A Children’s Counseling Center was formed in 1986 by Melinda Hardage and three other women who were commited to raising their own children and in providing quality counseling services to children and families. Over the next years it grew to ten counselors who provide a wide variety of individual, family, and group services.

A Children’s Counseling Center is a group of therapists each of whom maintains a separate and independent private practice. All have extensive experience with children and families which assures you comprehensive mental and behavioral health services.

We believe that childhood should be a time for healthy growth and development with a happy family. For many children and teens, it is a time of great emotional stress. Children react to stress in many way including withdrawal and acting out behaviors at home and school.

Parents and school personnel want to help children become happy, loving adults, however in today’s society this can be a difficult goal. Troubled children and youth usually mean troubled families as everyone becomes part of the problem.

To implement our philosophy and solve family problems, a team approach has been developed. A child psychiatrist and a licensed psychologist are available for consultation and services. We help children and families learn the life skills necessary to be successful.

We have three playrooms that are designed to accommodate different ages and needs of children.

Suggestions for participating in play therapy with your child

Play is the language of children. Play is the way children verbalize what is going on with them cognitively and emotionally. Play is not therapy by itself. In play therapy the therapist enters the child’s world and makes a connection, giving empathy, understanding, and feedback, respecting where they are emotionally, and what they are expressing. Play therapy allows a child to express him/herself, and the play therapist lets the child know he/she is important by providing the attention, time, and nonjudgmental response to what the child is expressing. Parents are asked to follow these guidelines when entering the play therapy setting:

  • Prepare your self prior to play by reminding yourself to leave your “disciplinarian” hat at the door. The therapist will be in charge of the rules of the playroom.This is not the time to educate your child or ask questions. Asking questions makes the child think. This is a time for your child to be creative and emotional.
  • Thebasic rules are that no one gets hurt and nothing gets broken intentionally (breaking it just to break it). All toys remain in the play therapy room. When it is time to leave the play therapy room the child must leave the room.
  • All feelings are okay. Play is a time when children follow their impulses, so difficult emotions may emerge. The playroom is a good place for these feelings. Do not judge or show disapproval in the play therapy room.
  • The child is in charge of the play, follow their lead.
  • The child will choose what activities and toys with which to play. Toys that are not allowed at home, may be allowed in the play therapy room. Do not dissuade the child from playing with these toys in the play therapy setting. Following play, and outside of the play therapy room, you may state that in your household those toys are used only at play therapy.
    If you feel confused about what the play is expressing, try to suspend critical thinking, follow the child’s lead and improvise. This may lead you to a greater understanding of your child’s feeling and beliefs.
  • The therapist will create opportunities to talk about issues that are important to both parent and child, in language adapted to the child’s age.
    You will have opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns after the session when you “de-brief” with the therapist.

What is Play?

Play is the singular central activity of childhood, occuring at all times and in all places. Children do not need to be taught how to play, nor must they be made to play. Play is spontaneous, enjoyable, voluntary and non-goal directed. It is done for its own sake.

What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy is based on the fact that play is a child’s natural medium of communication and expression. In the Play Therapy room, children can “play out” their experiences and feelings in a safe environment. Children can use toys to say what they can’t say with words. There are very few limits imposed on the child in the play room. They are allowed to do as they please, with the exception of hurting themselves or the therapist.


Why is Play Therapy beneficial to children?

  • Play Therapy provides a way for children to work through defenses and handle anxiety.
  • It helps children verbalize feelings.
  • It helps children act out unconscious material and relieves tension.
  • Children can release feelings in a safe environment.

What is the role of the Play Therapist?

The therapist’s responsibility is to go to the child’s level and communicate with them in a way they are comfortable with. The therapist follows the child’s lead, and does not suggest play activities or themes (unless they are using a directed play activity with a therapeutic goal in mind). All of the child’s feelings and thoughts are accepted without judgement.

What is the goal of Play Therapy?

Each child is unique and will take something different from the play therapy experience. Children can learn the following things in play therapy:

  • self-control and responsible freedom of expression
  • to respect themselves
  • that their feelings are acceptable
    to be responsible for self
  • to be creative in confronting and problem solving
    self-acceptance and self-direction
  • to make choices and be responsible for their choices

What is the parent’s/guardians’ role in Play Therapy?

