Women’s Therapy & Counseling

Melissa Lester, LCSW

Women’s Therapy & Counseling

Women's Therapy & Counseling for adult women of all ages, shapes, backgrounds, sexual orientations and more.

There's got to be more than 'this'

Maybe you've noticed that the 'go, go, go' and the 'do, do, do' aren't getting you closer to a more peaceful, meaningful life.

Why Therapy For Women Is Different

Being a woman can be synonymous with being 'other focused' and overwhelmed. Let's change that.


Women's Therapy & Counseling

Melissa Lester, LCSW

As a Women’s Therapy & Counseling specialist since 2005, I am deeply committed to helping you achieve your personal and professional goals through the life-changing work of therapy. 

Whether you are new to therapy or ready to embark on a deeper experience than words alone can offer, I look forward to our work together.


Women’s Issues

Emotional Eating

Trauma Resolution

Family of Origin Dynamics

LGBTQ | Coming Out Later in Life

Relationship Conflict

Anxiety, Depression & Stress


Meditation and Mindfulness

EFT Tapping | Acupressure

Hypnosis (Hypnotherapy)

Progressive Counting

Somatic Processing and more

Melissa Lester, LCSW

As a Women’s Therapy & Counseling specialist since 2005, I am deeply committed to helping you achieve your personal and professional goals through the life-changing work of therapy. 

Whether you are new to therapy or ready to embark on a ‘deeper than words’ experience, I look forward to working with you.


Trauma Therapy for Women

Emotional and Binge Eating

Chronic Pain & Chronic Illness

Family of Origin Dynamics

LGBTQ | Coming Out Later in Life

Relationship Conflict

Anxiety, Depression & Stress


Meditation and Mindfulness

EFT Tapping | Acupressure

Hypnosis (Hypnotherapy)

Progressive Counting

Somatic Processing and more

Where to


You’ve likely already begun asking yourself some life-changing questions.  And whether you have some of the answers (or don’t even know what the questions are), reaching out to a qualified therapist you resonate with is a great first step.

To get started, you are welcome to schedule a free phone consultation or send me an email or text.  From there we’ll connect, answer all your questions and determine whether we might  be a good fit.  


Women’s Therapy and Counseling in GA
Monday through Thursday – Telehealth
Aetna, Medicare Part B, Out of Network & Private Pay

Therapy for Women in Sandy Springs, GA
Saturdays & Sundays – In Person
Aetna, Medicare Part B, Out of Network & Private Pay

Clients Have Said...

"I've been in therapy before, but it's never been anything like this."
Former client
"One session with you is like 3 sessions with my last therapist."
Former client
"I cannot believe how much I've changed and how much better I feel."
Current client
"I want to do the deeper work. I've been in therapy before and just talking didn't help me."
Former client

women's Coming Out Later In Life Group

Women's Therapy Group
Therapy for Women
Women's Therapy and Counseling
Therapy for Women
Women's Therapy & Counseling
Women's Therapy

Time to (re) discover self?


Therapy can certainly work differently for different women.  So, regardless of what your practitioner calls themselves, the important takeaways are all the same.  First, the foundation of a ‘therapeutic relationship’ is at the core of all the work in ‘therapy’ or ‘counseling.’  This means that the relationship between you and your practitioner is primary, and should be considered very carefully.  This is arguably the most healing aspect of the work – the relationship.  A solid, safe, connected, trusting and respectful relationship is essential.

How therapy works will depend on your personal goals, your practitioner’s approach and skill set, which approaches resonate best with you, how invested you are in your own process and many other factors.  In general, therapy works by facilitating the processing of cognitive, emotional, psychological, spiritual and/or physical sources of distress.  Ideally, this results in increased understanding, awareness, relief and global changes that improve your quality of life.

Therapy is a collaborative process of self-discovery.  It is possible for one person to experience great benefit from many different kinds of therapy, so trust yourself and start where it feels right to start.  As we learn and grow through our process, we may find that our needs, interests and goals in therapy also shift, and along with this, our desire for a different kind of therapy and/or therapist may also emerge.  As we grow and change, it is only natural that we may ‘outgrow’ certain relationships, and the therapy relationship is no different.

