MACMHP Conference

The Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs Annual Fall Conference will be held in Duluth, MN, September 17-19, 2008 at the Duluth Events and Convention Center. KST ASSSOCIATES will have a booth in the Exhibit Hall. This conference is always worthwhile. Stop by to meet us and see the KST product line. For more information about the conference, click on: MACMHP

KST in South Africa

“KST has been successfully used in South Africa in relation to chronic illness. Families even asked for an extra sculpture that would represent the sickness.” The writer continued, “I would like to make use of the KST in order to understand the child’s social environment, and sources of support or neglect. I would also like to understand the social environment of the household as well as to learn about familial role change in the course of chronic illness.”

– D.B., a psychologist in South Africa

KST Family Sculpture Exhibit at Family Conference

* If you found this page first, click on WELCOME!  for a quick overview of the whole site.

The Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy 2008 SPRING CONFERENCE is Friday, April 11th in Minneapolis at the Embassy Suites Hotel (494 and Penn Ave South). Conference presenter is Rise Van Fleet: “The Power of Play in Family Therapy: The Filial Therapy Approach.”

KST Associates will be an exhibitor, with KST Family Sculpturing “hands-on” resources for assessment and therapy available for exploration and purchase. Julie Thorsheim, MSW, LICSW, will be there to interact with conference attendees and demonstrate representational family sculpture.

For more information on this daylong event and to register, visit MAMFT at

Discovery and renewal

Fresh discoveries have a way of renewing our energy. That is what happened about 15 years ago. When a colleague in Norway showed me the Kvebæk Family Sculpture Tool and demonstrated how he uses it, I experienced that excitement of discovery. After conducting a review of the literature and confirming a solid research base for this assessment instrument, I began incorporating family sculpture with my own clients. Using the Kvebæk Tool provides a whole new dimension to assessment and therapeutic intervention!

Family Sculpture seminar held in Oslo

A Family Sculpture Seminar was held in Oslo, Norway, October 5, 2007. Participants — clinicians, consultant, agency administrator, social work supervisor and university professor — shared experiences and research with the Kvebæk Family Sculpture Tool. This core group is beginning plans for an International Conference on Family Sculpture in 2009. Stay tuned!

Small child adapts KST to tell her story

“Out of the mouths of babes! We used the sculptures with one of our very
young patients who decided the sculptures were ‘boring’! So, she brought in
more colorful ‘webkins’ to enhance our awareness of her turmoil. She was
able to tell the story using the tiny characters to represent her, and the
‘boring’ KST represented the ‘same old’ fights and people who couldn’t
change!   This also allowed her caregivers to recognize how their behaviors
were negatively impacting on her, in a very dramatic fashion!”

K.C., East Coast psychologist

Kvebæk Family Sculpture Technique

What is the Kvebaek Sculpture Tool (or KST)? It is virtually the same instrument as the Kvebæk Family Sculpture Test (KFST). Click on Kvebæk Sculpture Technique to learn more. Before we began to make the KST Toolkit available to professionals in the English-speaking world, Julie Thorsheim, the founder of KST Associates, met with David Kvebæk, and he gave his stamp of approval to the modified design of the figurines that Thorsheim crafted in Minnesota. See the History section for the rest of the story about Kvebæk granting Thorsheim certification to instruct others in applications of the Kvebaek Family Sculpture Technique, to further develop this assessment, research and therapy instrument, and to make the Kvebaek Sculpture Toolkit (KST) available to practitioners and researchers.

Hello world!

Many of you have come to the KST ASSOCIATES website for nearly a decade. We now announce this website, with a new look, and with possibilities for greater interaction with all of you out there!

Over the years, we have had the privilege of providing high quality educational resources and equipment to professionals from California to Florida, from New York to British Columbia, Canada, and to researchers and practitioners in Australia and Hong Kong.

International interest in the Kvebæk Tools continues to grow. Here are two examples:

China: The founder of KST ASSOCIATES, Julie Thorsheim, MSW, DCSW, participated as a delegate to the U.S. –  China Social Work conference in Beijing in 2006.

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She made two presentations on the Kvebæk Sculpture Technique, one as a part of the official conference program and the second, to staff of Children’s Hope International, Beijing office, at the invitation of Social Worker, Jean Chen, and Director, Madam Wu.

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Another exciting international project that KST Associates is contributing to is in Tanzania. The organization is called Mwangaza Partnership for education, health, family and faith. (Mwangaza is the Kiswahili word for enlightenment.) Over the last two years, Julie Thorsheim has consulted with the founder of Mwangaza, Dr. Hartwig with KST dollsShoonie Hartwig, around ways that the Kvebæk figures could foster effective communication around sensitive issues and promote conflict resolution within the Tanzanian culture. Together they created scenarios related to stigma and abuse in the family, community, and church. Thorsheim suggested ways to graphically illustrate this, using the dolls and other objects, such as blocks and balance beam.

KST ASSOCIATES donated an initial set of the KST figurines to Mwangaza Centre. Community leaders experimented with using the genderless dolls – they call them “midollies” (little people)” — in their stories and role-plays. Thorsheim suggested they try out taking on the role — and the ‘voice’ — of a person of another gender or age, and worked with Hartwig to suggest various role-play possibilities.

Tz Women with KST dolls-2005

A few Tanzanian women at the Mwangaza centre first met the KST figures and incorporated them into their stories in the summer of 2005. Subsequently, Hartwig wrote a grant proposal and obtained financial support for bringing

Shoonie Hartwig & TZ women at Mwangaza Centre

Tanzanian woman who are leaders in their communities together at the Mwangaza Centre in Arusha for a pilot project in Community Mediation. This initial project was accomplished in March 2007. Mwangaza director, Seelah Kissioki, describes the initial results of this pilot project in an article published in Mwangaza Reflections, Spring, 2007.

A representational sculpturing seminar is scheduled for early October 2007 in Oslo, Norway. The focus is for this core group of clinicians, teachers and researchers from Scandinavia and the U.S. — all with long-standing experience in using the Kvebæk Sculpture Tool and derivative forms of sculpturing — to share their experiences and together consider the possibility of holding a major International Seminar on Representational Family Sculpture for Pedagogy, Research and Practice in 2009.

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