Trauma Informed Design Research Methods
Design research methods that helps not harms

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. Increasingly, NGO and public organisations who work with people who have experienced trauma are committing to becoming trauma informed. Despite our very best intentions, it can be easy to unintentionally cause harm when conducting research with people who have experienced trauma. Designers working with people who have experienced trauma, need to commit to being more trauma informed.

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, 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.


  1. Thursday June 24, 9:00am – 11am (AEST – Australia, Sydney, ACT, Melbourne)
    which is Wednesday June 23, 4:00pm-6:00pm (PDT – USA, LA)
  2. Tuesday June 29, 4:30pm-6:30pm (AEST – Australia, Sydney, ACT, Melbourne)
    which is Tuesday June 29, 7:30am-9:30am (GMT/BST – UK, London)

There is also an Introduction to Trauma Informed Design Research class which would serve as a useful foundation for this class.

About Jax Wechsler

Jax Wechsler
 is a strategic designer and change maker based in Sydney Australia. She often conducts research with people who have lived experience of trauma and felt that she needed to become more trauma informed in her design practice. In 2020 she completed a Certificate in Trauma Informed Care and is very passionate about helping other designers be more trauma informed in their work.

Jax has over 15 years design related experience and is passionate about systems change and enabling better futures for people and the planet. She 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 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 or sharing. She teaches and mentors people interested in social design and change practices, and has founded two communities of practice, Social Design Sydney in 2013 and more recently the Systems Change Salon aimed at supporting change makers to do social and systems change work. Learn more about Jax’s projects and publications at or on LinkedIn.


“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 for anyone that wants to join the other class that’s happening next week!” – Natasha Ballantyne, Experience Strategy Lead, Senior Manager, PwC Experience Consulting

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