Kvebæk Sculpture Technique

The Kvebaek Sculpture Technique, or KST, is an assessment and therapy tool.  The KST  is a symbolic form of family sculpting to show subjective relationships. This is a quick means to obtain a picture of the internal family system as experienced by each family member. The KST set — “toolkit” — is made up of semi-abstract hardwood figures in two shapes and three sizes that the person sculpting  selects from to show self and family.  Often, the person sculpting will add additional figures to indicate their pet, a close friend or other significant persons. The KST is an effective tool for conducting a family systems assessment.

Small girl with cat in corner

The technique is simple and easy for even small children or those for whom verbal expression is difficult. The person “sculpting” arranges representational figures to show “the way it feels” in their family or group. This photo shows how a little girl depicted her sense of loneliness in a clinical assessment session with her parents. Given an invitation from the therapist, she quickly set up these KST dolls, then asked, “Do you have a cat?”  — and then added the smallest figure. The KST is both a tool and a technique for assessing and clarifying relationships as experienced by individuals and groups in family, school, workplace and community. It can be used with an individual client or with a family or other group. The KST is a hands-on means to quickly obtain significant information about: who is in the client’s network, family cohesion, distance, coalitions, and community resources.

The Kvebæk Sculpture Technique (KST) is rooted in both psychoanalytic theory and in KST
family systems theory. This instrument has a solid body of research demonstrating both construct and convergent validity with other assessments of cohesion and distance. (For additional information, go to Applications page, then click on Research to read more.) The KST is both an accurate assessment instrument yielding quantitative and qualitative data, and is a provocative therapeutic tool. People like to pick up and move the figures, and the insights obtained are often immediate. The KST technique draws the client into the goals-setting process and is a valuable tool in treatment planning. Most clients are set at ease by the process and it is an efficient means of obtaining essential information quickly.

The training and the KST Set we offer are an outgrowth of collaboration between the Norwegian creator of the original Kvebæk Family Sculpture Test, other colleagues, and the American social worker who founded KST Associates. (Kvebæk is pronounced either kvay’beck or que’bek.) We are enriched through ongoing international collaboration with professionals on several continents.