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  • The Best Child Therapy in Denver, Colorado: A Guide to Finding Play Therapists, Psychologists, and Early Childhood Resources

    As a child therapist and a parent, I try to be an advocate and a resource for supporting the mental health concerns of families in our community. It’s why I started UpliftME Attachment-Based Therapy and why I continually seek new ways to support parents and children through mental health services, even if our practice isn’t able to work with them directly.

    I have learned over my 20+ years in the field that the Denver Metro area has some fantastic child therapists, child psychologists, and early childhood mental health resources. However, it can be difficult to find a qualified therapist or professional counselor without a referral, especially professionals with training and experience in treating the age level of birth to 5.

    To help close this gap, I’ve compiled a list of the best child therapy practices and child-centered mental health professionals in and around Denver. These practices have earned my respect, and I am comfortable referring families to the therapists or practices on this list when we are unable to help them.

    I’ve organized the list of the top practices as follows:

    Play Therapy Practices

    • UpliftME Attachment-Based Therapy
    • Mariposa Center for Infant, Child & Family Enrichment
    • Amy Pickett Williams LCSW
    • Realistic Serenity Behavioral Health

    Evaluation and Testing Practices

    • Birch Psychology
    • Sunlight Developmental Evaluations

    Community Health/Nonprofit Providers

    • Wellpower/Right Start for Colorado
    • Blue Channel Therapy

    Walk-in Crisis Centers

    • Colorado Crisis Services

    To learn more about each of these practices and their specialties, clinicians, and locations, please continue reading below. I hope this article helps you find the right support for your child. If you’d like to talk to us about how UpliftME can help, we’d love for you to reach out today to schedule a consultation with us.

    Play Therapy Practices

    Play therapy is the gold standard therapy for child development relative to mental health. Play therapists utilize play as a medium for expression and exploration, providing a safe space for children to navigate feelings, life events, and challenges. Play therapists use other modalities in the therapeutic process as well, such as cognitive/behavioral therapy, EMDR, and art, music, and movement therapies. Most play therapists provide a holistic approach to mental health care and extend their support services to parents and families, recognizing the crucial role the primary relationships of family play in a child’s life.

    UpliftME Attachment-Based Therapy

    At UpliftME, We believe that most children benefit from attachment-based therapies because improving our children’s relationships with themselves and their loved ones can have life-long, transformative effects on their mental health, identity development, and self-esteem. We build productive therapeutic relationships to help children from birth to adolescence, and we support adults and couples seeking attachment-based work.

    Parent-child therapy at UpliftME

    Parent-child therapy, as embraced by UpliftME Attachment-Based Therapy, adopts a two-generation approach, recognizing the pivotal role caregivers play in helping children develop healthy relationships. Our therapists specialize in aiding very young children in developing secure attachments (birth-3), with expertise extending to understanding how these attachments impact relationships, self-esteem, behavior, and motivation throughout childhood into adulthood. Parent-child therapy can build a sense of security, problem-solving skills, the ability to navigate relationship issues, and joyful connections for both parents and children.

    Play therapy through an attachment lens

    Through play, children express and explore their feelings, fostering a safe space for navigating challenges and life transitions. The attachment-centered play therapy at UpliftME recognizes the significance of these early experiences. Our therapists are adept at engaging children in play therapy and understanding its impact on attachment styles, self-esteem, behavior, and motivation from childhood to adulthood.  Parents are always encouraged to participate in the play therapy and therapists help support parents to understand the expressed needs of the child during the session.  Therapists at UpliftME are trained to support the needs of the child and the parent at the same time, providing an opportunity for healing for both, through the relationship and interactions as they play out in real time.

    Attachment-based therapy for adoption

    Adoption brings immense joy, but it also involves unique challenges. With our expertise in attachment, we specialize in therapy that supports the adoption experience, employing an approach rooted in the latest research in attachment and neurobiology. Whether navigating identity and self-esteem with individual therapy for children, teens, and young adults, engaging in family therapy for the entire system, or providing educational sessions for parents considering or already involved in adoption, we are here to help. We recognize the specific challenges of multicultural adoptions and provide assistance in this area as well. You can read more about our adoption specializationhere.

