Jax Wechsler

Trauma Informed Design Research

“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

Design practice that helps not harms

In 2021 I began running trainings on Trauma Informed Design Research . I regularly deliver this training to organisations and practitioners and have delivered it to over 450 people from all over the world.

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 issues. As a social designer, I have been conducting research with people who have experienced trauma for many years and have often felt ill equipped to be doing this work.

In 2021 I posted  an ARTICLE related to the training, and sharing what I learnt from participants about the state of trauma informed practcie in design contexts.

About the training

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.

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 jaxwechsler.com or on LinkedIn.


• Deloitte Digital
• Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC)
• State Trustees Victoria
• NSW Department of Customer Service
• NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet
• Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
• University of Technology Sydney
• Neami
• ARTD Consultants
• Icon Agency
• ETC. Health – BT Group (UK)
• Dialog Design. (USA)


“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, ideo.org

“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

“Each year I participate in various professional development programs. It’s my way of staying sharp and current in my dual roles as a service designer and trainer. It’s not often that I come across a training program I feel compelled to recommend to others. However, the training led by Jacqueline (Jax) Wechsler stands out significantly – it has effortlessly secured a spot in my top 5 list of all-time favourites.

I firmly believe this course is a “Must-Have” for service designers and CX specialists across all sectors. Jax’s approach to Trauma-Informed Design Research is not just educational; it’s transformative, equipping professionals with the depth of understanding and empathy required to navigate complex service design challenges with sensitivity and insight.
If there’s one investment you make in your professional growth this year, let it be this one.”

“I had the good fortune of spending time with Jax Wechsler recently, attending her Trauma Informed Design Research training with some team mates. I found her approach engaging and really utility focussed – we left with a clear plan of how to pivot our approach to maximise research engagement whilst minimising harm.

We’re currently leading intensive research across Queensland with seven of the most vulnerable cohorts of the community, and I am confident that we approaching it in the most careful and kind way thanks to the grounding Jax gave us.

Highly recommend the 3-part course, the final instalment of the training focussed on how to support yourself during the process and was also of great benefit for the team.”
– Laura Campbell, Partner Deloitte Digital

“We’ve found Jax’s insights enormously informative and it has been so valuable to have the space to collectively reflect on our practice as evaluators and how we can create safe spaces, empowerment, collaboration and choice in evaluations. Plenty of good activities to embed the learning too! Thanks Jax!” – Jade Maloney, CEO ARTD Consultants

“Absolutely loved this ❤️ !! It was great to create space for ourselves as researchers = people and not only as researchers = practitioners. Thanks Jacqueline (Jax) Wechsler, there is a lot I’m itching to put in practice for me and my team.”
– Efi Chatzopoulou, Lead design researcher (Freelancer working at Gov.UK)

Can not recommend this training highly enough! Thanks Jacqueline (Jax) Wechsler for the most recent training. I feel informed, refreshed, and ready to take trauma informed principles into design work :)”

“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

“How often during a #userresearch interview have you felt like the conversation was drifting uncomfortably close to becoming a therapy session? In the health space especially, I found this was happening quite a lot. Which is why I wanted to make sure Etc. Health’s research team was equipped with the right skills and tools to ensure our practice is trauma-informed.

This three-part workshop took us through the science behind how trauma impacts the nervous system, how we as researchers can take best care of our participants and how we can take care of ourselves when dealing with other folks’ trauma. We left feeling energised and confident, with a strong foundational framework for handling our participants responses (and our own) in the right way.

I highly recommend to anybody involved in engaging with research participants. And that’s not just where the subject matter could be predictably triggering – trauma can show up in surprising places.”
– Abigail McLeod, Etc. Health, BT Group

“Jax has had a great deal of experience researching sensitive topics with vulnerable groups. The course has great practical advice and guidance and teaches techniques to re-frame research topics / questions in a way that’s helpful whether you’re researching with vulnerable users or just ones that might come under stress. I wish I had done this years ago! I’ve worked on projects where users weren’t necessarily deemed to be vulnerable or have experienced trauma, but due to circumstance and stressful nature of the research topics, they were indeed sensitive and emotional. I really feel like I’ve gained skills to help my research practice, overall, too. TAKE THIS COURSE!”
– Ann Danylkiw, Senior UX Research contractor.UK


© 2024 Jax Wechsler