet, it will take more than just believing in it.  It will take daily practice which includes visualization and affirmations.

Affirmations are statements made with confidence about perceived truths.  They have the ability to program your mind.  If you want to attract something positive into your life, then start with a positive thought, affirmation and visualization.  I have used this concept in my own life with much success.

I am very excited about this coming year.  I am looking forward to personal changes in my life and growing professionally.  If you want to know exactly what I am talking about you will need to look at my vision board which helps me to stay focused on the positive and get excited about the future!

By the way, vision boards are great activities to do with children as they tend to be more visual anyway.  Let’s help our children stay focused on positivity.  It starts with us.

What are you anticipating in 2016?  Happy Positive Thinking!

 


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c
Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

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: Break the Cycle of Holiday Stress-Eating!

1-Minute Read- Break the cycle of holiday stress-eatingIf you find yourself stress-eating during the holidays (or anytime), please know how very common this is for women in particular. Maybe it’s our way of self-nurturing or maybe it’s just how we handle stress.

I have noticed with many of my clients who stress-eat that they are missing one very important thing in their life. They are missing COMPASSION — for themselves. Self-compassion heals! Being angry at yourself or hating yourself is never productive, but an alarming number of females engage in this behavior frequently and regularly.

What can you do differently?

Holiday stress-eating isn’t likely to take over when you stay mindful of your stress, your eating and your patterns. Try pushing the pause button next time you find yourself stress-eating. Ask yourself:

• Why I am doing this?
• How will I feel about this later?

Would you like to replace stress-eating with a healthier and happier habit? That’s right, it’s just a habit and habits can be replaced.

Stay mindful! Do something nice for YOU! You deserve it! Carve out a small piece of time – just for you.

P.S. It’s great modeling for your kids.

 


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c
Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

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: Holiday Stress Getting to You?

HOLIDAY STRESSSometimes I think that the holiday stress is now in my DNA.  What about you?  After years of having stressful holiday moments, is it possible that I anticipate the stress without checking into the reality of my holiday situation?  Probably! Just the thoughts of all those gifts I think I should buy and all of those things on my “to do” list I think I should do are what really stresses me out.

Think about what stresses you out.  Actually spend some time writing down where your stress comes from (out-of-town guests, cooking, cleaning, finances, kids, etc.)  As is often the case, our stress swims around in our heads creating a mild (or not so mild) type of anxiety.  This frequently triggers a chain reaction of stress = anxiety = snapping = arguing = fighting.  You know the routine.

My suggestion is to become super mindful about this process.  Talking to a calm friend or counselor can help you to identify stressors, triggers and patterns in behavior and thought – all good information. Change follows awareness and it starts with our thoughts.  

If you would like some help in breaking old patterns of thoughts and behavior, I would love to hear from you. This is a great process to acknowledge with your children.  It’s a gift that never stops giving.

Wishing you peaceful moments during this holiday season!


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c
Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

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: The Confidence Gap

One-Minute Read-The Confidence GapResearch shows that females are less confident than males.  In my book, confidence is as important as competence.

I was not confident as a child or a young adult.  I felt held back, frustrated, stuck, confused and hopeless at times.  I learned how to be confident through a winning combination of right-thinking and action.

It also helped having an awesome therapist who helped me navigate through difficult mental terrain and many challenging transition periods (such as school, marriage, parenting, divorce, business ownership). I continue to work with an awesome therapist because I’m certain there is more to come in my life where I will want and need her guidance.

How confident are you?

Why do you think you have shaky confidence (in certain areas)?

Do you know how to build your self-confidence?

I want to empower females to catch up to the guys in the area of CONFIDENCE.  We can do it!  

Need some support and guidance?  I would be happy to help you on your confidence journey.


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c
Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

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: What your daughter needs most… is what you need most

1minute readGirls and women need more confidence.

  • With confidence a girl will be able to speak up for herself in school and with friends/boyfriends.
  • With confidence a woman will be able to ask for a raise or set appropriate boundaries in her relationships.

We’re not born with confidence.  We create it.

It comes from a tiny spark of confidence which we all have; it just needs fuel to grow. 

Confidence is often situation-specific.  However, if you have it in one area of your life, you can share it with other areas — such as from dancing to relationships.

“Relationship Confidence” is an essential part of your happiness.  My passion is helping women and girls build their confidence — especially their relationship confidence.