The time in the play room is a special time for children. They should not feel that they have to give a report to anyone, even parents. Play sessions with children are confidential, just like counseling sessions with adults. Therapist usually share with parents general impressions and offer suggestions but don’t share specifics about what was said by the child. Some children request that parents come into the play room for part of the sessions or the therapist may request that you accompany your child into the play room. This allows you and your child to work together in this therapeutic process. Please remember that this is a process and not a product.

Always feel free to address any questions or concerns with your therapist. Your input is very important. You know your child best!

For more information about Play Therapy, please click on the following logo:


We are excited about working with you and your family

and we want to acknowledge your courage and strength for beginning this therapeutic process.


We believe that childhood should be a time for healthy growth and development with a happy family. For many children and teens, it is a time of great emotional stress. Children react to stress in many way including withdrawal and acting out behaviors at home and school…


A Children’s Counseling Center was formed in 1986 by Melinda Hardage and three other women who were commited to raising their own children and in providing quality counseling services to children and families…


A Children’s Counseling Center is a group of therapists each of whom maintains a separate and independent private practice. All have extensive experience with children and families which assures you comprehensive mental and behavioral health services…

Therapy sessions last for 50 minutes and are usually scheduled once a week. This is to help you or your family member develop a trust relationship with the therapist which is the key for success in therapy. Payments can be made at the end of each session. Cancelled appointments must be done prior to 24 hours and a regular fee will be assessed to those appointments canceled within 24 hours.

Your Rights

You may seek a second opinion from another therapist or termnate therapy at any time.
As a client you are entitled to receive information about the method of therapy and techniques used. You are entitled to know the fee structure and duration of therapy if known.

In a professional relationship such as this, sexual intimacy is never appropriate and should be reported to the Grievance Board: State Grievance Board, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1340, Denver, CO 80202

By law the information you share during therapy is legally confidential except:
When there is serious threat of personal harm, harm to others or property.
When sexual or physical abuse on another person is disclosed. In case of a child or an elderly person, neglect may also break your confidentiality.
The court of law may order session notes to be disclosed.

In the case of non-payment for services in order for you name to be given to a collection agency.

Information may also be shared with a billing company to collect payment from you insurance company.

Developing a trusting relationship with your counselor is the key that makes therapy happen. Set goals with your counselor for what you want to accomplish in therapy. If you feel that you are not making the progress that you want, talk to your therapist about this. That what they are there for!

The counselors at A Children’s Counseling Center all have separate and independent private practices and therefore accept different insurances and have their own fee schedules. It is your responsibility to contact your insurance company to make sure that a provider is on that panel and accepts your insurance. It is our aim to provide services to all who need them and many providers accept a sliding fee scale if you do not have insurance. Copay and fees are collected at the time the service is provided in cash or check form.

Meet Our Therapists

A Children’s Counseling Center is a group of therapists each of whom maintains a separate and independent private practice. All have extensive experience with children and families which assures you comprehensive mental and behavioral health services.

Heather Thompson

Theraplay Level 2 (attachment based therapy) trained
Marschak Interaction Method trained

Heather Thompson is a Licensed Professional Counselor that holds a Masters of science from Northwest Nazarene University. With over 12 years of experience working with children and families in various venues, she knows that no two families are exactly alike. Through compassion and understanding, Heather meets each client right where they are in order to create a Safe Place to Grow! Heather believes that we all hold the ability to learn new ways to experience the world and interact with others. Because she does not believe that there is a “one size fits all” or “cookie cutter” approach to therapy, she goes to great lengths to know and understand her clients’ needs. Through a “prescriptive multimodal” approach to therapy; Heather tailors the therapeutic process to each client. She sees clients of all ages from 2 years to adults.
Heather enjoys creative expression and is not one to turn down a good latte, pleasant conversation, or a fresh chocolate chip cookie!
To learn more, visit her web page listed below:
Sliding scale – all major credit cards, cash, and checks accepted.
Some discounted appointment time slots available.
Photo provided by HopeAnn Photography

Vasti Holstun


As a licensed professional counselor and school counselor, Vasti is responsible for working with elementary children, as well as parents and educators. She began her career in Tennessee where she worked in an elementary school providing counseling services to students, teachers and parents. Since 2002, Vasti has taught life skills and provided individual counseling and group counseling to hundreds of children, parents and educators. She has a Masters Degree in Counseling from Southern Adventist University and an Education Specialist Degree in Instructional Leadership from the Tennessee Technical University. Vasti’s counseling experience includes children, adolescents, adults and families. She specializes in bereavement counseling, as well as divorce and family issues, parenting, children and adolescents (solution focused therapy and reality therapy),play therapy, and social skills.

