Writer Yuko Taniguchi and psychiatrist Dr. Kathryn Cullen explore the impact of the creative process on adolescents facing mental health challenges and how creative work can make the interpersonal communication between caregivers and patients more meaningful.
Mental illness can narrow one’s view of self and the world, restricting creative ideas and enthusiasm about one’s potential and life’s possibilities. Helping adolescents develop themselves as artists promotes a sense of purpose, potential, and value, encouraging a more positive view of themselves in the world. Introducing creative work as a part of the recovery process can generate insights for care providers, allow adolescent patients to explore their interest in creative work, and lead to creative collaboration between patient and therapist.
Taniguchi and Dr. Cullen held the project’s first workshop in November, 2018. A subsequent workshop took place later in their collaboration on March 27, 2019. Their collaboration continues in the Target Studio into fall 2019.
Yuko Taniguchi is a poet, novelist, and a creative collaborator who explores the intersection of healing and creative process with writers, artists, and healthcare professionals. She is currently developing practices that promote engagement, compassion, and inspiration for adolescent patients in the Acute Care Inpatient Psychiatric Unit for Children & Adolescents at Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, MN. Taniguchi’s program at Mayo Clinic began by giving adolescents who struggle with mental issues the opportunity to participate in creativity-based activities and examining the responses.
“Self-discovery as an artist, who focuses on their creative work, sets a distance from the negative self-views that often dominate and hijack the adolescents,” Taniguchi says. “I am continuing to contemplate how and what allows this focus to shift.”
Taniguchi is a 2016 Bush Fellow and a faculty member at the University of Minnesota Rochester and Mayo Clinic Humanities in Medicine.
Dr. Kathryn R. Cullen is the Associate Professor and Division Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry In the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Cullen’s clinical work is focused on children and adolescents with mood disorders. Her research is dedicated to advancing the understanding of depression and depression-related problems in adolescents. She is currently leading two research projects testing novel treatments for severe depression in teenagers.