Jax Wechsler

Trauma Informed Design Research Trainings

“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 for Social Design Sydney.

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.

Ranging from managing my own wellbeing to ensuring that the people who I am working with feel safe. I don’t feel that we as Designers & Researchers, know enough about trauma and feel it is important that we are more trauma informed in our work. Without understanding Trauma and despite our best intentions it can be very easy for us to cause harm. As a discipline, I strongly feel we need to become more trauma informed. 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.

I took a bit of time off consulting last year after a particularly bust contract to look after my own wellbeing and feed my learning addiction. I completed an online certificate in trauma informed care, holding the question in mind: how might I be more trauma informed in my practice? After taking this course, I wanted to share what I had learnt and my reflections so that others might become more informed in their Design Research work. I presented a talk at the 2021 UX Australia Design Research Conference and started teaching online trainings about Trauma Informed Design Research to individual practitioners and teams.

The course explained the five guiding principles of trauma informed practice; safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness and empowerment and discussed how to apply them within design contexts. Participants learnt some mindsets and practices they can apply within their own practice when working with people who may have experienced trauma. Together we co-created a Trauma Informed Design Research Charter and reflected upon how we can make our practice more trauma-informed. This class was conducted with people from all over the world and I have also been presenting this workshop to organisational teams.

SOME TESTIMONIALS 

“As a former mental health counselor, i was incredibly impressed by the depth and breadth of knowledge in the presentation and especially loved the breakout group activity” – Anonymous via feedback form

“Attended Jacqueline (Jax) Wechsler workshop a few weeks ago — 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

 

© 2021 Jax Wechsler