Trauma-Informed Design Essentials June 2022

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Blended course


If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is that we must anticipate and plan for trauma as it emerges in our work, our lives and the lives of those around us.

Many of us have seen - and experienced ourselves - trauma that comes in many shapes and sizes. From bullying to low-lying but ever-present isolation of working (or studying) from home, trauma is a response to that which is overwhelming and that happens either too much, too fast, or for too long.

This course aims to help researchers and designers to respond with compassion and dignity–to understand and integrate a trauma-responsive approach to our work with individuals, teams, organizations, and communities. 

Through real-life examples, you will explore how concepts from fields like social work can be integrated into the research and design process to centre the safety and empowerment of the individuals and communities we serve.

The course is led by Rachael Dietkus, a licensed clinical social worker, certified clinical trauma professional, design researcher, and strategist. After years of study and practice, Rachael is a fierce advocate for thoughtfully integrating models of care into design teams and strengthening systems thinking and trauma literacy throughout the entire design process.

What to expect

In this course, you’ll experience two ways of learning:

  • A 120-minute live, online session with in-depth discussions about the self-paced materials and an interactive diagnostic case study applying the 6 trauma-informed care principles to a real research project.

What you will learn

  • Learn the history and evolution of trauma from both a clinical and design perspective.
  • Build an understanding of different forms of trauma and how it presents in our design-centred work.
  • Explore a set of principles and tools for working with individuals and communities that have experienced impacts from a breadth of trauma.
  • Learn foundational principles for scoping socially-engaged projects and conducting trauma-informed design research.
  • Identify practical ways to integrate the trauma-informed care principles into your own design practice, enhancing your ability to respond with compassion and dignity.

Who is this for

This course is for designers working on complex challenges with individuals or communities that have experienced impacts from a breadth of trauma including those working in innovation, social impact, change, justice or with historically marginalized and excluded populations.

You may be a:

  • User Experience (UX) or Customer Experience (CX) designer who wants to explore design research and ethics in more depth.
  • Designer in government looking to learn about systems-level impacts of civic and policy design on communities and people.
  • Design researcher or service designer looking for a deeper understanding of power dynamics, standards of care and how to "do no harm."
Trainers/hosts to be announced.
Pay by invoice
June 15, 2022
Dates and Times

Live, online session
15 June 2022
08:00-10:00 (Los Angeles)
10:00-12:00CST (Chicago)
17:00-19:00 CEST (Berlin/Paris)

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