    UpliftME’s approach to trauma therapy and EMDR

    Both parents and children can struggle with understanding and processing trauma. At UpliftME, we offer powerful, evidence-based interventions to help process difficult emotions, including Child-Parent Psychotherapy and EMDR, ensuring comprehensive and effective support for families dealing with loss, discrimination, trauma, family violence or conflict, gender identity issues, and other challenges. EMDR, a renowned trauma therapy, specifically targets traumatic experiences using the brain and body, making it a crucial component of our approach. We recognize that trauma, regardless of age or cognitive awareness, resides in the body, affecting interactions with the world. Trauma is often the underlying root of anxiety, depression, and negative thoughts or feelings. Even parents grappling with personal trauma find support in our therapy, addressing feelings and reactions that may manifest as challenges in their children.

    Clinicians: We provide access to highly qualified licensed and pre-licensed therapists with specialties ranging from child-parent therapy to adoption. Most of our therapists are employees of UpliftME, rather than contractors (contractors are common in group practices). We do this so that we can provide the continuing education and training we feel is necessary to provide excellent therapy and obtain the best long-term outcomes after clients complete therapy.

    We also offer individual and family therapy for adolescents and adults, as well as couples therapy through an attachment-based lens. You can learn more about our therapists here.

    Locations: We offer two Colorado locations – a centrally-located Denver office (off I-25 and Colorado Boulevard), and a Littleton office easily accessed from Highlands Ranch and Lone Tree:

    4155 E Jewell Ave. STE 1116 Denver, CO 80222

    6901 S Pierce St., Littleton, CO 80128

    Costs and Payment: UpliftME’s rates are $150 for licensed clinicians and $120 for pre-licensed clinicians for 50-minute sessions; $240 for licensed clinicians and $180 for pre-licensed clinicians for 80 minute couples and family sessions. We do not take insurance, but we are happy to provide a superbill for clients pursuing out-of-network reimbursement. A sliding scale is available for families in need.

    If you would like more information about UpliftME, would like more information about the child therapy process, or are ready to schedule a phone consultation, please reach out to us today.

    Mariposa Center for Infant, Child & Family Enrichment

    The Mariposa Center provides a variety of modalities to support mental health concerns in children, including play therapy, dance, movement, and art therapies, and EMDR. The practice provides early intervention services and supports the whole family to support life transitions, trauma-related issues, developmental delays, building relationships, and other child mental health issues.

    Clinicians: The Mariposa Center is owned by Emily McNeil, LPC, BC-DMT, CIMI, EMDR cert., and has a staff of about six therapists, including EMDR therapists. The educational background of the practice’s therapists is diverse, featuring master’s degrees in art and dance therapy alongside more traditional counseling education. Some therapists are licensed, some are pre-licensed (master’s level candidates), and interns and externs may also be available to provide therapy.

    Location: 4704 Harlan Street, Suite 200, Denver, CO 80212

    Costs and Payment: The Mariposa Center takes some insurance, including Medicaid. Without insurance, Mariposa charges $125 per 50-minute session for licensed therapists and $85 per session for a pre-licensed therapist. Sessions with interns or externs may also be available for $10 per session (lengthy waitlists may apply).

    Amy Pickett Williams LCSW

    Through her private practice, Amy provides play therapy, individual therapy, adolescent therapy, and therapy for families and couples. Specializing in grief, trauma, and chronic illness, Amy employs a strengths-based/skills-based and empowerment-focused therapeutic approach. She is also a yoga teacher with expertise in integrative somatic trauma therapy and trauma-informed yoga and utilizes therapeutic yoga interventions in her practice.

    Clinician: Amy is the sole practitioner. She is an LCSW and yoga instructor (RYT 200) and holds a certificate in integrative somatic trauma therapy.