The research of the past 30 years tells us that the most effective therapies and counseling approaches now involve more than ‘just talk.’  Though talking can have real therapeutic benefit, talking can also sometimes make us feel worse, while offering no long-term relief or resolution.  Ideally, the whole person is treated in therapy – the body and the Nervous System are engaged along with the mind, the emotional landscape – all aspects of an individual’s lived experience.  This combination of talk therapy and body-based, somatic approaches offers the most effective, most efficient and longest term relief.

Ideally, your therapist will have an extensive set of skills and areas of expertise to draw on, ensuring that your therapy experience is truly your own best opportunity to grow and heal.  If you find yourself no longer resonating with either your therapist or the experience you are having in therapy, I encourage you to have this conversation with your therapist.  This is an opportunity to better understand what your needs are, and whether you and your therapist can be doing a better job of meeting these.  For me personally, offering women’s therapy and counseling is a calling, a whole-hearted purpose for being and my meaning in being on this planet.

If you do decide that it’s time to find a new therapist, or take a break from therapy completely, a good therapist will be 100% supportive of your intention to honor what you truly need.  

The goal of most therapy is to provide you with the greatest relief possible in the shortest amount of time.  You decide how often you’d like to attend, for how long, when you’d like a break and if or when you’d like to return.

If a new therapy relationship feels like it has the potential to be a good fit, I recommend that you give yourself a chance to see what is possible for you.  Sometimes, anxiety, frustration, fear, anger or confusion can become part of not knowing whether you are working with the right therapist.  As much as possible, I encourage you to speak to your therapist about any discomfort, concerns or questions you have and to process together what you are experiencing.  A good therapist will happily discuss these issues with you, and there is likely something to learn for each of you.  The more transparent you can be with your therapist, the more growth opportunity there is likely to be for you.

Depending on an individual’s tolerance for self-reflection and the skill of the therapist, therapy can feel more or less safe.  But this doesn’t mean that one’s tolerance for the process of therapy cannot be increased over time.  It is, however, important to process this with your therapist and explore whether this relationship continues to be the right fit for you personally.

In addition, your therapist should have certain skill sets and therapy modalities that offer you short-term as well as long-term relief.  Ask questions about therapy approaches, modalities or tools that a therapist uses, and how long each generally takes to provide relief.  Ask about specific training and years of experience.  Ask any questions that will be helpful for you to determine whether you are making the progress you’d like to.  You should feel clear and satisfied with the information you receive.

You always get to decide how many sessions, how often, and for how long.  You get to decide when to take a break and when or if to return.  Discussing these issues with your therapist can present a fantastic opportunity for growth and healing as well.  A good therapist will happily discuss all of these issues with you and more.

At the end of each session we have together, I always ask if you’d like to reschedule and if yes, what timeframe would you like to look at?  No assumptions, no pressure – and no wrong answers.  You are welcome to schedule, not schedule, continue, take a break, and trust that you will always be welcomed back when the time is right – for you.  

I do!  I have 20 years of experience specializing in women’s therapy and counseling in the Metro Atlanta area. My practice grew rather organically into this specialty shortly after I began my private practice in 2005.  I quickly discovered that working with women was my real calling.  Relating with women often feels like a deeply rich, nuanced and endlessly fascinating and emotionally rich experience.  I am deeply committed to helping women achieve greater meaning in their lives through the life-changing work of therapy.  My areas of expertise related to women’s issues include:

  • Women’s life transitions
  • Self-esteem and confidence issues
  • Relationship and interpersonal challenges
  • Healing from trauma or abuse
  • Emotional eating, disordered eating and binge eating
  • Work/life balance challenges
  • Finding empowerment and voice
  • Sexuality and sexual orientation
  • Grief, loss, pain, illness and aging concerns

I incorporate a variety of body-based, Somatic methods into my therapy practice including Meditation and Mindfulness, EFT Tapping and Acupressure, Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy, Somatic processing, Progressive Counting and more.  Offering women’s therapy and counseling is all about helping women reconnect with themselves, resolve sources of ambivalence, conflict and distress, and create an authentic, fulfilling path forward.  I look forward to supporting you in your therapy work.

Note:  While many ‘women’s issues’ are truly unique to women, many are also universal human issues that are experienced by women in unique ways.

