How did I get here??  From shrink to self-taught artist...not really so different after all.

How did I get here?? From shrink to self-taught artist...not really so different after all.

Hello!  I'm Kat and you might wonder how a licensed mental health professional came to be a self-taught jewelry designer.  Allow me to share my journey...

I had a private practice for over 30 years. I have advanced degrees and I was licensed in my industry.  I specialized in treating chronic trauma disorders, personality disorders, mood disorders (depression and anxiety) maladaptive personality traits, and narcissism in particular. Severe self-harm in the form of burning, cutting, ingesting chemicals, sexual acting out and self-sabotage were commonplace.  I also developed a specialty, purely by happenstance, in treating the partners, children and associates of those having malignant narcissism.  Of course, I also treated more generic issues such as life transitions and adjustments, as well as individuals with alcohol and chemical addictions. Battered women were tough given the associations and scars I had from my witnessing my own parent's abusive marriage.  The incest cases were particularly demanding given that many victims had completely "romanticized" and "normalized" the dysfunctional programming within their family of origin:  "it's love."  By far, however, the most challenging, and satisfying, were the cases of alleged ritual abuse (cults).  I was ill-equipped to witness firsthand, the depths of depravity from which humans were capable.  Needless to say, it changed me and made me a more patient, loving and compassionate being.  I remain humble and grateful for the transformation...

I closely consulted with many psychologists, peers, physicians, lawyers, psychiatrists and related agencies depending upon the need and the patient's consent.  Occasionally, I provided expert testimony to the courts.  Most of my cases were quite complex and had taken years to come to fruition.  Many of my client's had been misdiagnosed or had received inadequate-insufficient treatment.  A good number were considered "serious and persistent" which required my thinking outside the box to forge a therapeutic connection.

I derived a great sense of meaning, satisfaction and purposefulness from my work.  But after my second decade, I began to notice a sense of emotional depletion that I just couldn't shake. I took really good care of myself so I was puzzled.  I attributed this emotional exhaustion to the abstraction of my work so I thought if I could find a concrete outlet, it might get better.  

A friend beaded outside of her day job and found this to be relaxing.  I had a few stones and beads laying around, so on a fluke, I created a few very bold and dramatic necklaces which were met by rave reviews by family and friends.  Some of these became gifts, but most I created were for my personal enjoyment and "therapeutic hobby."  Whenever and wherever I rocked them, I would receive compliments galore and requests to purchase.  Graciously I accepted the praise and filed it in the back of my mind.

As the years went on, I noticed that my energy was fading even further and I was slowly losing myself to my career. I felt as if I was performing even though I knew I was showing up as authentic and genuine. My professional role began to feel constraining. I felt numb and somewhat empty.  My work ceased being a challenge.  I was distracted and somewhat bored during psychotherapy sessions.  I had dedicated my life to helping my patients (a misguided attempt to heal myself in part despite my own therapy and analysis) and now it was I who needed help.

I began to thoughtfully consider what it would be like to create items of beauty on a full-time basis.  At the time this seemed like a far-fetched fantasy so I just observed the thoughts and wondered, "what if..."  At some point my answer came and I realized that if my patient's were no longer getting the best of me, I should stop practicing.  And so I made the very difficult to decision to end.  And then, Kat Kouture was born from what had been a long and unconscious labor of love.

I never realized how dramatic, bold and flamboyant I was and what it cost me to repress this part of myself.  I now truly understand the connection between creativity and madness and the cost if it's not given an opportunity for self-expression and wild release.  After witnessing so much pain and ugliness in life through my professional career, along with the triumphs of the human spirit, I can now channel these nuances into my designs and hopefully, share some beauty from my spirit to yours.  I think of my jewelry more as art and an extension of the self,  rather than as an accessory you simply wear.  I want you to really "feel" and experience the item and just how very much of me goes into each and every one.

I am completely self-taught and I never sketch out a design.  Intuitively, the components just seem to know how to "come together."  I frequently feel as if I am entering a trance-like state when I create hence the branded experience of "enchantment" for you.  Many of my clients feel as if they are spellbound when shopping my pieces and I think this accurately describes the transmutation and soul of each piece.

And now I hope to share the beauty of the human spirit with you, my dear clients, via my website and through my art as jewelry.  As I stated in my about me section, I aspire to transform ugliness into great works of beauty and joy.  Allow me to touch your spirit and share my art through a one-of-a-kind creation by Kat. Let's continue this journey of spiritual growth together!

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2 comments

It’s great getting to know the person behind what I consider to be masterpieces. I am loving this blog!!

Anonymous

So far I have purchased two amazing beautiful necklaces from katouture! Kat is a very amazing person who has mastered the craft as what I would praise as beautiful works of Art! Many heads turn when I wear this jewelry as well as many loving compliments! Thoughtful and spirit minded love goes into the creation of these jewelery pieces. You can’t help but to feel the positive, peace, love and motivation that goes into each great works of Art Kat produces. Definitely appreciated and Thanks for all you do!

LaVaine P Tate

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