About Us

Moving Forward, PLC was created by our founder Michele Cole, Ph.D, LCSW in 2007. She began her own practice prompted by wanting to find a flexible schedule while raising her daughters. Having gone through a divorce herself; Dr. Cole is very knowledgeable by both training and personal experience what separation and divorce is like. Her area of focus for her dissertation was children and emerging young adults of divorce, and she currently has submitted research and articles in this area for publication. Also, she has been interviewed for radio and you can hear her speak on what she sees as the best way to go about navigating a divorce successfully with children. Dr. Cole has a passion for helping others, and has spent many years working to create a practice with like-minded therapists. Each therapist that consults for Moving Forward, PLC has been thoroughly vetted and holds the highest levels of integrity, education, and training. She feels confident that any therapist you choose to work with at our practice will give you what you need to move forward in your life. Our combined experience of over 50+ years works to help people engage in the therapeutic process to make changes in their lives that are significant and lasting.


Michele Cole, Ph.D., LCSW


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    Dr. Cole is the founder of Moving Forward, PLC, a private practice in Old Town, Alexandria in 2007. Moving Forward, PLC is a private practice that has 6 other therapists and a clinical intern working with her to help meet all the needs of clients who walk in the door.
    Learn more about Michele
Amy Lehman

Amy E.S. Lehman, LPC


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    Amy is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Virginia and the Clinical Team Coordinator at Moving Forward PLC. Amy began her career teaching fourth grade in DC Public Schools. Following several years in the classroom, she received her Master’s Degree in School Counseling from George Washington University. As she pursued licensure, she completed post-graduate work at Catholic University and supervised graduate students in their clinical internships. Amy has over 14 years of experience as a school counselor and 10 years in private practice. Her experience consulting with parents and treating children and adolescents covers a broad range of social and emotional issues. She has worked with issues surrounding ADHD, anger management, learning and organizational challenges, social skills, parenting, family issues, anxiety and depression.
    Amy enjoys working with children, adolescents, adults and families. In February 2010, she co-authored a book in bibliotherapy titled That’s My Story, Too!

Ali Meyer, LCSW


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    Ali Meyer, LCSW, LICSW, LCSW-C, is a licensed clinical social worker who is certified in Virginia, The District of Columbia, and Maryland. She earned her Bachelor Degree in Child Development and Family Studies at Ohio University and her Master of Social Work Degree at Loyola University, Chicago, IL. Ali has been providing individual, and group psychotherapy to children, adolescents, and young adults for the past twenty years in a school that specializes in learning differences. Her previous clinical experience includes working with foster families and people in need of drug and alcohol treatment. Ali is a patient, understanding individual who cares about each client and sets goals to help them live a more comfortable, happier life.

    Ali has worked extensively with children, teens, and young adults struggling with anxiety, depression, ADHD, learning differences, social challenges, divorce, and gender identity. She also has experience helping people manage life transitions, knowing this can be a long and difficult process. The treatment modalities that Ali frequently uses are: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, solution focused therapy, play therapy, and mindfulness. Ali works in a kind and meaningful way to collaboratively find a treatment approach that will help each client and their family.


Elizabeth Welch, MA, NCC


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    Elizabeth is a Licensed Resident in Counseling and Licensed Resident in Marriage and Family Therapy in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Religion from Furman University in Greenville, SC. She earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) from The College of New Jersey in Ewing, NJ. She is currently a Resident and a National Certified Counselor earning hours toward LPC and LMFT licensure.

    Elizabeth has experience in a clinical outpatient setting as well as working in a school setting. She worked as a MFT in New Jersey with adolescents, adults, groups, couples, and families. She developed and implemented a school counseling program at a charter school in Vacaville, California where she was lead counselor for students grades TK-8th. She also developed the suicide prevention plan for the district, and she is well versed in suicide prevention for all ages. Elizabeth is a 20 year military spouse and has experience working with military children, spouses, and families.

