Category Archives: News

David Olson congratulates David Kvebaek

When author and prominent family social science researcher and teacher, David H. Olson, learned of the honor the Norwegian government had bestowed upon Kvebaek, the founder of the Kvebaek Family Sculpture Test, Olson sent a comment to this website:
“Dear David:
Congratulations on the Gold Medal from Norway. That is a great honor–-which you deserve. You were a leader of family systems assessment, and it is great to see that Julie Thorsheim is continuing to offer it in the U.S.
Karen and I are semi-retired from PREPARE-ENRICH and I retired from the University of Minnesota in 2000 . . . . .Wishing you the very best! David Olson” (See comment submitted March 2nd, 2011.)

David Kvebæk awarded King’s Gold Medal

On November 24, 2010, David Kvebæk was awarded the King’s Gold Medal for outstanding lifetime contributions, especially to the field of family therapy. In advance of this ceremony in Oslo, Kvebæk invited Julie Thorsheim to come to Oslo to represent the Kvebaek Sculpture Tool (KST) in the United States.

To read the full text of the presentation, click on this link: Gold Medal translation .

Sculpting “invaluable tool in assessment and family therapy”

“I am very impressed by the practical application of sculpting afforded through the use of the Kvebaek family sculpting tools. You offered me, in the short time we were able to talk, a useful and informative presentation regarding the clinical and theoretical foundations of this therapeutic technique. I think it would be an invaluable tool for use in assessment and family therapy. It practicalizes family sculpting for clinicians –-and would be easily accessible for newer clinicians.”

-L.P., social work professor and clinical supervisor, Colorado

Family Sculpting Workshop-International Focus

June 16, 2009 a workshop focused on Family Sculpting took place at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. Presenters were: Dr. Anne Hollingworth, psychologist in private practice in Sydney, Australia; Thomas Thorsheim, Ph.D. psychologist in private practice in Greenville, South Carolina; Jean Giebenhain, Ph.D., full professor, University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, and Julie Thorsheim, MSW, of KST Associates. Moderator was Mary Carlson, Chair, Dept. of Social Work and Family Studies at St. Olaf College. This Continuing Education event was co-sponsored by NASW, Minnesota Chapter, and the St. Olaf College Department of Social Work and Family Studies, and was funded in part by the David and Karen Olson Marriage and Family Endowment at St. Olaf College.

Hollingworth showed how she uses the Kvebaek Sculpture Tool to incorporate “ the child’s voice” in her reports to Family Court when retained to assess parenting capacity and children’s family attachments for the purpose of making placement decisions about at-risk children. Julie Thorsheim provided historical and theoretical framework of the Kvebæk Family Sculpture and showed participants how to begin incorporating this technique into their practice in a variety of settings. Giebenhain provided insight into the way she uses the KST in research and clinical practice with multi-cultural adoptive families. Thomas Thorsheim provided examples of how he uses this figure placement tool in assessment and therapy with both individuals and families.

This skills-building workshop incorporated demonstration, case examples, panel presentation and small group activities to equip participants to use representational family sculpting in their own work. Participants’ evaluations of this full-day experiential workshop were enthusiastic and strong. Look for glimpses of presenters and participants on pages of this website.

Presentation to Lakselaget

Julie Thorsheim, President of KST ASSOCIATES, Northfield, Minnesota, was guest presenter at the April meeting of Lakselaget, speaking on The Kvebæk Sculpture Tool: A Norwegian invention for assessment and treatment of relationship issues that is making an impact in the U.S. and globally.

In addition to showing how the KST figures are used in assessment and therapy settings, Thorsheim incorporated these symbolic figures in sharing some of her stories of family heritage, including immigration stories, constructing her family-of-origin and her family today. Questions and comments from Lakselaget guests and members indicated interest in professional applications of the technique and how she established her company. Another commented later that the presentation whetted her interest in searching out her own Scandinavian heritage.

Lakselaget is a Minneapolis organization for area professional women and college and university students who are Norwegian, of Norwegian descent, or interested in contemporary Norwegian issues “and all things Norwegian.” Founded in 2002, the organization features noteworthy speakers and offers scholarships and grants to Norwegian students and to Minnesota professional women. The organization’s title symbolizes the theme, “Women who swim against the current…”

To learn more about Lakselaget, and to read a full description of this presentation, visit the Lakselaget website.

NASW-Minnesota Chapter announces Family Sculpture Conference

From the National Association of Social Workers-Minnesota Chapter online Newsletter: “Looking ahead . . . save the date: NASW-MN and the St. Olaf College Department of Social Work and Family Studies collaborate on conference planning for June 16, 2009:

‘Family Sculpting: An international Tool for Brief Assessment and Intervention’

This special daylong continuing education event is being held at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota in conjunction with an international gathering of practitioners, educators, and researchers who use the Kvebaek Family Sculpture Tool (called KFST or KST), a technique that rapidly engages clients in assessment and treatment.”

For full story, including presenter bios, go to the NASW-Minnesota Chapter website Newsletter.

Rapid insight into family dynamics

“I’m a psychologist in private practice, providing a broad range of
psychological testing and psychotherapy services. I began using the KST in
clinical work about two years ago. It has been tremendously helpful in
both assessment and therapy, giving me and my clients rapid insight into
complex family dynamics. Further, it allows clients to share information
non-verbally at times when putting words to their family experiences may
initially feel painful or overwhelming. In family therapy , it creates a
platform for sharing individual perspectives and helps create dialogue
between family members.”
– Dr. T, Licensed Psychologist in South Carolina

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

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!