Carla A. Kirsh
August 21, 1943 – January 4, 2019
Carla A. Kirsh of Marlow, NH died on January 4, 2019 as a result of injuries sustained in a single-car accident on January 2, 2019.
She was born in Philadelphia, PA and raised in the Philadelphia area. She earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Temple University. Carla initially worked at a psychiatric hospital and later at another facility in Philadelphia.
In the early 1970’s she began to work with Vietnam veterans and observed symptoms among them, which are now recognized as signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. At the time, no such diagnosis existed.
In 1978, Carla came to Keene and was employed by the Monadnock Area Family Services (MFS). She created and implemented a clinical program that included outreach and coordination of services for individuals age 60 and over. Two years later, she developed the Emergency Services Program at MFS and became its’ director. During this time, she began seeing veterans coming to the agency and in 1981, she started a group for combat veterans.
Carla wrote the contract for MFS allowing the agency to receive contracted services from the Veteran’s Center. She continued to provide individual and group counseling to veterans and their significant others, including those who experienced sexual assault during their time in the military.
The veteran’s program was disbanded once the Department of Veteran’s Affairs opened a clinic in Keene for services. Due to her experience and knowledge of PTSD, in 1995, Carla was asked to present at the first World Mental Health Conference in Dublin, Ireland.
Carla also provided counseling for individuals with a variety of mental health issues. She met with survivors of sexual abuse and was the first in the area to start a group for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
From 2000 – 2001, she worked with MFS and the Cheshire Medical Center in developing a triage system.
Her primary focus in her practice was Dialectical Behavior Treatment (DBT). She became a DBT trainer and trained MFS and mental health staff statewide. She was the first to start DBT groups within the state.
Carla’s formal training addresses part of her success. Beyond her training, Carla possessed keen intuition, a well-honed ability to synthesize ideas, personal warmth and a wonderful sense of humor. It is no wonder that in 2014 Carla was honored by the Keene Sentinel’s annual Extraordinary Women Event for her outstanding service to the people of the Monadnock Region.
As a gifted therapist, Carla will be remembered as empathetic and nonjudgmental; as a human being she will be remembered as a compassionate, fun-loving, intelligent and generous of spirit.
Carla will be missed by her son and daughter-in-law, Gordon and Diane Kirsh of Marlow; her friends; and her many clients whose life she touched.
A celebration of Carla’s life will be held on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 1:00PM in the Keene Unitarian Universalist Church, 69 Washington Street, Keene. It would be nice for those attending to wear something purple as this was Carla’s favorite color.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to MFS Client Services Fund, c/o Monadnock Family Services, 17 93rd Street, Keene, NH 03431.
MFS Client Services Fund
c/o Monadnock Family Services 17 93rd Street , Keene, New Hampshire
Memorial and Celebration of Life Service
Keene Unitarian Universalist Church
69 Washington Street
Carla A. Kirsh
January 17, 2019
I had the great pleasure and good fortune of knowing Carla many years ago when she first came to New Hampshire to work at Monadnock Family Services. Immediately it was evident that she was a very special person...very giving, very insightful and completely dedicated to the healing of others who had dealt with severe trauma.
I am so very, very sorry to learn of this loss and I extend my deepest sympathy to her beloved son Gordon and to his wife at this very difficult time.
Linda De Santis
January 10, 2019
I worked with Carla for years.
Carla was simply wonder with everyone she met and worked with. Always smiling and there for everyone. Carla touched may lives and will be missed very much. Rest in Peace Carla
January 9, 2019
I am so sorry for your loss. Carla was a very special person. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be here now. She saved my life. She was always caring and loving. I will miss her Very much.
January 9, 2019
Thank you for sharing your mother with the world. To some she was a saint. To others a guardian, a mentor, a leader, savior, a cherished friend. To me she will always be the most important person in my life. Sometimes grumpy, mostly giving and loving, always a challenge in a good way and never boring. She was so very very loved.
IN THE CARE OF