Moving Forward, PLC

Moving Forward, PLC was created by our founder Michele Cole, Ph.D., LCSW in 2007. Each therapist that consults for Moving Forward, PLC has been thoroughly vetted and holds the highest levels of integrity and education and training. She feels confident that any therapist you choose to work with at Moving Forward, PLC will give you what you need to move forward in your life. Our combined work here at Moving Forward, PLC seeks to help all people who engage in the therapeutic process to make changes in their lives that are significant and will impact their future and how they engage with others and help them further their ability to make directive choices in their lives and the lives of others.


Moving Forward, PLC is approved as an out of network provider for Tricare to support our military families. Although Moving Forward PLC does not participate with any insurances, many clients submit for reimbursement. Please call or email us for more information, or to discuss setting up a virtual or in-person appointment.

Michele Cole, Ph.D., LCSW


Past Adjunct Professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey teaching Human Behavior in the Social Environment – Theory; Past Adjunct Professor in the MSW program at The Catholic University of America teaching Human Development and Psychopathology in addition to Clinical Social Work with Adults and (C-co-taught) Trauma Informed Care. Past Adjunct Professor in the BSW program at George Mason University teaching Human Behavior in The Social Environment I and Methods of Intervention in Social Work.

Dr. Cole is the founder of Moving Forward, PLC, a private practice in Old Town, Alexandria in 2007. Moving Forward, PLC has ten other therapists and two office coordinators working with her to help meet all the needs of clients who walk in the door. She has been an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University, The Catholic University of America, and Ramapo College of New Jersey. Dr. Cole has her Ph.D. in philosophy with a distinction in clinical social work. Her area of study and dissertation was done on children and young adults from divorced families; her dissertation is linked here. Dr. Cole has conducted individual, group, and social skills psychotherapy in private practice with children, adolescents, adults, and couples. Dr. Cole has conducted school observations to help parents and school administrators best accommodate children and adolescents with special needs. She has reviewed and advocated to school appointed Individual Education Plan (IEP) teams. Dr. Cole has significant experience in working with issues relating to anxiety, separation/divorce issues, trauma, depression, social skills, addictions, grief, anger management, compulsive behaviors (OCD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Conduct Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (including Asperger’s Syndrome), and Tourette’s Syndrome.

“Let’s Talk Divorce” Radio Interview

Michele’s feature in Northern Virginia Magazine is live. Follow the link to learn more about what it’s really like to be recruited as a college athlete in NoVA.

How We Can Help

Individual Therapy

Individual Therapy

At Moving Forward we have therapists that can work individually with your child, adolescent or you in adult therapy.

Couples Therapy

Couples Therapy

Our therapists’ work from several modes for clinical theory orientation in couples counseling. When working with couples a solution focused model...

Family Therapy

Family Therapy

Michele Cole, Ph.D, LCSW has a special interest in working with families and was clinically trained by Marianne Walters.

Group Therapy

Group Therapy

All the therapists in our practice are trained in group therapy and our practice focuses on children and adolescent groups working on social...

Play Therapy

Play Therapy

As therapists working with young children we are able to use play therapy to assist children as young as 2 years old to work through individual...



I first started attending Michele’s practice Moving Forward PLC in elementary school, and returned later as a middle schooler after experiencing recurring instances of anxiety and intrusive thoughts. To say these sessions made an impact on me and who I am today would be an understatement. I recognize the period in my life in which I frequented Michele’s to be one of the most transformative I have experienced, and I believe I can owe much of my progression in terms of my mental health to my meetings with her. As a result of my time spent with Moving Forward PLC, I can confidently say that I was able to overcome and control what I perceived at the time to be life-consuming problems. Michele’s guidance provided me with a sense of grounding, one that I am still so thankful for and thoughtful of today. From sessions, I not only learned how to calm myself down and control my emotions, but gained a sense of confidence in myself as well as a deep respect for everything that Michele helped me accomplish. It is for this reason and the impact that she has had on me that I now plan on studying psychology in college with the hope that I can help others achieve what she has helped me achieve.