As a therapist specializing in women’s issues for almost 20 years, I have extensive experience helping women navigate life transitions of all shapes and sizes.  Life, it turns out, is all about transitions.  Even when we don’t notice them, they’re happening at every level and in every aspect of our experience.  Frequently, by the time we take note of these transitions, there can be a lot of ‘catching up’ with reality that we need to process.

Transitions are happening all the time – identify transitions, family transitions, friend and relationship transitions, career transitions, health transitions, and much more.  Aging alone presents it’s own unique set of innumerable and unending losses.  Death of loved ones (pets and people) are often ‘transitions’ that bring us to our knees and require us to learn how to ‘be’ all over again.  Our own death, of course, is implied in all the transitions, losses and deaths that come before. 

My role as your therapist is to offer you a safe, supportive space, and to collaborate with you in processing your life transitions in a way that offers you long-term relief and your own path forward. 

Whether you’re going through a divorce, leaving a long-term job, building your business, contemplating having children, caring for aging parents, exploring your sexual identity, or  coping with chronic pain it is possible to experience relief.

Along the way, we have many tools available to us including Meditation and Mindfulness, Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy, EFT Tapping and Acupressure, Progressive Counting and other Somatic, body-based approaches.  These are skills you will also be able to use on your own, to help you ease your pain, regulate your emotions and settle your Nervous System – while we are working together and after.

As a therapist specializing in women’s issues for many years, I devote my practice to helping women address challenges specific to their gender, gender identity, gender roles and the intersectionality of gender as part of simply being human.

Living as a woman has always been fraught and complex and today’s challenges are both ancient and new all at the same time.  Whether sexism, genderism and misogyny are at the forefront of your struggles or running silently in your background, a feminist theory perspective can be a valuable underpinning in therapy.

Women continue to face sexism, genderism, and misogyny in old and new ways alike.  And while various cultures may ‘practice’ and institutionalize sexism, genderism and misogyny in many different ways, these realities are experienced by all women everywhere.  While women’s gender once prevented them from voting and owning property, according to the US Department of Labor, today women still earn less than men in every category of education.  And the greatest disparities are found, inexplicably, at higher levels of education.  The wage gap for older women is greater than for younger women, and this disparity is even greater for older Black and Hispanic women.

Meanwhile, socially, some fascinating changes have taken place across the dating and marriage landscape.  And none of these weigh in women’s favor either.  Straight men are no longer socially ‘bound’ to marry straight women in order to enjoy companionship.  The result is greater options for men, and less marriage.  This leads to less financial security for straight women, where women earn less than their male counterparts in the first place.  Social and family roles and responsibilities continue to weigh more heavily on straight women than on their straight male partners.

For women who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer in any way, shape or form, the pay gap, is, obviously, as above – or worse.  According to the HRC, LGBTQ people in general earn less than non-LGBTQ people in general.  Trans people earn even less.

If these issues resonate with you, our work together can incorporate this larger social context and what caring for your mental, emotional and physical health can look like.

Whether you’re struggling with sexism, gender discrimination, racism, homophobia, age discrimination, work-life balance, grief and loss, illness, compulsive caretaking of others, body image issues or emotional eating – let’s get you some relief.

I incorporate a strengths-based, trauma resolution approach that validates your experience, processes your distress, cultivates clarity and enables you to move forward – more deeply connected to your Self.

As your therapist, I bring my professional training and practice of almost 20 years (as well as my own personal lived experiences) that allow me to relate to the profound challenges gender can have on our mental health, physical health and overall wellbeing.

The external stressors women face, whether subtle or overt, accumulate over time.  Continuous exposure to gender bias, discrimination, stereotyping, exclusion, harassment, and institutional barriers erodes our sense of agency and sense of safety.  This takes a toll on our emotional wellbeing.  For more on this – please see the question above.

Additionally, as women we’ve often internalized problematic societal messaging that can undermine our self-worth and resiliency.  Rebuilding a strong sense of Self in the face of these layered challenges requires patience, courage, support and skill.

My role is to validate your experiences as a woman navigating systemic oppression, while also helping to foster the self-awareness, coping skills, boundary-setting, and empowerment needed to protect your mental health.  In addition, resolving long-standing sources of chronic distress and patterns that no longer serve you can play a key role in the life-changing work of therapy.

