Dr Kirby Sainsbury

Clinical Psychologist
PhD, DClinPsych, BA (Psych Hons)
Psych Reg No. PSY0001626627

Kirby provides psychological treatments via telehealth. Kirby has a specific interest in helping people with eating disorders drawing on the principles of Health At Every Size – HAES, intuitive eating & anti-diet approach. She is also available to provide case consultation and supervision in these areas. Kirby has a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and a PhD in Health Psychology, as well as a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)/Bachelor of Education all from the University of Sydney. She is one of very few certified Intuitive Eating Counsellors with a psychology background in Australia. Kirby also has credentials from ANZAED as an Eating Disorder Mental Health Clinician and has completed training in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) with Behavioral Tech.

Kirby works with older adolescents and adults with binge eating disorder, atypical anorexia nervosa (i.e., anorexia in individuals living in larger bodies), bulimia nervosa, disordered eating, and chronic or yoyo dieting, where she uses the principles of HAES, intuitive eating & anti-diet for eating disorders to help individuals normalise their relationships with food and body, without a focus on intentional weight loss. In addition, she also enjoys working with people with borderline personality disorder, emotion regulation difficulties, ADHD, addictions, mood disorders, and chronic health conditions (with a focus on illness adjustment, acceptance, and behaviour change) to practice acceptance and develop self-management skills (e.g., distress tolerance, emotion regulation, self-regulation).

Kirby works predominantly from a Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) perspective, with skills also drawn from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Compassion-Focused Therapy, trauma-informed therapies, and informed by a HAES, intuitive eating, anti-diet, weight inclusive framework. Her health psychology (research) background also means she draws on a lot on self-regulation, motivation, behaviour change, and habit formation theories and techniques.

Kirby has 13 years’ experience working in clinical and research settings in Australia and the UK. Her background includes significant experience providing psychological treatments to inpatients and outpatients of private psychiatric facilities. She worked at Ramsay Clinic Northside over a 12-year period (2012-2014 and 2018-2024), where she facilitated eating disorders (total of 7 years) and youth day programs (3 years), and a dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) skills group (3 years) in the outpatient service, and has worked on the eating disorders, mood disorders, addictions, and general mental health inpatient units. She also has experience in private practice, including 2 years on a comprehensive DBT team. She continues to work with Ramsay on their adult mental health units and with Oshia, as the clinical lead for their online group therapy programs.

Kirby also has a strong research background in health psychology. In her Research Associate role in the UK, she was involved in the design and delivery of several behaviour change interventions to aid weight loss maintenance in adults with obesity (one of the experiences that pushed her firmly back to her eating disorders roots and the principals of HAES, intuitive eating and anti diet for eating disorders), adherence to a gluten free diet in adults with coeliac disease, and adherence to photoprotection recommendations in people with the rare disease, xeroderma pigmentosum.

She has published over 40 peer-reviewed papers in this field; presented more than 25 papers at domestic and international conferences; been an invited speaker for Coeliac UK, Coeliac Australia, and the Dietitians Association of Australia; co-coordinated an eating disorders module for undergraduate psychology students; been a guest lecturer for various undergraduate and postgraduate psychology subjects; provided research supervision to Honours, MSc, and medical students; was editor of Health Psychology Review (journal of the Health Psychology Division, British Psychological Society); and been an invited peer reviewer for numerous health psychology and behavioural medicine journals.

Kirby has recently moved to Melbourne and is currently offering telehealth appointments only. She is also available for case consultation in the areas of HAES, intuitive eating &  anti-diet for eating disorders.

Contact Kirby at The Psychological Health Centre

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