Jesper Juul
  • Biography


Jesper Juul

Jesper Juul was born in Vordingborg, Denmark, on April 18, 1948 and spent his childhood there, as well as in Herning and Ebeltoft, in the company of my parents and his brother Peter. His free time was spent on athletics, badminton, Scouts and ornithology studies in the woods around Ebeltoft and Mols.

After graduation from Ebeltoft public school for secondary education, he was hired on Ø.K.'s CAMBODIA (East Asiatic  Company) and sailed as a server/cook's helper in the Far East. Worked thereafter as an unskilled laborer during the building of Ebeltoft Ferry Harbor, as a cement layer and then as a dishwasher, counterman and bartender at the White House Hotel.

In 1966 he began at Marselisborg teacher's college and got his teaching certificate in 1970, concentrating on history and religion. Thanks to his religion teacher - theologist Bent Schmidt Hansen - he began to study the history of European ideas on the side at Århus University in Denmark. Prof. Johannes Sløk was a personal adviser and thrived in the charged interaction between philosophy, politics and the history of religion. Concluded the first part of his studies with an assignment on the discussion between Martin Luther and Erasmus of Rotterdam about "The free will".

Jesper Juul's studies were partially financed by vacation jobs as a waiter/bartender in Germany, as a reviewer of children's books in newspapers and towards the end of his studies as night watchman at the Bøgholt youth treatment center in Viby, Denmark. The latter made him realize that he thrived best with hands-on pedagogical work, and his idea of an academic career was shelved. 

Worked the following 3+ years at Bøgholt as a teacher and social worker and discovered the necessity of actively working with children's families. Met at a course the American psychiatrist and family therapist W. Kempler, M.D. and the Danish child psychiatrist Mogens A. Lund, both of whom became his teachers, therapists and friends.

Worked thereafter for nine years at the Århus Community Youth Center with groups of single mothers, along with two good colleagues from Bøgholt, and at the same time began an education in family therapy in Denmark, Holland and the USA. At the same time Jesper Juul began to work freelance as a group therapist and personnel trainer - the latter mainly in experimental psychiatric departments and various projects for drug addicts - supported and supervised by Dr. Mogens Lund and his wife Prof. Lis Keiser.

In 1979 they felt it was time to establish an institute with the objective of creating a truly post-graduate educational program in the type of family therapy, which Kempler had developed and described, and with him as leader). 

Due to a variety of circumstances Jesper Juul became leader of the Kempler Institute of Scandinavia until 2006 when he resigned in order to make space for a new generation. The core staff decided to form dfti.

Personally,  Jesper Juul has seen it as an important part of his function to make the institute's underlying values, thoughts and experiences available both to professional groups to whom therapeutic competence traditionally is not attributed, and not least of all to laypeople – first and foremost parents.

Jesper Juul got married for the first time in 1971. His son Nicolai was born in 1973.

In 1991 Jesper Juul married Suzana, who has her roots in Zagreb, Croatia, and, among other good things, that has led to his using about 3 months a year on volunteer work with refugees, war veterans and the post-graduate education of Croatian and Bosnian professionals, as well as serving as a leadership and development consultant for local non-governmental organizations. Suzana and Jesper Juul divorced in 2014.

Since 2006 he has pursued his lifelong ambition of making the principles for healthy and non-violent relationships within all kinds of families available internationally and used to work as Curriculum Manager within Family-lab International with branches in several countries.

In 2012 Jesper Juul was hit with a disabling neurological disease and was hospitalized for 18 months.  In July 2014 after several clinical and therapeutic treatments Jesper Juul came back to his hometown in Denmark, where all his work was done on-line.

At this time familylab-association was founded to ensure that his work will have a place to develop and inspire new countries to join the familylab network.

On the 25th of July Jesper Juul passed away peacfully.

Copyright © Jesper Juul