    Location: 2401 S Downing Street, Denver, CO, 80210

    Costs and Payment: The rate for 45-minute individual sessions is $210, while couples sessions (75 minutes) are $320. Amy does not take insurance but can provide receipts to submit for out-of-network benefits.

    Realistic Serenity Behavioral Health

    Realistic Serenity offers traditional talk therapy, play therapy, adolescent therapy, and EMDR, for a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. Most notably, Realistic Serenity has extensive experience serving the LGBTQ+ youth community. As an example, the practice excels in issues of gender identity and recently announced a support group for transgender and gender-diverse youths.

    Clinicians: Realistic Serenity has about 8 therapists. Most of the therapists are LPCCs, with one LMFT and a master’s level clinician on staff at the time of this article.

    Location: 1660 South Albion Street, Suite 425, Denver, Colo 80222.

    Costs and Payment: Realistic Serenity takes a variety of insurance plans, including Medicaid. For those paying out of pocket, standard 50-minute sessions are $150, with 80-minutes sessions (suggested for couples counseling or EMDR) available at $240.

    Psychological Assessment Practices

    Psychological assessments and evaluations are tools that help us understand a child’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning. Requested by parents, healthcare providers, or educators, assessments can help identify learning disabilities, inform treatment planning, and facilitate school accommodations. Psychologists use diverse tools and methodologies to tailor assessments to individual needs and often extend support to children and their families through psychodynamic therapy.

    Birch Psychology

    Birch Psychology offers a variety of mental health services, including assessment and consulting services. Its robust assessment capabilities include psycho-educational, developmental, autism spectrum, and social/emotional assessments. The practice serves all ages, from infancy to adulthood, and has two locations (Denver and Centennial).

    Clinicians: The clinic boasts a large staff of psychologists (over twenty clinicians) for assessments, therapy, and consulting services, as well as some master’s-level licensed and pre-licensed clinicians for therapy.

    Locations: Birch’s central location in in Denver, with a second office in the Centennial/Greenwood Village area.

    950 Logan St Denver, CO 80203

    6881 S Holly Cir, Centennial, CO 80112 (in the Greenwood Village area)

    Costs and Payment: Assessment costs vary greatly, with brief assessments starting at $575, and extensive assessments ranging from $2,950 to $3,375. Therapy sessions are $190 per session. Birch, as a practice, does not accept insurance but can provide invoices for insurance reimbursement. Some of Birch’s psychologists individually participate in programs that accept Medicaid and CHP+.

    Sunlight Developmental Evaluations

    Sunlight Developmental Evaluations conducts a variety of evaluations, including assessing children for autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, giftedness, and behavior issues.

    Clinicians: Sunlight has two psychologists on staff, including owner Heather Hodge.

    Location: 8120 Sheridan Blvd, Suite C-305, Arvada, CO 80003

    Costs and Payment: Sunlight does not accept any insurance. The fee for assessments varies by complexity, ranging from $500 for an intelligence test to $4000 for an autism evaluation.

    Community Health/Nonprofit Providers

    Community mental health centers and nonprofits are vital mental health support programs, providing accessible and comprehensive services to individuals facing various challenges. These organizations offer a range of resources, from counseling and therapy to specialized assessments. As community health centers are generally grant-funded, their programs give individuals access to essential services, regardless of their backgrounds or financial situations. They are staffed by professional counselors, clinicians, and peer experts.

    Wellpower/Right Start for Colorado

    WellPower is the largest community mental health center in Denver and serves much of Colorado’s front range. The organization provides support through several community sites, Denver public schools, and family therapist home-based outreach. WellPower provides services for every age, including the critical birth-to-5 age range. One of their programs, Right Start for Colorado, specializes in training and promoting child-parent psychotherapy.

    Clinicians: As a community mental health center, WellPower employs staff with a range of experience, including peer specialists, professional counselors, family therapists and licensed clinicians. The choice of clinicians may be limited in a community health setting.

