Michele Cole, Ph.D., LCSW


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 a consulting team of therapists to help meet all the needs of every client who walks in the door. The team has over 50+ years of experience collectively. The mission is to work to help the family system heal and function at its best as the team works collaboratively.

Dr. Cole earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy with a concentration in Clinical Social Work from The Catholic University of America in 2020. Dr. Cole’s area of study and dissertation was on children and young adults from divorced families with the outcome of a published study “Exploring Factors of Young Adults from Divorced Families”, which can be found below. Further, Dr. Cole is an approved Clinical Supervisor in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker; and earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from The Catholic University of America. In addition, Dr. Cole holds a Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor of Science from George Mason University – where she graduated cum laude. Dr. Cole’s graduate and undergraduate programs gave her the opportunity to work with adolescents and adults in a variety of clinical settings including those who were under court supervision, who attended a private special needs school (in Alexandria, Virginia), and who were in group therapy for drug rehabilitation. While the Clinical Supervisor at Sasha Bruce, an inner-city non-profit in Washington, D.C., Dr. Cole supervised case managers and conducted individual and family therapy as well as social skills groups with court ordered at-risk youth. The training was provided during this time to Dr, Cole by Marianne Walters in Family Systems Theory (Structural Family Systems) at The Center for Family Therapy. Marianne Walter’s is well known as having worked beside Salvatore Minuchin. In addition, Dr. Cole was a School Guidance Counselor at a parochial school in Alexandria, VA. There, she created a program where she conducted class guidance lessons, individual therapy, small problem centered group therapy, and social skills groups with children.

Dr. Cole has been an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University, The Catholic University of America, and Ramapo College of New Jersey. In addition, she is a board approved supervisor for Clinical Social Work residents in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Dr. Cole has conducted individual and group psychotherapy in private practice with children, adolescents, adults and couples. She has also taught social skills individually and in groups to children and adolescents. Dr. Cole has conducted school observations to help parents and school administrators best accommodate children and adolescents with special needs. Further, she has reviewed and advocated to school appointed Individual Education Plan (IEP) teams where she has made successful recommendations for an IEP to be put into place for clients. In addition, in a private school setting she has written letters for accommodations for Student Assistance Plans (SEP), as well as for the SAT, ACT and LSAT accommodations. Dr. Cole is available for ADHD screening, as well as Self Concept, Anxiety, Depression, Anger and Disruptive Behavior. She enjoys working with children, adolescents, adults, parents, couples, and families. Dr. Cole has significant experience in working with issues relating to anxiety, separation/divorce issues, trauma, depression, eating disorders, social skills, addictions, grief, anger management, compulsive behaviors (OCD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Conduct Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Tourette’s Syndrome.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her grown children, friends and walking her Frenchie’s’ (Frank and Ella). She loves playing tennis, power walking, Pilates, working in her yard or spending time at the beach.

``Let's Talk Divorce`` Radio Interview

Click Here For The Interview


  • United States Mental Health Professionals
  • Mental Health and Private Practice Marketing and Management Group
  • Couples Therapists and Marriage Counselors Group
  • Clinical Social Work Association
  • The Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work
  • National Association of Social Workers

Board Member

  • The Center for Alexandria’s Children

Additional Training

  • March 2013: New Insights into College Mental Health: Challenges of Working with Transitional Age Youth and Young Adults
  • February 2013: Body-Centered Inquiry: Mindfulness, Focusing, and the power of Questions by Jonathan Foust
  • February 2013: Developing a Psychic Skin: Implications of Infant Observation Research for Clinical Care
  • September 2012: Ethical Risks, Makeing Decisions, and Taking Action by Gerald P. Koocher, Ph.D. and Patricia Keith-Speigel, Ph.D
  • September 2008: SASH National Conference in Boston, MA
  • Conference Spring 2007: Traumatic Stress by Bessel A. Van der Kolk
  • Summer 2007: Play Therapy and Beyond: Treatment Techniques and Strategies with Children and Adolescents.
  • Spring 2004 & 2006: Group-0-Rama, A How To for Different Groups, Annandale, VA
  • 2004-2005: Clinical Supervision by Marianne Walters at The Family Practice Center, Washington, DC; Individual and Family Therapy.
  • Spring 2005: Psychotherapy Networker National Conference, Washington, DC
  • Fall 2004: Clinical Supervision and the Nuts and Bolts to Success, Washington, DC
  • Spring 2004: Psychotherapy Networker National Conference, Washington, DC