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Michaela Kirby

Associate Professor of Art Therapy

Michaela Kirby

Dr. Michaela Kirby (she, her, hers), a Board Certified/Registered Art Therapist, a Licensed Psychologist and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, has been core faculty at Lesley University since 2000.  Currently, she teaches in the masters and doctoral programs. Prior to this position, Dr. Kirby was the Director of Field Training (2009-2013), the Coordinator of the Graduate Art Therapy program (2006-2009), and the Coordinator of the Undergraduate Art Therapy program (2000-2006).  Dr. Kirby has been involved in the American Art Therapy Association for many years, serving most recently as on the Board of Directors from 2015-2019.

Dr. Kirby has many years of direct clinical experience with a range of populations and settings including pre-school to older adults and from hospitals to schools and community settings.  Areas of specialization include using sandplay in therapy, supervision, social class and sexuality/gender. 

Dr. Kirby has a shared fiber arts studio with Michelle Napoli, DAT, ATR-BC, the founder of the Survivor Quilt Project (SQP), an art-based project created for the purpose of speaking truth about incest to the next generation.  As part of this project, they created a social action community-based art process to highlight and explore the sociopolitical construction of aspects of sexuality through the creation of The Vulva Quilt , which has been exhibited at conferences and community settings.   In addition, Dr. Kirby has created a quilt titled My Story that is part of the Survivor Quilt Project.   In addition to fiber arts, Dr. Kirby has explored other mediums including collage, mixed-media and body casting as a vehicle for change. 

Michaela has a private practice doing individual therapy and supervision as well as trainings in sexuality, art therapy, and sandplay therapy.


Psy.D., Clinical Psychology, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (Now known as William James College)
M.A., Expressive Therapies, Lesley University
B.A., Theater and Music, Chatham College

Board Certified Registered Art Therapist (ATR-BC)
Licensed Psychologist in Massachusetts 
Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)


Kirby, M.  (In press).  Keynote Address:  Why the Arts in Therapy?  The Creative Therapies in the Healing Professions: Psychotherapy and Spiritual Care Conference Proceedings.  Ottawa: St. Paul University. 

Kirby, M. & Napoli, M.  (2019).  Crafting the Vulva Quilt.  In H. Mandell (Ed.), Crafting Dissent: Handicraft as Protest from the American Revolution to the Pussyhats.  Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.

Kirby, M.  (2017).  Embracing my social class transition: A journey to more effective teaching.  In S.V. Cochrane, M. Chhabra, M.A. Jones & D. Spragg (Eds),  Culturally Responsive Teaching and Reflection in Higher Education: Promising Practice from the Cultural Literacy Curriculum Institute (pp. 32-40).  New York, NY: Routledge. 

Kirby, M., Leone, L., & Lautenbach, N. (2016, June 29). Art therapists empower college students through craftivism. Art Therapy Today. Retrieved from