Interested in rating (and improving) your “Relationship Confidence”? We should talk.

 

 


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c

Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

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: It’s easy to fall in love but…

1Minute-Read-Its-easy-toRemember when you were planning your wedding, your future, and your entire life with the love of your life?  You were excited for your future and just knew you would live happily ever after!!!  But then… life happened. You got busy. You had kids.  He lost his job. You had a health crisis.  Your parents moved in.  The list could go on and on.

Unfortunately, many believe that if you really love each other then everything will just work out — easily.  Not so. It’s easy to fall in love but it’s not so easy to stay in love.

How do you talk to someone who you feel annoyed with because they keep leaving the toilet seat up or they never remember to wash the dishes? Or they talk to the TV more than they talk to you?  You used to want sex, but now…?  The way you used to discuss issues may have worked years ago, but not any longer.  What’s happened?

These are common scenarios in relationships.  Talking to someone when you are mad, hurt, angry, or confused is not easy.  You are likely to make the situation worse because you will be leading with your emotions.

It takes knowing what to say, when to say it and how to say it.  It takes knowing what to do when you don’t feel heard or see no real change.

It also takes really listening to your partner’s words without getting caught up in their attitude, defensiveness or lack of words.

Here is a tip:  When you are really upset, DON’T TALK.  It is ALWAYS okay to nicely state that you are not in a good place to talk right now.

Of course, you will need to set a time to discuss the situation later. Do not let it linger.  In the meantime, you will need to clear your head.  Talking to someone with an unbiased opinion can help you see the situation for what it really is.

Need to talk?  Please let me know.  I would love to coach you through your relationship struggles and communication speed bumps.

 


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c
Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

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: Have You Been Hurt in a Relationship?

recite-Hurt in a relationshipI have spent many years researching and trying to understand confusing, painful and difficult relationships.  I have had my share.  We all have.  I have challenging family relationships.  I have been divorced.  And yes, I have been hurt.

We will always have challenging people and relationships in our life.  Personalities and life experiences play a big part in all of our relationships.

Never underestimate the value of understanding what is really going on in a relationship… as well as your part.  Put some time into it.  This will assist you in moving on with your life — with or without the challenging person.  Sometimes a solution is as simple as learning how to create healthy boundaries.

There is no shortcut in dealing with a painful relationship.  It hurts.  You will cry.  You will be angry and scream “This is unfair!”  But in the end you will reclaim your peace of mind.  

Peace of mind is what I help women with.

If you or someone you know would like to help in reclaiming peace of mind after (or during) a hurtful relationship, please let me know.

We were created to feel empowered in all of our relationships.


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c
Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

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: Secrecy and Silence Keep Shame Alive

1 minute read-secrecy and silence keep shameShame is like arsenic to women.  It literally can destroy us from the inside out.  We can feel shame so deeply… and we are so good at hiding it. Secrecy and silence keep shame alive.

By now you know that I am an advocate of talking about the feelings we try so hard to hide.  Of course, we should be talking to someone we trust with our personal feelings.  Finding our safe place/safe person is essential to healing.  This is why women crave support groups and forums where we can share safely. This is where healing occurs.

I struggle with feelings of shame like many women.  Somewhere I got the message that I was supposed to be different, better (whatever that means).  I try to identify it, talk about it and release shame where I can.  Shame cannot exist with mindfulness and empathy.

Where does your shame come from?  

Mine started when I was in high school.  I felt shamed by the fact that I was not good at sports.  I felt shamed by my weight.  I felt shamed by my complexion.  I felt shamed because I could not talk confidently in front of others.  I felt shamed that I failed out of college my first year.  I felt shamed that I gained weight in college.  I felt shamed that I did not have an awesome career/job in my twenties.  I felt shamed of my age.  I felt shamed by my divorce.  I think that’s enough.  You get the picture.

You might think by this list that I am a complete mess.  Well, I am not.  I am like many women, maybe even you.  I embrace my faults and my insecurities.  I reach out for help.  Most importantly, I EMPOWER GIRLS AND WOMEN to know themselves, to be mindful and to create their path to move forward.

Sometimes being honest is refreshing.  Sometimes is scary.  Today it’s both.


 

Michelle Kelley 10.14 c
Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

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.
...
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.
...
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.
...
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.
...
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.
...
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!
...
Kelly
Michelle Kelly saved my life. What more can I say?
...
Stephanie W.

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