About Kelly McDaniel, LCMHC

Hi, I’m Kelly.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’d like to introduce myself. To start, this website is my professional “self”. While I bring my whole self to the work that I do, I will focus on the evolution of my practice in this section.

I consider myself a psychotherapist who happened to write two books. My friends and colleagues who are “true” writers seem to enjoy the process of writing more than I do. The solitary nature of it, the creative juiciness of if, the thrill of finding the right word(s). Writing is hard, even if it’s a true calling. As much as I love the power of language, I prefer clinical work where much of what is “said” requires no words.

My first book, Ready to Heal: Helping Women Heal from Addictive Relationships, responded to a need I was seeing early on in my practice ~ specifically, women showing up with addictive relational patterns. Most of the literature available to help them was geared toward men. There was no mention of the toxic culture that creates “love/sex addiction”. In other words, there was very little mention of patriarchy in the literature.

Ready to Heal includes 4 cultural beliefs that I believe women inherit in a misogynistic system where our bodies are objectified and targeted; where women grow up knowing sexual fear.

Additionally, as I listened to my clients’ stories, I heard a similar, haunting theme…a primitive, tender longing for “mom”. So, without a lot of science behind me, I named “Mother Hunger” as an attachment injury that creates a climate for love to become addictive. This was 2008 before we were talking much about Attachment Theory or ACE’s, and certainly we weren’t discussing complex PTSD.

The term struck a nerve. Colleagues either dismissed me or were intrigued. But overwhelmingly, my clients experienced a resonance with the name that helped their bodies sigh with relief.

Since then, I’ve devoted myself to nurturing insecure attachment and maternal deprivation in adult women. It became very clear that Mother Hunger needed her own book, so I compiled all the research I had been doing since 2008 and published my second book, Mother Hunger; How Adult Daughters Can Understand and Heal from Lost Nurturance, Protection, and Guidance (Hay House,2021).

Mother Hunger was a much harder book to write than the first one. For one reason, I was afraid. My greatest fear was that I might somehow contribute to the impossible load mothers carry every day. Each word took immeasurable attention and love to avoid this possibility.

Another reason is that like many of you who have read the book or are reading the book, I am a mother. Each chapter brought me face to face with ways I failed to attach to my child like I had hoped I could. Like I had fantasized I would. (and I already knew a lot of stuff!)

But my body carried untreated heartbreak from my own childhood, and as we know now, our intellect and rational thinking is no match for untreated trauma.

Maybe you feel Mother Hunger yourself and are looking for professional guidance in your healing process. Or maybe you’re a professional wanting to better guide your clients on their healing path. Maybe you want a speaker for your next event. No matter how you’ve arrived, I’ve designed this site to be a resource for you.

With love and hope,

Kelly McDaniel LCMHC
Kelly McDaniel on Red Table Talk

Source: Red Table Talk

Speaking and Teaching

Kelly McDaniel | Red Table Talk
Kelly McDaniel | TN Living
Kelly McDaniel | Telus Talks
Kelly McDaniel Therapy

“Thank you for an amazing, life-changing night.”
– Ami McConnell, Happy Women Dinners

I am available to speak and offer limited workshops on Mother Hunger, targeting the hidden heartbreak behind relationship dissatisfaction, absent life goals, and mood regulation difficulties. Click to inquire about my upcoming availability or subscribe to my newsletter for information on upcoming events near you. 

