Kristen Zuzek (Volk), MSW

Kristen Volk, Parenting by Connection, DenveryHand in Hand Parenting came into Kristen’s life after her young family experienced multiple incidences of trauma.  The parenting approach not only prompted healing for her children and herself, but it also provided solutions for everyday family challenges.  With the support of the Listening Tools, Kristen quickly became an empowered parent leading a transformation in her own family.  Her family’s success inspired her to leave her 20-year executive career to become a Certified Instructor of Hand in Hand Parenting.

Kristen says, “I enjoy empowering parents in understanding how our children communicate non-verbally and through their behaviors.  I used to be plagued with thoughts like ‘What in the world do I do with this uncooperative, controlling, crazy, %!#*%#! behavior?’ Responding with punishment, control, a lecture, or even saintly patience either left me exhausted or escalated into a power struggle.  But I know that when I keep myself resourced and I focus on connection, the ultimate outcome is a deeper, more meaningful relationship with my children.  My confidence in my parenting has really grown, and we are all enjoying more laughter, play and joy in our lives.”

Kristen is passionate about teaching classes, giving talks, leading support groups, and providing one-on-one consultations.  Here’s a list of her Denver-based classes, her on-line classes, and her ongoing, telephone-based, weekly support group. A list of her most common workshops are here. You can find her online classes here.

Kristen’s interests are varied, including finding creative solutions for challenging behaviors (from difficulty with brushing teeth and separation to nail-biting, sibling rivalry, nightmares, aggression, homework and more).  She also has special interests in and experience with divorce, child and adult trauma, special needs children, single parenting, domestic violence, long term illnesses, medical procedures, loss, and bullying.

Kristen is a therapist in Colorado and is also a trained practitioner of restorative practices and restorative justice. She is a single mother living with her two teenage children in Denver, Colorado.

Connect with Kristen now on her Facebook page and read about her experiences of Parenting by Connection in her family on our blog. or email Kristen directly.

What parents are saying about Kristen:

“I attend every possible class Kristen teaches.  Kristen’s help has been instrumental in shifting me from an old paradigm to a model of connection that truly works and has built a deeper and more meaningful relationship with my children.  Every step of the way, she has given me the kind of gentle encouragement I needed to experiment at my own pace and find my own form of success.  At the same time her warm approach has created so much safety that I am breaking through the blocks that have prevented me from being a fuller parent.  I feel so capable and empowered now.  Kristen inspires us to practice the tools in class and her own personal experiences are so heartening and real.  Every parent should spend time with Kristen.” – Mother of 9 year old girl and 5 year old boy, Westminster, Colorado

“I just completed the Beginning Emotional Understanding class with Kristen Zuzek (Volk). Although I already have a Masters in Early Childhood Education I was at a loss parenting my very intense child. After years of seeking support for our parenting through multiple channels I find that, for the first time, I feel a sense of hope that we may be able to repair our relationship. Thank you so much for these strategies, based on neuroscience, that are making a difference in our family.”  E. Adams, mother of two in Lakewood, CO.


“Kristen is an incredible teacher and example of what she teaches.  Her understanding of how children and parents connect is evident as she responds to questions and concerns that I have.  I love how she is able to connect with me and give me the confidence to try these amazing tools.  She has taught me how to use these tools to fulfill the specific needs of my children.  She understands that parents and children aren’t perfect and that it takes time to nourish these skills.  I love how she listens to me and helps me work through my struggles as a parent.  Her warmth and empathy to her students makes it easy to trust her and I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to be her student and learn how to connect to my children”.  K. Simpson, mother of three in Lakewood, CO.


“The Building Emotional Understanding class I took with Kristen truly helped my family and I in more ways than I could ever count.  The tools and insights provided have shifted our dynamic at home in countless ways and I am enjoying richer and more fulfilling connections with my children. (What could be greater than that!) I now have a deep understanding of what their challenging behaviors are rooted in and am able to build connection to both prevent off track behavior and lovingly set limits with my children when needed.  I could go on and on about how amazing this class is but to be honest you have to experience it for yourself.  My family is more connected and happier thanks to the wisdom and rich offerings of this class and I am sure we will continue to grow and flourish because of it.  Thank you Kristen!”  S. Jones, mother of three in Denver, CO.