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Community Guidelines

The goals of these guidelines are to help us avoid hierarchical power dynamics (which to be clear, I have absolutely nothing against enthusiastically-consented-to hierarchical power dynamics in one’s personal life!), and take excellent care of each other (I really love how this tends to be a place where we lift each other up and are generous with support).

1) Avoid any behaviors that exploit community members, supervisees, employees, and colleagues.

2) Each profile on the website must represent the provider shown in the profile, and not their employer or colleagues at their practice. Profiles must list contact information that is received directly by the provider in the profile, not the practice. Community members must be able to contact the provider directly and not be referred elsewhere in the practice unless that provider is not available and the community member has asked for referrals.

3) Engage your active listening skills when reading and replying to posts, and take a minute to read and think about your reply to confirm it’s responding to what’s being asked. Not only is this a sign of respect and care, but it’s a way to avoid doing harm.

For example: If a colleague makes a request on behalf of a client seeking a provider of color, it’s offensive and inappropriate to suggest someone who is not a person of color. This counts as a microaggression, and, for the sake of clarity, “micro” in this word does not mean inconsequential, it refers to interactions that are one-on-one or one-on-few. In other words, microaggressions are aggressively harmful regardless of intent, and they take place on a micro level.

4) Be clear and respectful in all posts. This includes an active pursuit of nuance in our perspectives and communications on the listserv, and the rejection of simplistic stereotypes and assumptions (e.g., stereotyping Muslims and Palestinians as terrorists, and assuming all Jewish people are Zionists, or all anti-Zionists are antisemitic).

We have a range of providers on this site, some of whom are new therapists or therapists-in-training, and others who are different kinds of health and wellness providers who might be unfamiliar with psychotherapy jargon or thought processes. Please keep in mind that most of us don’t know each other IRL, so it’s not a good idea to make assumptions about each other’s practices. Also, giving the benefit of the doubt or staying silent may not always be a best practice when it comes to doing no harm. Regardless, please approach all conversations with respect and compassion, including when disagreeing. 

For example, with content related to mandated reporting (i.e., required reporting of current child or elder abuse, and active suicidal or homicidal ideation): If we post a request for referrals or information containing information about a person whose experience would require a mandated reporter to report, it would be a good idea to provide information confirming that any necessary resources have already been provided (if they have). This way people on the list can feel confident that our community is acting safely on behalf of those seeking help, plus it’s good modeling for each other. (Also, whenever I mention mandated reporting, it feels important to add a reminder that involving law enforcement or 911 isn’t always in the best interest of all clients, given that people of color, trans people, and sex workers are often mistreated, assaulted, or worse by LE and 911 responders.)

5) Regarding types of things to post—please keep asking for support, resources, referrals when you need to, and offering educational and/or uplifting resources when you come across things you love and want to share. It’s also totally fine to promote your own or someone else’s work you’re excited about, as long as it’s relevant and feels helpful to the list. And silly fun things relevant to our communities are very welcome too, because we all need some levity, especially nowadays!

6) Shoot for better-than-HIPAA posting standards to protect clients’ identities, since our community members are at higher risk than the general population. 

  • Provide the minimum amount of information needed to find the referral you’re looking for; avoid including too many client identifiers.
  • It’s safer to provide details on the qualities and identities of the therapists you’re looking for than to describe the client in great detail.
  • Avoid copying and pasting a client’s own words, and edit down anything that feels unnecessary or too identifiable.
  • Remember: The smaller the group is, the more identifiable it is, and more intersecting identities means an even smaller and more identifiable group.

7) Do not add people from the Manhattan Alternative listserv and website to other email subscription lists without their explicit permission.

8) Moderation hasn’t felt necessary to date, but to keep our list feeling like a safe, respectful, and informative place, I’m open to taking action as needed or requested. To this end, I would be grateful to hear about anyone who has not been following the above guidelines. My first step will be to try and address the issue by reaching out to have what I hope would be a gracious and productive conversation. If the issue keeps happening, my next step would be to remove people from the site and listserv.

If it comes to my attention that you have not followed these guidelines, you may be removed from the listserv and the website.

If you’re ever not sure about something you want to post, need clarification on any of the above, or want to let me know anonymously about a concern you have about someone on the website, please contact me and/or Sula Malina directly at contact@ManhattanAlternative.com and/or therapy@DulcineaPitagora.com. If you don’t want to be anonymous, you can always post to everyone the list by sending an email to ManhattanAlternative@googlegroups.com and we can discuss it; please note that if your post is not thoughtfully nuanced, compassionate, and respectful, you may be removed from the listserv and website.

Our mission: We are by community for community, and specialize in providing affirming support to BDSM/kink-, CNM/poly-, GNC/trans-, and/or LBG/queer/non-straight-identified people as well as current and former sex workers. We expand through community connections and ethical, non-exploitative practice. We vet providers for within-community references, online presence, and current credentials as applicable.  We interact with providers and community in a way that’s empowering and affirming. We listen and are flexible.

Our vision: To maintain a collaborative and mutually empowering and supportive space, created by and for our intersecting community members; and continue expanding our network of mutually empowering support, with a focus on information sharing and referral exchanges, among providers identifying with and serving our intersecting communities.