Celebrating the Wins of our Challenge Therapists

17 May 2022

For more than 25 years, Challenge’s art and music therapy services have always been instrumental to the work we do to support children and families living with cancer. It has always been our firm belief that these two disciplines are extremely important to young people living with cancer in the way each modality combines counselling and art/music-making techniques as a tool for self-expression in a safe and enjoyable way.

The masterminds behind the Challenge music and art therapy programs are two incredible therapists – Tanya McKenna (Music Therapist) and Caryn Griffin (Art Therapist).

We would like to take the time to publicly congratulate Tanya and Caryn as for being awarded the Ruth Bright Clinical Excellence Award at the 47th National Conference of the Australian Music Therapy Association (2021). This is a highly reputable award and is presented to the best clinical, practice-based paper presented at the conference. In 2021, it was awarded to Tanya and Caryn who investigated the evolution and integration of music and art therapy programs to support children living with cancer throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you haven’t yet met Tanya or Caryn, here is a small overview of their outstanding expertise.

🎶 Tanya Mckenna – Challenge Music Therapist 🎶

Tanya is passionate about supporting our members through tailored, one-on-one sessions. Tanya’s sessions aim to actively engage children in music, reduce isolation, and foster self-expression, socialisation, connection and enjoyment. Tanya has a broad range of experience working within early intervention, disability, paediatrics, special education, and with children with autism. Prior to working at Challenge Tanya worked as a Music Therapist at the Arts Centre Melbourne, special schools, and in private practice; she was also a violin teacher. Tanya is a Registered Music Therapist with the Australian Music Therapy Association.

🎨 Caryn Griffin – Challenge Art Therapist 🎨

Caryn is passionate about using art in a therapeutic way with children, teenagers and adults. She has been with Challenge for over four years and has previously worked in the field of mental health. Caryn recognises that it is often easier for children to express themselves creatively rather than using words. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Art Therapy and Master of Applied Science which focused on expanding the evidence base for Art Therapy. Caryn also lectures at La Trobe University and is a practising artist. She is registered with the Australian Art Therapy Association (ANZACATA).

The work Tanya and Caryn do with our families is extraordinary to say the least and the power they have to make a difference is enormous. They work week in and week out, and not once have we seen their passion waver

This is an enormous achievement, and we are very proud of what Tanya and Caryn have achieved on a national level.