Trauma-informed design is about integrating the principles of trauma-informed care into design with the goal of creating physical spaces that promote safety, well-being and healing. This requires realizing how the physical environment affects identity, worth and dignity, and how it promotes empowerment.

Science tells us that built space can have a positive impact on our physiological and emotional state. And there is great opportunity to heal with intentional, trauma-informed design by integrating direct experiences of nature- water features, greenscapes, natural light, etc. and specific color selections, wall and furniture placement, textures, and clear wayfinding.


The trauma of sexual assault and all its forms is among us. It deserves our immediate attention and a strong and sensitive response. The pain and consequences of it unfold differently for each person. Ultimately, Trauma-Informed Design helps to ensure that the built environment is a healing space and does not re-traumatize. 


Fortunately, healing is among us. For years, Avalon has been exemplary in utilizing the principles of Trauma-Informed Care. Its new facility must mirror that in design. Trauma-Informed Design is the practice of integrating these principles in the design space. This helps to ensure that users of the space encounter a healing space aimed at not re-traumatizing survivors.

Art Therapy

Yoga and Healing Room

Art Gallery

Meditation Room


The Healing Garden promotes connectedness to the natural world and is designed as part of a broader trauma-informed design approach for the whole healing center.

  • Garden is designed in the shape of a butterfly symbolizing transformation
  • Many or most of the flowers are selected to attract butterflies and hummingbirds and to continuously provide “rolling” color throughout the seasons.
  • The Dogwood trees (white, flowering trees toward the back of the garden) represent new life and resurrection Garden is designed to act as an extension of the Atrium and can be used as one large open space for community or fundraising events (no impediments or obstructions in the space for event design)
  • Garden is also designed to take advantage of created vistas for such events including the placement of the fountain so as to be seen from the Atrium inside as well as in the Garden
  • Bench Seating is sustainable and part of the overall theme of concave/convex shapes welcoming guests to be seated and to enjoy the Garden. Seating also includes trauma-informed design, by placing concave benches at angles to create safety and promote conversation if desired or to allow for quiet contemplation alone
  • Some bench seating is on wheels which allows for individualization (key element of trauma-informed design) All of the plants, shrubs and flowers are native species to Michigan


Healing Atriums are therapeutic by nature. Living plants, living walls and other natural vistas that are accessible all year long are a vital component to providing a dynamic healing opportunity.

The Healing Atrium utilizes biophilic design, which is intended to offer direct experience to nature. Nature is universally healing. Avalon is a wholly inclusive healing center and connection to nature is inherently inclusive. Integrating biophilia allows all who enter to experience the non-judgmental embrace of nature like the warmth of the sun or vertical green oases interspersed with glass walls. The Mosaic provides a glorious focal point and represents what we show to the world and what lies underneath; either way the beauty is mirrored. The atrium stairway is built into what feels like a hillside pathway that beckons visitors to traverse it. Concave seating provides momentary respite for mindfulness. Green walls rising vertically exhibit an ascendant path for survivors on their journey to healing. The glass panes draw the eye up also and offer natural light and transparency, as do the windows above. The water features provide tranquility and drown out any outside influences affording the perfect momentary getaway. The medallion serves as a central focal point on the floor and can act as a walking mandala – its circular design symbolizes the idea that life is never ending and everything is connected. It also represents a spiritual journey within the viewer