The Avalon Center for Integrative Therapies

The Beginning…

After fifteen years in the field, our Founder, Karen J. Helfrich, LCSW-C, created what would become The Avalon Center for Integrative Therapies (formerly Avalon Psychotherapy Associates) as a center for healing and mental wellness.

As a young(ish!) clinician, Karen wanted to facilitate deep transformative healing. However, Karen found that solely talking about problems and gaining insight about them only resulted in identifying “what’s wrong” and “why it’s wrong,” but talking about it over and over did not result in healing from it.

However, following the birth of her child,  Karen heard the term “body-centered therapy” from a beloved parenting coach. She wasn’t sure, yet, what “body-centered therapy” was, but the term felt electric to her and she knew she needed it in her life as a client and a clinician.

Since this time, Karen has taken a deep dive into the world of mindfulness-based, trauma-informed, somatic modalities for healing and psychotherapy.

From the moment Karen began bringing these innovative treatments into the therapy space, she saw her clients begin to experience the deep healing and transformation she so longed to provide.

Karen listens for the story the symptoms tell us about what happened. Using a lens of interpersonal neurobiology, trauma, and a parts conceptualization of self, Karen facilitates clients learning to work with their nervous system and coping strategies to create true healing and repair. Most mental health symptoms and distress are normal human nervous systems responses to experiences and environments that are not designed for us to thrive in wholeness. We are not weak. We are strong, creative, and survivors.

Healing comes from understanding that we are not broken. We can develop emotion regulation skills, engage in integrating experiences, and cultivate inner worlds that are safe and nurturing. From a place of embodiment, we can move through the world with confidence and wholeness. We can reclaim what was lost when we faced trauma We can learn to trust ourselves, our decision-making, and claim satisfaction and joy.

Join the Avalon community and reclaim your birthright to embodiment, wholeness and joy.


Many people seeking therapy are learning that there are many therapies available today that are quite different than the psychodynamic and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that has typically been available.

Newer treatments include not only talking about difficulties, but using mindfulness to facilitate experiential healing in session. No longer are we focused on simply coping with mental health challenges, but healing the embodied origins of these challenges.

Training in the following modalities includes many hours of live training and consultation up through levels 2 in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and Embodied Recovery, as well as Certications in the Safe and Sound Protocol and Financial Social Work.

Please see our Affiliate Biographies for information about their background and training.


Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) is a therapeutic modality for trauma and attachment issues. SP welcomes the body as an integral source of information which can guide resourcing and the accessing and processing of challenging, traumatic, and developmental experience. SP is a holistic approach that includes somatic, emotional, and cognitive processing and integration.

SP enables clients to discover and change habitual physical and psychological patterns that impede optimal functioning and well-being. SP is helpful in working with dysregulated activation and other effects of trauma, as well as the limiting belief systems of developmental issues.

SP helps clients cultivate their strengths, while providing enough challenge to stimulate growth, long lasting change, and well-being.

-Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute

Embodied Recovery

Welcome to EMBODIED RECOVERY for EATING DISORDERS (ERED) – a trauma-informed, relationally oriented, and neurobiologically supported approach to the treatment of eating disorders that weaves modalities and interventions based on the latest research in traumatology, interpersonal neurobiology, and child development.

Drawing on principles from Polyvagal Theory, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy®, Sensory Integration, and Body-Mind Centering®, EMBODIED RECOVERY for EATING DISORDERS offers training, consultation, and program development for physical and mental health professionals.

-Embodied Recovery Institute

Safe and Sound protocol

Pioneered by Dr. Stephen Porges, the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is an evidence-based listening therapy that helps shift the nervous system to be more present and regulated while improving client capacity for connection and receptivity to other therapies.

A non-invasive vagal nerve stimulator, the SSP is designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience by re-patterning the auditory and nervous systems for safety and connection.

-Unyte/Integrated Listening Systems

Financial Wellness

The Financial Social Work Certification is an accredited financial wellness program for social work professionals, mental health, and finance professionals. The program materials go beyond dollars, cents, debt, budgets, and crisis intervention to provide a customizable, strengths-based, behavioral model that is heavily psychosocial.

-Center for Financial Social Work

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