Child Therapist & Play Therapist Based in Denver
Dr. Kimberly Stokka Merendino is a child therapist that heads up Barnemat Consulting, a play therapy practice for children between the ages of birth and eight years old. While Dr. Kim primarily focuses on children under the age of 8, she is also equipped to treat children up through the age of 18.
Dr. Kim began her child therapy studies with a Master’s degree in counseling from the Denver Seminary. From there, she went to work as a counselor for a preschool and quickly discovered that, even with her Master’s degree, she did not have the skill set necessary to effectively serve as a child therapist. She realized that while her education had been thorough, there was much about early childhood development that she needed to learn in order to follow her passion of helping very young children. This inspired her to continue her studies and receive her Ph.D. in Child and Family Studies from the University of Denver. At the same time, she pursued her hours and coursework to be registered as a Play Therapist and began working in the Denver Metro area.
Work Experience as a Child Therapist in Denver
Dr. Kim has experience working with educators, families, and government personnel both domestically and internationally. While working towards her Ph.D., she coached first-grade teachers in her role with Invest in Kids. After working with preschool children and obtaining her Ph.D., Dr. Kim worked internationally for the Department of Defense as a consultant for military family life which included counseling children in high conflict divorce situations among many other issues. She was able to serve as a counselor for families of those serving to help their children adjust to some of the struggles encountered while having a deployed parent. Dr. Kim also worked nationally for the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies as a Military Child Care Liaison. Additionally, she broadened her child therapy skills by working for the Colorado Department of Early Childhood and for Early Childhood Councils in Colorado.
Dr. Kim’s Passion for Counseling Young & Developing Children
Dr. Kim has been able to draw upon her education and experience as a child therapist in order to serve multitudes of children in the Denver area. She opened her private play therapy practice in 2002 and has been counseling primarily children under the age of 8 since then. She believes her experiences with the Department of Defense and other State, National, and International Services help her understand children in a better and more thorough manner. In a vast amount of her child therapy work, both in paid positions and in volunteer work, Dr. Kim’s role was to deal with and process crises. When families are not thriving, parents often feel that they are in crisis. Dr. Kim counsels children and their families to find ways to regulate their emotions in an effort to avoid living in crisis.
Dr. Kim’s Life Outside of Being a Play Therapist
Dr. Kim was born in Minnesota and moved to Colorado at the age of twelve. She loves keeping up with her husband on ski slopes, attempting to play decent golf, reading a book in the tub, and traveling the world with her family. She has a bernedoodle named Amica (“friend in Italian”) and enjoys taking hikes with her furry friend. More than anything, Dr. Kim enjoys spending time with her family and at family gatherings.