    Elizabeth enjoys working with all ages across the lifespan. She has experience working with issues such as anxiety, depression, life transitions, family issues, grief, and issues specific to the military lifestyle and community. Elizabeth uses a variety of treatment approaches to include: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), solution-focused therapy, psychotherapy, family systems therapy and play therapy.


Rachel Jenkins, LCSW


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    Rachel is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Virginia and a Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Provider (CCATP). She earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University in NJ.

    Rachel enjoys working with adolescent and adult clients. She specializes in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and trauma. She also has experience working with individuals going through major life transitions, individuals living with brain injuries, and the military and veteran community.

    Rachel is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT200) and Relax and Renew® certified for Restorative Yoga. She believes in a mind-body approach to wellness, and is passionate about combining psychotherapy and mindfulness techniques to help individuals heal, grow, and achieve their goals.

    Rachel uses a variety of treatment approaches in her clinical practice to include: Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).


Aimee Chase, LPC, MA, NCC


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    Aimee is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)  in the Commonwealth of Virginia and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Sewanee: The University of the South in Sewanee, TN. She earned her dual master’s in Legal & Forensic Psychology and Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University in Arlington, VA. She has experience in working with adolescents, adults, and families in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She has facilitated process, psychoeducation, and task-based groups focused on a variety of topics such as: emotional cartography, radical acceptance, defense mechanisms, communication skills, cognitive distortions, self-compassion, coping skills, grief, healthy boundaries, and many more. Aimee enjoys working with clients of all ages who are coping with anxiety, ADHD, depression, low self-esteem, complex grief, addiction, life transitions, co-dependency, identity and existential issues. Her approach is holistic and person-focused in nature, with influences from attachment theory, existentialism, and cognitive-behavioral theory. She believes it is essential to consider clients’ individual social and cultural contexts, past and present experiences, early attachment relationships, and individual goals as a part of the therapeutic process. Aimee is an empathetic clinician who is passionate about helping her clients achieve their goals by walking alongside them as they explore, heal, and grow.
Katie Bly

Katie Bly, LMSW


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    Katie is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She completed her Bachelor of Social Work degree at Hope College in Michigan and earned her Master of Social Work degree from University of Maryland, Baltimore where she completed field training at Anacostia High School in Washington, DC and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. She is currently a Social Work Resident working towards her independent clinical license under Dr. Michele Cole, LCSW.

    Previously, Katie worked in child welfare and as a civilian for the Army’s Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operation Division. She has experience working with children and adults utilizing an eclectic approach of therapeutic modalities which include play therapy, psychodynamic, existential, narrative, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral techniques. She has training in Child Centered Play Therapy with a Neurorelational Emphasis as well as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Her experience includes work with individuals and families to manage anxiety, depression, trauma, bipolar disorder, behavioral concerns, as well as major life transitions.

    Katie is passionate about working collaboratively with clients to provide a holistic approach to treatment planning. She is dedicated to providing a safe environment for children and adults to process their feelings and work towards their goals.

katie t

Katie Turco, M.S., NCC


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    Katie is a Licensed Resident in Counseling in the Commonwealth of Virginia and a Nationally Certified Counselor. She earned her Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Johns Hopkins University and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Virginia. She is currently a Resident working to earn hours towards LPC licensure. Katie completed her clinical internship in mental health counseling at Moving Forward, where she gained experience leading and co-leading the group therapy sessions and seeing individual clients on a pro-bono basis.

    Previously, Katie has facilitated group therapy for adolescents struggling with issues surrounding body image, interpersonal relationships, family dynamics, and substance use. Throughout her clinical experience, Katie worked with clients of all ages to address difficulties stemming from anxiety, depression, trauma, life transitions, ADHD and much more. She has also attended workshops on providing trauma-informed care. She enjoys working with clients to implement positive coping strategies that allow them to better manage life stressors and increase their sense of self-efficacy.

    Katie has experience using a variety of treatment modalities, including: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), play therapy, solution-focused, and mindfulness based approaches. She believes that a strong therapeutic relationship is essential and, therefore, works alongside all of her clients from a holistic, empathetic, and non-judgemental stance. Katie is dedicated to working collaboratively with clients to help them reach their goals and bring about meaningful change.

