Learnings from Applying Trauma-Informed Principles to the Research Process (Matt Bernius, Rachael Dietkus, Aditi Joshi, Alba Villamil): readings and other resources

Resources mentioned in the presentation


Resource Guide for Attendees

Created by: aditi joshi, Alba Villamil, Rachael Dietkus, & Matt Bernius

Definitions & Concepts

  • Trauma ​​is a response to anything that’s overwhelming and that happens too much, too fast, too soon, and/or for too long and is coupled with a lack of protection or support. Trauma is not simply an emotional or psychological response; it lives in the body, stored as sensation, such as pain or tension – or is a lack of sensation, like numbness. It is deeply contextual and does not impact us all in the same way.

    Trauma is also systemic and structural. Black, brown, unhoused, migrant, trans, and other historically and intentionally excluded groups have disproportionately experienced trauma at the hands of the products, policies, services, and systems that have been created by those in power. 
  • Some of the forms of trauma include:
    • Acute Trauma mainly stems from a single distressing event. The event is extreme enough to threaten a person’s emotional or physical security. Examples include: house fire, car accident, physical assault, etc.
    • Chronic Trauma occurs when someone is exposed to multiple, long-term, and/or prolonged distressing, traumatic events over an extended period of time. Examples include: long term serious illness, bullying, experiencing ongoing food or housing insecurity.
    • Vicarious trauma & secondary traumatic stress stems from indirect exposure to traumatic events through stories or images. Examples include: front line workers who work with traumatized people, researchers interviewing individuals on sensitive topics like domestic violence.
    • Collective trauma occurs when direct exposure to traumatic event(s) impact a group of people, community, or society. Examples include: Pandemics, living in a community experiencing ongoing violence.
    • Intergenerational trauma happens when the traumas experienced by one generation are passed on to the next. Examples include: ongoing impact of alcoholism within a family, impact of historic racism on members of BIPOC communities.
    • Complex trauma is a result of exposure to varied and multiple traumatic events and/or experiences. Complex trauma can, and often does, combine any of the above forms of trauma. Examples include: domestic violence, racism, childhood neglect, childhood sexual abuse. 
  • Traumatization is the initial experience (or experiences in the case of chronic or complex trauma) becoming embedded in the body. Retraumatization when new stresses activate someone’s existing trauma, leading to that trauma becoming more increased and further entrenched.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s 6 Guiding Principles of Trauma Informed Approaches:
    • Safety
    • Trustworthiness & transparency
    • Peer support
    • Collaboration & mutuality
    • Empowerment & choice
    • Cultural, historical & gender issues 

Web resources on trauma-informed approaches

Videos and podcast episodes on trauma and being trauma-informed

Books related to trauma and trauma-informed approaches

Resources for talking with children about trauma



Resources on self care

Organizations and groups offering workshops or open discussion groups on trauma informed approaches and self care

Social Workers Who Design, a social justice and social impact design consultancy dedicated to advocacy and trauma-responsive practices in design, research, and organizational leadership.


Additional Resources (mentioned by the conference audience)