Insurance – Humana/Lifesync, United, Value Options/Kaiser, Tricare, Aetna, Cigna, CHP+, Victims Comp, CHAMPVA, Anthem BCBS, PCHS Multiplan, Magellan, & some sliding fee

Jamye Rico


Jamye is a Licensed Professional Counselor located at A Children’s Counseling Center in Colorado Springs. She is a graduate of University of Colorado – Colorado Springs with her BA in Psychology. She then continued her education at the University of Phoenix – Colorado Springs and completed her Masters degree in Community Counseling.

Jamye specializes in working with children and families in both Play and Family Therapy settings.

She has over 14 years of experience working with children and families and she offers supervision for LPC and RPT credentials.

Jamye believes that all parts of the family are important for the successful emotional and physical development of children and healthy families.

Insurance – Value Options, Medicaid, Victims Comp

Amy Padron


 Collaborating with and empowering individuals through their struggles, is
Amy’s intention when providing counseling services. She works with adults,
teens and children (7 yrs +).

Prior to joining A New Day Adult Counseling and A Children’s Counseling
Center, Amy was a first responder. She has 15 years of experience helping
people in crisis/trauma. Amy is now transforming her unique experience to
continue to help others through therapy. Amy knows everyone is a unique
individual. She uses a holistic approach to therapy and utilizes a variety of
techniques/methods tailored to meet the needs of her clients. Amy
specializes in trauma informed therapy. She has experience working with
domestic abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse/neglect, PTSD, complicated grief,
depression, self-esteem and other problematic issues.

Amy earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from
the University of Northern Colorado, a CACREP program. Amy holds
certification as a National Certified Counselor.
Self-pay on a sliding scale-cash and credit cards accepted.
Amy is currently accepting new clients.

Jan Wilkenson


Building nurturing relationships with children, parents and/or caregivers, and individuals is Jan’s goal.  Within this context, she uses trauma-related play therapy, bonding and attachment enhancing techniques, an emphasis in emotion intelligence instruction and other various interactive modalities while working with children and adults.

She enjoys working with children from three years olds to fourteen, their parents/caregivers and adults.  Enhancing parenting skills often becomes an important part of the therapeutic process when working with her young clients.

Naturally intuitive and compassionate, her counseling approach has been developed over the years through extensive work with families, teens, and children in volunteer, faith-based settings, as well as in the professional counseling environment.  She received her Master’s Degree in Counseling at Colorado Christian University, a CACREP approved program.

Self-pay on a “sliding scale” is available via all major credit cards, medical reimbursement cards, checks, and cash.

Jessica Lee


TBRI Practitioner
Theraplay Level 1 & Marschak Interaction Method trained

Jessica is passionate about helping individuals and families along their journey of healing. Her unique perspective and experience involving various aspects of attachment and trauma-informed care influences her integrative approach in working with clients. She has experience working with trauma, attachment challenges, communication, and connection struggles, spiritual issues, marriage struggles, parenting challenges, individual and marriage attachment challenges, and other additional areas. She has completed training in TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intevention) at Texas Christian University, and Theraplay Level 1, and Marschak Interaction Method. She also has completed a Post-Graduate Certificate in Counseling Children and Adolescents from Regis University, and continues to seek out various interventions and training related to brain development and interpersonal neurobiology.

Jessica earned her Master of Arts Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Regis University, and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology at Evangel University. She has over 10 years’ experience working with children, adults and families in psychiatric, residential, and other community based settings.
Self Pay is on a sliding scale  –  Cash and Check are accepted.
Jessica is currently accepting new clients and works with individuals, families, couples, parents and children of all ages.
To learn more, visit her webpage listed below:

Shelli Foster

MA, Ed.S, LPC, RPT, EMDR, Theraplay Level 2 (attachment based therapy) trained, Marschak Interaction Method trained

As a parent, if our child is showing behavioral or emotional signs that he or she is struggling, we struggle too. My approach is to work with both you and your child. I utilize play therapy, a powerful tool that allows children to experience significant shifts in their behaviors as well as their feelings about themselves and the world around them. I specialize in working with children who have experienced loss such as divorce, loss of a loved one, adoption or frequent deployments, children who have experienced trauma, and children who have significant behavior problems.