Mary Cole Bio Photo

Mary Cole, LMSW


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    Mary is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in Counseling in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She earned her Master of Social Work from the Catholic University of America. Mary earned her Bachelor of Arts in both Psychology and Communications, with a minor in Gender & Womens Studies, from the University of Denver. While attending the University of Denver, she played Division1 lacrosse. Currently, Mary is a Resident and is working to earn hours towards LCSW licensure.

    Mary completed her clinical internship at Creekside Collaborative Therapy in Denver, Colorado. There she gained experience leading and co-leading group therapy sessions as well as seeing individual clients on a pro-bono basis. Mary completed her general practice internship at Catholic Charities Kinship Caregiver Program, where she gained experience in co-leading therapy support group sessions and providing local resources and referrals to grandparents raising their grandchildren.

    Throughout Mary’s clinical experience she has worked with adolescents, emerging young adults and adults struggling with a variety of challenges, such as generalised anxiety, sports anxiety, depression, ADHD, body image, low self-esteem, difficult family dynamics, victims of domestic violence, trauma and PTSD, individuals struggling and/or questioning their gender identity, as well as individuals struggling and/or questioning their sexual identity. Mary has facilitated groups for adults struggling with family dynamics, trauma, anxiety, and difficulties socializing. She has attended workshops on providing trauma informed care, administering Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP), and providing care to the LGBTQ+ community.

    Mary has knowledge of a variety of treatment modalities, in particular her practice includes child centered play therapy, trauma-informed care, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), strengths-based psychotherapy, solution-focused and mindfulness-based approaches. Mary is dedicated to working with clients from a nonjudgmental stance, to help them move forward to something better, bringing about meaningful change towards a happier and healthier life.


Kayla Eding, LMSW


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    Kayla is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in Virginia. She completed her Bachelors of Social Work degree at Hope College in Michigan and earned her Masters of Social Work degree from Western Michigan University. Kayla completed her field training with the Family Outreach Center in Grand Rapids Michigan, where she served as a Trauma-Focused Therapist intern, for adolescents. She is currently a Social Work Resident, working towards her independent clinical license alongside Dr. Michele Cole, LCSW. Previously, Kayla has conducted group therapy for adolescents, helping clients create and develop coping skills for managing their anxiety, as well as forming meaningful and healthy relationships with peers. In addition to this, Kayla engaged in individual therapy with adolescents, aiming to treat and manage concerning behavior related to trauma, anxiety, and depression. She has also attended numerous training sessions on Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT).Kayla enjoys working with adolescent clients, as well as student-athletes of all ages. She specializes in Trauma-Informed, therapeutic interventions, as well as Play Therapy, and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Kayla is passionate about working with clients in a person-centered manner, where they may comfortably develop skills pertaining to self-regulation, coping, and healthy processing, all while doing so in a safe and welcoming therapeutic environment.
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Lisa Layman, LCSW


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    I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker licensed in Virginia. I have worked in the mental health field for over 30 years in a wide variety of community, inpatient, outpatient and private practice settings. I have worked with all ages across the life span from elementary aged children to the geriatric population. My undergraduate degree is from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and my Masters degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. I live in Alexandria, VA, love nature, live with my family and three dogs who make me laugh everyday.
Francis Parra

Francis Parra


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    Francis holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance from George Mason University.  After working in the public accounting industry for over 7 years, she found that her true passion was helping others and giving back to the community. At the peak of the pandemic, she decided to stay home with her fun, loving, and energetic boys — she is thrilled to come back into the workforce where she can utilize her knowledge and skills again.
    Francis was a PTA board member at Stratford Landing Elementary — where she served as the VP of Community Events. She thoroughly enjoyed engaging with the community, leading school events, overseeing the student enrichment program, and forming parent equity groups.
    She is excited to be a part of the Moving Forward team where she has the opportunity to connect with an amazing group of professionals who are making a difference in the lives of so many individuals.