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What is Trauma-informed Design?

Our physical environment can impact our emotions and behaviors, both negatively and positively.  They have the ability to increase or reduce our stress.  The spaces in which we live and receive services can communicate safety and promote supportive relationships, or they can symbolize lack of dignity and agency, encouraging re-traumatization.

Trauma-informed design is about integrating the principles of trauma-informed care, as originally established by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and continually evolving, into design.  The goal is to create physical spaces that promote safety, well-being, and healing.  This requires realizing how the physical environment affects identity, worth, and dignity, and how it promotes empowerment.

In order to truly create a space that will support healing in survivors, it is important to cultivate an understanding of the people who will use the space, their identities, culture, and what is important to them, as well as the surrounding community.  That understanding can then be used to anticipate and mitigate potential triggers, maximize choice, and create a safe, comfortable environment.  As the users of the space develop a sense of safety, they can build resilience, strengthen their ability to emotionally regulate, and better access new opportunities.

Our Commitment

With the involvement of Trauma-informed Consultants, you can rest easy knowing that you are receiving the best-of-the-best in this field.  As leaders of one of the only trauma-informed design organizations in the world, our knowledge of this burgeoning field enables us to provide a service to your firm which will be uniquely beneficial for each specific project and the occupants it will serve.  We bring empathy, while using evidence-based design practices to enhance the experience of the end-user community of the spaces you create.  This results in safe, holistic, soothing, forward-thinking, and potentially award-winning design. With our combined experience, we bring the elusive element of resilience to your projects, resulting in deeply profound and successful designs you can point to and showcase as a symbol of your quality and brand.

Meet Our Co-Founders

Janet E. Roche, MDS CAPS

Universal Designer

Janet is a leader in designing for health and wellness and is faculty at the Boston Architectural College (BAC) where she has taught Environmental Health, Human Conditions + Design, and, currently,  Biophilia. She also sits as the BAC’s current Chair of the Alumni Advisory Council.

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Christine Cowart, MA

Trauma-Informed Consultant

Christine Cowart is a dually certified trauma professional and a member of the ACEs Connection’s Speakers and Trainers Bureau. She has built a career as a policy analyst in the human services field, with a focus on justice systems and family services. Through this work, she developed an in-depth understanding of trauma, its possible effects, and what can be done to change the story.

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