AVP offers free, professional counseling to adult and child co-victims of homicide and victims who have been traumatized by other forms of violence. AVP’s licensed counselors have specialized training and experience in assisting co-victims of homicide and victims of crime.


During the past year the Counseling Center provided more than 1,400 individual and family therapy sessions to 52 child and 248 adult clients. Most of the clients were co-victims of homicide; other clients were victims of domestic violence, aggravated assault, or robbery. AVP therapists utilize a wide range of modalities including play therapy, art therapy, and sand tray therapy. People react differently to traumatic loss and violence. Some of the feelings and behaviors victims commonly experience include difficulty sleeping, emotional numbing, increased anger, social withdraw and feelings of powerlessness. Trauma-specific therapy helps victims process their emotions, communicate with their family, and improve their chances for long-term mental and physical health.


Staff from the Counseling Center provide services at the AVP main office in the Art Museum area, at the Criminal Justice Center, and at AVP’s community-based office in West Philadelphia. Additionally, in the 2010-2011 school year, AVP expanded counseling services into urban schools, where counselors provide individual therapy and run bereavement groups for children and adolescents suffering from traumatic grief. The counseling services have made a positive impact in diminishing trauma-related emotions and behaviors of troubled students, which allows them to succeed academically and socially.


To find out more about counseling services, please contact us at (215) 567-6776 or via email.



Director of Counseling Services – Mary Beth Hays

Clinical director of the counseling center staff, Mary Beth oversees program development and supervises and trains interns and colleagues in theory and clinical practice. Professionally, she focuses on increasing client care by working with families through a systems approach, acknowledging the enormous effect of violence and developing an environment that encompasses a holistic, therapeutic approach. Mary Beth is a licensed social worker and certified Registered Play Therapist Supervisor who received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology specializing in psychology and child development from the University of Kansas.