Working from a psychodynamic framework and a feminist perspective, I am trained in multiple somatic trauma resolution methods.

Together we will process your experiences in ways that will eliminate the original sources of your distress, while cultivating self-awareness and practicing new and effective coping skills.

As a therapist specializing in women’s issues, a significant portion of my practice involves supporting women struggling with fragile self-esteem and a lack of clarity about ‘Self.’  In fact, some of the most rewarding work I do is facilitating the growth process as a women gets to know her ‘Self,’ and practices trusting this ‘Self’ above all else.  Clients who ‘need’ therapy less and less because they have a solid ‘Self’ are my barometer that reminds me – therapy works!

Sadly, low self-worth is incredibly common and affects people, including women, across all demographics.  For women and other oppressed groups, there is the cumulative effect of external oppression and internal self-doubt, self-loathing, self-denegration.  

In my almost 20 years of offering therapy and counseling to women, I have found it deeply rewarding to know that many have moved on from a place of harsh internal criticism, doubt, and diminished self-trust to a place of peace, clarity and conviction.

My therapeutic approach is based on cultivating a meaningful, authentic connection.  From a psychodynamic approach and feminist perspective, I incorporate Meditation and Mindfulness, Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy, EFT Tapping and Acupressure, Progressive Counting and other Somatic therapies – to bring about lasting relief and change.

Supporting women in healing from trauma and abuse is an integral part of my therapy practice. The aftermath of traumatic events and unhealthy relationships can be profoundly destabilizing to one’s sense of Self.

Using my expertise in trauma therapy and women’s psychology, I create a safe, gentle space for you to process painful memories and experiences. Our goal is to process your experiences in such a way that your distress is resolved – once and for all.

I am a trauma trained therapist and incorporate multiple somatic, body-based therapy techniques that resolve trauma – once and for all.

I am privileged to travel alongside women embarking on the life-changing work of therapy.  Therapy is work, but it is always worth it.  My own personal therapy work, professional therapy training and experience with clients tells me so.

Supporting women in discovering their true voice is integral to my approach as a therapist specializing in women’s issues.

Reconnecting with your authentic Self and claiming your right to take up space as a woman in this world requires gentleness, courage and trust.  In a judgment-free atmosphere that encourages you to explore your identity apart from limiting roles, expectations or trauma, we can help you build awareness around what empowerment means for you, specifically.

Using techniques like mindfulness, clinical hypnosis and Emotional Freedom Techniques / Tapping, Progressive Counting and more, it is possible to reprocess recurring sources and distress and ‘stuckness’ and remove them from your path once and for all.  As your connection to Self grows stronger and clearer, this organically leads to healthier boundary setting, skill building, and altered relationship dynamics in general.

Improving your own relationship health – with Self and others – allows others to interact with you in healthier ways as well.  In this way, we role model healthier dynamics, offer those around us an opportunity to grow and change, and ultimately, we attract healthier ‘others’ into relationships with us.

As a therapist who has focused my practice on women’s wellbeing for over 15 years, I understand intimately the monumental challenge of striving for a healthy work/life balance. This struggle depletes us and erodes the very core of who we are and who we can be.  It erodes our sense of Self, our trust in Self and our dreams for Self.  Many women have never been asked who they are or what they truly wish their lives to be – until they enter therapy.

Together, we will work to help you define your goals, identify your values, your priorities, your boundaries and your hopes.  For some women, this is a radical step in a world and culture that has never asked the questions.  For other women, this is a brave moment of pivoting from what they used to want to what they want now.

Over time, you may re-evaluate priorities, establish empowered boundaries, increase your self-compassion, and discover you prefer simplicity to overwhelm.  This might include learning mindfulness techniques, working through guilt and perfectionism, strengthening communication skills, or making difficult but liberating choices to let go of non-essentials.

I incorporate a strengths-based approach to help you define your personal version of success that allows you to show up in all areas of life without sacrificing your health and wellbeing. Our work together focuses on processing trauma, alleviating overwhelm and deepening your connection to Self.

You deserve to thrive, not just survive. I’m committed to accompanying you on the journey toward sustainable balance and peace.