    Locations: WellPower has several centers located throughout Denver to support families. Their child services are located at:

    3401 Eudora St, Denver, CO, 80207

    1405 Federal Blvd, Denver, CO, 80204

    Costs and Payment: As a grant-funded organization, WellPower offers many services free of charge, though the number of visits for free services may be limited. Parents with a child from birth to 5 years old can access a consultant for a free 30-minute appointment to discuss strategies for supporting social-emotional development and well-being.

    Blue Channel Therapy

    Blue Channel Therapy is a nonprofit practice that specializes in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy). EMDR is an effective trauma therapy, and Blue Channel offers this therapy for parent-child sessions (birth to 5), or child-only sessions for older kids, as appropriate. The EMDR therapists at Blue Channel can also provide adjunct therapy modalities to EMDR when necessary to help children process trauma and build mental health skills and resiliency.

    Clinicians: Blue Channel has several licensed and pre-licensed therapists available at each of their three locations across the Denver Metro.

    Locations: Blue Channel has three locations available, in Arvada, Aurora, and Northglenn.

    5460 Ward Rd., Suite 150, Arvada, CO 80002

    14901 E. Hampden Ave., Suite 120, Aurora, CO 80014

    10465 Melody Dr., Suite 215, Northglenn, CO 80234

    Costs and Payment: Blue Channel accepts Medicaid and Cigna insurance plans. Without insurance, the cost is $160 per session, with a sliding scale available for uninsured and underinsured families.

    Walk-in Crisis Centers: Colorado Crisis Services

    If you are currently experiencing a crisis, you can access Colorado Crisis Services by calling 1-844-493-8255 or visiting any of the five walk-in crisis centers across metro Denver. These centers are open 24/7 and offer confidential, in-person crisis support from professional counselors. Crisis feels different for everyone, and crisis counseling can provide support, information, and referrals on a wide range of issues for anyone in need.

    Next Steps: Initiating Services

    Using the guide above has hopefully provided you with a solid starting point for finding mental health support for your child and family. Here are some tips when taking the next step and initiating therapy:

    Open Communication

    Start by having open and honest conversations with your spouse, partner, co-parent, and any other caregivers involved. Discuss the observed challenges or concerns regarding your child’s mental health. Encourage everyone to share their perspectives, fostering a collaborative approach to addressing the child’s needs. Do not avoid direct communication with your child about starting therapy, but be sure to communicate the new experience, like any life transition, in an age-appropriate way. Make sure to ask questions and listen to your child’s thoughts and concerns.

    Schedule Consultations

    Once you’ve identified a potential mental health provider, schedule consultations with them. This is an opportunity to discuss your child’s specific needs, ask questions about therapeutic approaches, and understand the therapist’s skills and philosophy. Engage in open dialogue about the potential duration of therapy, expected outcomes, and any concerns you may have.

    The consultation may unveil that the therapist isn’t a good fit, but this will often lead to productive referrals; any child therapist will want to help you get the right support.

    We’d love for you to reach out today and schedule a consultation with UpliftME by calling us at (720) 295-9086 or emailing us at [email protected]. Our scheduling coordinator will provide a complimentary phone consultation and get you scheduled with one of our therapists.

    Collaborate with the Team: Therapists, Professionals, and Family

    Therapy works best when parents work collaboratively with mental health professionals (therapists, psychologists, or professional counselors), teachers, and medical providers. You can advocate for your child’s mental health by sharing relevant information about your child’s background, experiences, behavioral issues, any symptoms of anxiety, depression, or signs of trauma, and any existing support systems. Collaborate on treatment plans, therapy goals, and strategies and discuss your parenting challenges to ensure that the therapeutic approach aligns with the unique needs of your child and family.

    Stay actively involved in your child’s mental health journey by participating in regular check-ins. Communicate with therapists to track progress, discuss any changes to daily life or any emerging concerns, and adjust the treatment plan as needed. Understand that building an effective therapeutic relationship takes time and effort. Maintaining open communication with co-parents and caregivers ensures a consistent child therapy process and supportive environment.