About Ana

Personally:

Ana Kirby

Born in South Africa to a recently immigrated family I grew up surrounded by difference; difference in cultural norms, in beliefs, in ways of living and being. This brought forth both an appreciation for the beauty of diversity but also the sharp awareness of how difference can so easily lead to prejudice, isolation, anger and violence.

And so, from a very early age, I was engaged with fascinating mental acrobatics trying to decipher possible solutions to the problem – how could one create connections of understanding, how could differences live alongside each other in peace and harmony and beauty?

On this road I came to the conclusion that the only definite, certain and solid place we can start with is ourselves. We have to create those paths of understanding, acceptance and peace within ourselves, often between our own conflicting threads, our own inner-outer world differences. As this happens we journey ever more the road of conscious living, and change is an inevitable consequence.

One of the great joys of my childhood was learning from my mother how to create and work with yarn, thread and fabric. The sense of achievement while in the process of making, slowly increasing and intensifying as the item comes closer to its completed state and then the joy of wearing it or seeing it hanging on a wall, remains a deeply precious and satisfying result, the magic and the power of making.

Much later in life I experienced the fascinating thrill of using fabric and thread in working through some of my own knotted and contorted problems, a very effective medium in bringing about the healing of those emotional wounds.

And so Transforming Threads was conceived – to provide a space where those attracted to the medium can engage with the process of psychological transformation through self/body awareness with the added experience, hopefully joyful, of creating with thread.

 

Professionally:

I am a Clinical Psychologist, originally trained in South Africa, in behavioural and interactional models. While in South Africa I worked mainly in Children’s Homes both with children and the staff responsible for their care. I also had a small private practice.

In 1992 I immigrated to the UK where I had the marvellous opportunity of working in the NHS in close partnership with Health Visitors where my brief was to develop preventative strategies and ways of working to avoid psychological difficulties becoming major problems.

It was at this stage that the programs created to serve young families became the foundation of my doctoral research (DClinPsych from City University London). This addressed how multi-disciplinary teams worked, and failed to work, with families in the community, while also showing how an 8-week programme focussing on self-concept brought about significantly raised levels of self-confidence and self-esteem in a group of young mothers, resulting in happier and healthier relationships with their children, partners and the immediate community. 

I went on to head the Child Clinical Psychology Service in the South Kent NHS trust and later became Primary Care lead and seconded to the SureStart project in the area. Throughout this period I continued to be involved with children in children’s homes, their carers and foster carers.

It was also during this phase that my interest in attachment theory and practice had the opportunity to deepen. I took part in various training courses in the Dynamic Maturational Model of Attachment and implemented some of the assessment tools in my work with families.

I also began to widen my knowledge of the work of Carl Jung, someone whose theories had always attracted me but whose importance had not been present in the institutions where I had trained. This led me to the work of Marion Woodman and the BodySoul world in which I am actively involved at present.

I am registered with the British Psychological Society as a Chartered Psychologist and full member of the Clinical Psychology Division.  


 
 

Emerging out of Chaos