My first therapist, but not my last.


Today is my mom’s birthday.  She is ageless to me so her age matters not.  When a connection with another person runs so deep you don’t actually see that person with your eyes, you see them with your soul… that is the type of bond we have.  So I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about my mom and how she has inspired me to do the work I do.

From a very early age my mom was a calming presence in my life.  She was an introvert before anyone knew what that was.  The result was favorable for me.  We have literally had thousands and thousands of hours in deep conversation — about relationships, emotions, life and even the weather.  Because of her never-ending patience with me, I was able to search for meaning (which I desperately craved) and reasons for why bad things happen to good people, why certain people stayed married and others did not, why some people are so difficult, and why some (like me) always preferred to stay home rather than go to parties.

She was my first therapist but not my last.  She supported me through my journeys in life, school, relationships and work.  She was there when I got married, had kids, and got divorced.  Mom is still here for me now — after her own devastating stroke.  I continue to go to her with my questions, frustrations, accomplishments or just to share.  

Though I tell her all of the time, she doesn’t believe how much her wisdom, kindness and patience made me the strong woman I am today.  Actually, all of the women in my family have stood on the shoulders of women who preceded them.  We are like one big chain link with every generation getting stronger and wiser.  My daughters are next in line and I am doing my best to give them what my mother gave me plus a little extra.

So Mom, thank you so much for being you and allowing me to be me.  You are my rock and I love you so much. 

My mission in life is to help, support, educate and empower women so that they can be their personal best and live a life filled with self-awareness and fulfillment… much like Mom did for me.

We women need to stop trying to do everything by ourselves, so let’s spread the word.  If you know of someone who needs support and guidance in being their best self, please share this newsletter with them; I can’t reach them without you.

Life can be difficult but I will help navigate through the rough spots.  Please don’t wait any longer. Call me today (any time of day) at 703.505.2413.

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

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I just wanted to say THANK YOU. I left your office so inspired today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am forever grateful for Michelle's help.
Thank you, Michelle, for giving me my voice and a new lease on life.
Retired Arlington County Teacher
She helped me focus my attention toward problem-solving issues.
Laura Clancy, Owner
MuffinToppled® Fitness Coaching
Michelle is the best life coach I ever had.
Michelle is an excellent listener and her insights and advice were always right on target.
(mother of a teen girl)
She helped me in so many ways!
Michelle Kelly saved my life. What more can I say?
Stephanie W.

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