Michele’s work with my stepdaughter has truly been transformational for our family. I was lucky enough to find Michele through testimonials on-line and was impressed with her experience working with blended families. My 11-year old stepdaughter was so wounded from her parent’s divorce and resistant to therapy that in the beginning, my husband literally had to carry her screaming to appointments. Many therapists would not have persevered with such a difficult case, but Michele eventually found a way to connect with her. Michele was key to my stepdaughter successfully managing through ADHD-related academic challenges in Junior High School and working through a traumatic bullying incident in High School. Michele provided a safe, nonjudgmental space for her to process the myriad of challenges she was facing in her tumultuous teenage years. After 5 years of working with Michele she is now thriving and has blossomed into a resilient, self-aware and well-adjusted young adult on her way to college. I have been so impressed with Michele’s work with my stepdaughter that I have recommended her to members of my family and friends and they have also been very pleased with the positive impact she has made to their lives. Signed M.W.

Our 7-year-old daughter started seeing Michele to help her work through her feelings as she adjusted to our divorce. The sessions were very helpful, especially with a child who is not naturally inclined to want to talk about what bothers her. She both benefited from and enjoyed her time with Michele, and is now happy and well-adjusted, with a strong relationship with both of her parents. Our time with Michele was well-spent, and we look back on it as one of the best decisions we made during that very difficult family transition.

Michele Cole was recommended by a close friend when our teen daughter was grappling with peers at school making bad choices, her own self-doubts, and feeling unhappy. Michele worked as our full partner and our daughter’s trusted advisor to work through her feelings and behaviors and develop self-guided resiliency and inner strength without medication. We are immensely grateful for Michele’s impact on our daughter. Michele assisted our daughter to build on her strengths, to develop habits and self-discipline for taking good care of herself and to cultivate a mindset that naturally flows to healthy choices. Our daughter led her own college application process, has been accepted to 4 universities and counting before February of her senior year, and most importantly she is happy, grounded, and balanced in her view of herself. In our daughter’s own words, “Michele Cole's warm yet purposefully demanding guidance helped me see the world in a way I did not know was possible. When my last session arose it was bitter sweet: Michele had become a part of our family.”

My son is a very different person today from the child we first brought to see Michele in her practice. We could not be more grateful for the way she helped him to understand and cope with his Tourette Syndrome and all the behaviors that come with that diagnosis. She listened to him talk about what he was going through, and what he was feeling, and gave him the coping tools he needed to succeed. He is a young teenager now and has started high school. He has excelled in school and is using the tools that Michele gave him to manage all the new stresses that come with this phase of his life.

Our daughter’s anxiety was terrible, for her and for us. I never thought I would send my 3 1/2 year old daughter to a therapist, but all our attempts to decrease J's rages and anger had failed. The first time J met Michele, J let me leave the room and she played with Michele for 45 minutes. I knew at that moment we had picked the right person to help our daughter. J is now a flourishing 7 year old. We have not seen Michele for years, but her lessons on identifying emotions and working with anxiety and frustration still help all of us. I am eternally grateful for Michele’s gentle demeanor and her incredible work with J.

Learned that sometimes you can’t fix it even when you’re a fixer – and that it’s okay to accept that fact and move forward. Perspective. Michele helped me accept and adapt to change. She helped me keep my character intact through divorce – gave me a fresh way of looking at the situation and solutions I didn’t see. Counseling is a smart way to take care of yourself through a divorce. Not only will your friends and family quickly tire of hearing the nitty gritty, they also aren’t qualified to help you get through it. I weathered my divorce smarter and better with Michelle and am so grateful for her experienced approach, insights and support. Gave me invaluable insights into myself and my dilemma. Offered me another way to look at things and solutions I didn’t see. She was that second set of trained eyes we all need when taking big steps in unchartered territory.

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