As a therapist focused exclusively on women’s wellness for many years, I understand and am trained to help you resolve the emotional toll various female health issues can take. From reproductive concerns to menstrual disorders, PCOS, IC, cancer care, early menopause, pain conditions, autoimmune illness and more – these issues profoundly impact our self-image, relationships, identity and overall well being.

My role is to provide a compassionate, safe atmosphere for you to process the complicated feelings that arise amid health challenges unique to womanhood – and ‘personhood.’ Whether you are struggling to adjust to a new normal, grieving a loss of function, coping with body changes, or dealing with anxiety about the future, we will forge your path to meaning and purpose and peace.

Redefining resilience on your own terms, identifying healthy coping mechanisms that work for you, improving your communication and advocacy with medical providers, and experiencing true emotional growth and change is possible. I’m committed to nurturing your growth, healing, and hope through integrated care.

As a therapist focused on women’s wellbeing, I’m thrilled to be able to share and teach you different self-care tools that can help you regulate distress, resolve long-standing issues, increase mindfulness and ease anxiety. True self-care is deeper and more effective than quick ‘treats’ that may provide a momentary ‘boost’ and then leave you right back where you started.  True self-care involves true change – internally and externally – in our relationship with our Self and in our relationships with the rest of the world.

As your therapist, my role is to collaborate in your unique process of healing and wholeness, offering you the very best tools along the way.  If I have any agenda at all, it is to help you connect deeply and lastingly with your unique Self so that your inner knowing continues to guide your path to your personal purpose and your peace.  Therapy is about long-term distress resolution, not simply ‘coping.’

When we are deeply and clearly connected with Self, it becomes possible to deeply and clearly connect with Others and with Life.

With over 15 years specializing in women’s issues, I have extensive experience supporting mothers struggling to balance the demands of parenting, working, family of origin, partner and romantic relationships and more.

I welcome women of all sexual orientations, in ethical, consensual polyamorous and unconventional relationships, and in non-mainstream professions.

Together, we will evaluate your unique priorities, grieve unrealized expectations and losses, gain clarity on your individual definition of a meaningful life, establish peaceful boundaries, and fundamentally shift the way you move through all spheres of your life.  It is possible.

From a psychodynamic therapy foundation, we can incorporate many different approaches, including those that fundamentally change your Nervous System and your reactivity and distress.  Some of these include Somatic body work, EFT Tapping, Hypnosis, Progressive Counting, Meditation and Mindfulness and more.  These approaches work – and will become part of your personal toolkit during and after therapy.

Like many women, I also personally experience the guilt, exhaustion and ‘never good enough’ feelings in many areas of my life.  To resist this ‘more, more, more’ culture often feels like a radical act of defiance.  Working together, we can alleviate your overwhelm.  I encourage women to define daily success on their own regenerative terms. You deserve to feel peaceful and purposeful.  We all do.

Often, my clients report feeling lighter, more grounded, more clear, and more connected rather quickly.  The depth and length of our work together is completely up to you.  Immediate relief and long-term family of origin issues can all be achieved with good therapy.  Our only agenda in therapy is your agenda.

We will meet at any interval that works for you, and for as long as it works for you.  We will use tools and approaches that work best for you, and we will start wherever it feels right to start for you.

Many women experience confusion and anxiety as they begin to question and explore their sexual orientation and identity at different stages of life.  Questioning core aspects of Self can be an emotionally turbulent process.  It can be terrifying and exciting all at the same time. Coming out later in life as ‘not-so-straight,’ curious, questioning, queer, bisexual, asexual, lesbian, gay, or any sexual orientation other than ‘straight’ raises a myriad of issues for adult women. With long-established lives, identities, relationships and careers, we often fear the changes that will come.  Will others accept me?  What about my marriage or boyfriend?  Will I be rejected, abandoned, alone?  How can I be sure?  What about my kids?  My friends?  My career?  My place of worship?  What about my own religious beliefs?  And so much more. In my support group specifically for women coming out later in life, my priority is holding a compassionate, safe space for exploring, sharing, connection and community.  Many women find significant relief in simply being part of a community where they can make connections as they explore their own process and their own path. My commitment is ensuring you are seen, heard, supported, validated and equipped with tools to gain clarity as you explore without pressure, fear of rejection, or sacrifice to your mental health.  Support is available as you walk this sensitive path of transformation.

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