Curriculum Vitae | Resume


Kelly McDaniel developed the term “Mother Hunger” in her first book Ready to Heal, identifying the attachment trauma between mother and daughter that creates an environment ripe for love addiction. Part educator, part clinician, McDaniel also illuminates the cultural bind for women who are healing from addictive relational patterns in her book Ready to Heal: Women facing love, sex and relationship addiction, and her contribution to Making Advances; A Comprehensive Guide for Treating Female Sex and Love Addicts.
  • 1991: MA: English Literature; Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  • 2004: MA: Counseling; St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas
  • 2005: Licensed Professional Counselor
  • 2005: National Certified Counselor
  • 2002-Fall Intensive: Wellesley Stone Center for Research
  • 2003-Harvard Medical Series: Trauma and Attachment
  • 2005-Certified Sex Addiction Therapist: Patrick Carnes and IITAP
  • 2005-Post Induction Training: Pia Mellody and The Meadows
  • 2010-Emotional Focused Therapy: Dr. Sue Johnson
  • 2010-Imago training with Harville Hendrix, Ph.D.
  • 2013-EMDR I and II
  • 2017-Constellation Therapy: Inherited Family Trauma: Hellinger Institute

2006: Sexual abuse and sexual addiction. 10 hour workshop for LCDC candidates. University of Texas, Recovery Center.
2005-2007: What is sex and love addiction? Presentation for MA students in Counseling/Psychology. Webster University, San Antonio, Texas.
2007: Healthy Sexuality and Parenting. Presentation for Moms of Multiples, a nationally organized group supporting mothers with twins or more.
2007: Sexual abuse and sexual addiction. Presentation for Rape Crisis Center, San Antonio, TX.
2008: Author Ready to Heal: Women Facing Love, Sex, and Relationship Addiction. Published by Gentle Path Press.
2008: Women’s Summit at Life Healing Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
2008: Presentation for the Meadows. Healing Addictive Relationships.
2008: Presentation Santé Center for Healing with clinical director Ron Arrington. Sex and Love Addiction: His, Hers, and Theirs
2009: Workshop for City Services, New York, New York: Healing Mother wounding and inherited sexual beliefs for women.
2009: International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals: Panel discussion for the treatment of women and compulsive romantic activity
2009: Presentation sponsored by Santé Center for Healing. Identifying and Treating Sex and Love addiction.
2009: Presentation for Army Family Life Advocacy Conference: Louisville, Kentucky. Women, Sex, and Addiction
2009: Presentation for Society of Advancement of Sexual Health: 1⁄2 Day Pre-Conference training for clinicians. San Diego, CA.
2009: September issue Glamour: Quoted in Sex with a Stranger
2012: Author Ready to Heal, Breaking Free of Addictive Relationships, Ed. 2.
2012: Contributing author Making Advances, A Comprehensive Guide for Treating Female Sex and Love Addicts, Edited M. Ferree.
2012: Faculty for Society for Advancement Sexual Health: Training in Problematic Sexual Behavior: Women’s track.
2013: Presentation for the Meadows: “Unable to Attach, The Legacy of Sex and Love Addiction.” Austin, Texas
2016: Faculty for Society of Advancement Sexual Health: Training in Problematic Sexual Behavior: Women’s track.
2017: Presentation for Ken Adams: “Mother Hunger: Understanding Women and Addiction.” Detroit, Michigan
2017: Workshop for Ken Adams: “Mother Hunger: How your Mother’s love runs your romantic choices”Detroit, Michigan
2017: Presentation for SASH: “Healing Mother Hunger: Helping Women Integrate the Divided Self.” Salt Lake City, Utah
2018: Presentation for Santé Center for Healing and Society for Advancement of Sexual Health: “Women and Attachment; Integrating the Divided Self.” Argyle, Texas
2019: Webinar Presentation for IITAP: “Mother Hunger Wisdom: A Trauma Informed Model to Help Women Heal Addictive Love, Relational Betrayal and Compulsive Habits.” Nashville, Tennessee
2019: Presentation for 14th Annual IITAP Symposium: “He Said, She Said: How do we define ‘consent’ in an ever changing socioculture landscape?”, Discussion, Phoenix, Arizona

2019: Webinar Presentation for IITAP: “Mother Hunger Wisdom: A Trauma Informed Model to Help Women Heal Addictive Love, Relational Betrayal and Compulsive Habits.” Nashville, Tennessee

Media Kit

Access Kelly’s official bio and approved photos/images below.