Play therapy will help your child develop empathy, identify and understand his or her feelings, and learn and practice skills that he or she can use throughout life to solve problems. When children are able to master some of their problems, deal more effectively with daily stress and move toward increased self awareness and healthy choices, they feel better about themselves.

I have dedicated years of study to understanding brain development and its influence on emotions and behaviors. My work experience with children has spanned over 20 years and has included schools and residential settings, as well as clinical and private practice for the last seven years. As a military spouse of 23 years, I have a special interest in working with military families.

I hold a M.A. in Counseling from the University of North Dakota and an Ed.S. in Counselor Education from the University of South Carolina with specific certifications in play therapy, Theraplay 1 and 2, EMDR, and Circle of Security Parent Training Model. I work with an age range of three years to adolescents.

Insurance: TRICARE, United Health Care (military), Cigna

Barbara Schooler


As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Barbara offers a wide range of counseling services for couples, families, adults, and children. Prior to joining A Children’s Counseling Center and A New Day Adult Counseling in 2002, she spent several years as a therapist with the Pikes Peak Mental Health Child and Family team. Barbara received a Masters Degree in Psychology with an emphasis on Marriage, Family, and Child therapy from Chapman University.

Barb is not taking any new clients at this time.

Linda S. Klein


Linda has been in private practice at A Children’s Counseling Center since 1990. Services she provides are:

  • Completed Level 2 Theraplay Training
  • Workshops and Trainings in Play Therapy
  • Training for Preschool Staff
  • Supervision for Licensing
  • Supervision for Registered Play Therapist
  • Adoption-Needs Assessment and Reports
  • Marshak Interactional Assessments
  • Workshops on Parenting, Filial Therapy and Adoption

Supervision and Consultation is critical for the therapist to provide services in the best interest of the client, and will provide the support you need to be successful in your job and set boundaries that lead to a healthy lifestyle. Your supervisor will be your coach, mentor and teacher. She will listen to the difficulties you are experiencing with your clients, teach you new skills, and cheer you on with your successes.


1 hour Supervision or Consultation          $95

2 hours of Group Supervision                  $40

Individual supervision or consultation may be in person or via Skype or phone.

Colorado Play Therapy Training offers an integrative approach and presents workshops on a wide variety of topics of interest to counselors. For a listing of upcoming trainings or to register for a class contact www.colorado-play-therapy-training.com.

Linda is not accepting new clients at this time.

For additional information contact me below:




Developmental Team Approach

Although we maintain independent and separate private practices, each of us is committed to the concept of team approach to providing services to children, teens, families, adults, and couples. Please contact us to see which of our therapists best fit your therapeutic needs.

The counselors at A Children’s Counseling Center all have separate and independent private practices and therefore accept different insurances and have their own fee schedules. It is your responsibility to contact your insurance company to make sure that a therapist is on that panel and accepts your insurance.

Counseling and Treatment

  • Individual Therapy
  • Play Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Group Counseling
  • Individual Therapy
  • Couples Counseling

Diagonsis and Evaluation

Comprehensive pschological/social evaluation of families and individuals as well as

  • educational assessments
  • psychoeducation
  • interactional evaluations

Education and Groups

  • Workshops
  • Filial Therapy
  • Supervision for Professional Liscensure
  • Supervision for Play Therapy Certification

How to find us

We’re located behind the Quick Quack Car wash off of Austin Bluffs.

From the intersection of Academy and Austin Bluffs, proceed east on Austin Bluffs. Turn right at the next light onto Beverly Place. Turn left onto Date Street. The building is a house on the right hand (south) side of Date Street.

A Children’s Counseling Center
4251 Date Street,
Colorado Springs, CO, 80917

tel: (719) 639 – 4869

How to reach us

The main number for A Children’s Counseling Center is (719) 639-4869. Your call is important to us and we make every effort to return phone calls within 24 hours.

Emergency Calls

If your call is an emergency you will need to call 911 or go to the emergency room.

Urgent Calls

If you have an urgent call for your counselor please call the individual voice mail number and follow instructions for urgent calls. Counselors do not interrupt sessions to answer or return phone calls. See our provide page for individual counselors contact information.


A Children's Counseling Center
4251 Date Street,
Colorado Springs, CO, 80917

Tel: (719) 639 - 4869

Colorado APT


4251 Date Street, Colorado Springs, CO, 80917