Trauma Informed Design Research

Trauma is common within society at large and is particularly prevalent amongst vulnerable populations, First Nations peoples and people with Lived Experience of mental health challenges. Trauma informed practice is a strengths-based framework that supports responsiveness to the impact of trauma, enabling physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both providers and survivors.


Jax Wechsler, as part of her human-centred social design practice, often conducts research with people who have lived experience of trauma. She strongly felt that she needed to become more trauma informed in her design practice and completed a Certificate in Trauma Informed Care so that she can conduct her Design Research, Service Design and Co-design practice in a way that helps not harms. Jax is also currently studying neuroscience and embodied transformation as part of her ICF coaching certification. She is interested in the inner work required for change.

Jax has so far delivered Part A of this training to over 200 people from all over the world. Due to popular demand she is offering it again as a 3 part series. It is recommended that you first attend Part A if you plan to attend Part B and/or Part C.

PART A: Trauma Informed Design Research : Process and Practice

In this class you will learn about the five guiding principles of trauma informed practice; safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness and empowerment and learn how to apply them within design research contexts. You will learn some mindsets and practices you can apply within your own practice when working with people who may have experienced trauma. Together we will reflect on how we can make our practice more trauma-informed. You will leave the workshop with a set of principles and practices that will support you to be trauma informed in your design research practice.

PART B: Strength Based Trauma Informed Design Research Methods

In this class you will learn some research and participatory methods that you can use when conducting research with people who have experienced trauma. These practices, drawn from Asset Based Community Development, Community Engagement, TheoryU, Appreciative Inquiry and Participatory Design will support you to be more strengths based and trauma informed in your Design Research, Service Design and Co-design work, empowering you to help and not harm. You will receive a Methods workbook outlining the methods with links to further resources.

PART C: Vicarious Trauma : Looking After You Wellbeing

Vicarious trauma presents a risk for those working in trauma associated contexts including with vulnerable communities, indigenous communities and people who have experienced trauma. In this session we will talk about vicarious trauma and together reflect on how we can best care for ourselves and each other when working with people who have experienced trauma. You will learn some embodiment practices to help you look after your own nervous systems and we will  work on a personal self-care map to help you build personal capacity for trauma stewardship in the work you do.


COURSE 1 End of April (Australia/ NZ/ America times)
COURSE 2  July (Australia/ NZ/ America times)

Get in touch if you are interested in running this for your team or if you want to be notified about the next course

Read an ARTICLE related to the training

About Jax Wechsler

Jax Wechsler is a strategic designer, co-design practitioner and change maker based in Sydney Australia. She has 20 years design related experience and is passionate about systems change and enabling better futures for people and the planet. Jax has a Masters by Research in Design (UTS) and her academic research explores the enabling and mediatory roles of design artefacts for organisational transformation. Jax feels that the inner work is critical for creating sustainable change and is currently training to become a certified coach.

Jax consults as Sticky Design Studio where she draws on multiple influences in her practice such as Human-centred Design, Systems Thinking, Futures Thinking and Community Development approaches. Professionally, Jax is passionate about change doing, learning and capability building. She teaches and mentors people interested in social design and change practices, and founded the Social Design Sydney community of practice in 2013 aimed at supporting change makers to do social and systems change work. Learn more about Jax’s projects and publications at or on LinkedIn.


“Attended Jacqueline (Jax) Wechsler workshop — strong recommend! Trauma-informed research should be considered essential training and part of all DR practice.” – Megan Elyse Bontempo, Design Research Lead,

“Thank you for bringing this topic of conversation to the table in such an informed and articulate way – it has been needed for a long time. I got so much out of it and highly recommend this workshop to my peers who work in design research, co-design and/ or HCD.” – Laura James, Insights & Design Lead, Smith Family

“If Design Research is part of your role particularly in relation to engaging with vulnerable people or communities, I highly recommend this 2-part course with the deeply experienced and wise Jacqueline (Jax) Wechsler. Keep an eye out for upcoming courses or get one tailor-made for your team or organisation.”
– Gina Garvey (WonderWork)

“This morning I completed Part 2 of the Trauma Informed Design Research Masterclass looking at Strengths Based and Appreciative Inquiry as methods and frameworks for researching with vulnerable members of society. These are fantastic sessions, which I’d highly recommend to anyone looking to expand their design research practice”
– Olivia Kirk, Senior Strategic Designer, Tobias Australia

“Attended an awesome class this morning by Jacqueline (Jax) Wechsler on Trauma Informed Design. Great to get a refresher on some of the theory, alongside some new and refined methods I can mould into my own design process. Highly recommend it!”
– Natasha Ballantyne, Experience Strategy Lead, Senior Manager, PwC Experience Consulting

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