FreeTree: Google Group for Mental Health Professionals

Join FreeTree

Welcome to FreeTree, a closed group for licensed mental health professionals and those who are on the path to licensure. To avoid breaches of client confidentiality, unlicensed folks in related fields are not accepted into this group.

This is a moderated group, meaning that individuals who do not abide by the Community Guidelines will be subject to the actions listed below under “G. Failing to honor and comply with the Community Guidelines.” It is a place of community and rich interaction. The group is focused on the Bay Area of San Francisco, CA, but professionals from other locations are welcome as well.

This is intended to be a place for people to feel safe in:

  • Requesting referrals and information.

  • Posting upcoming events and trainings/workshops.

  • Announcing practice opening/closing/changing events.

  • Periodically sharing practice/service specialties and information.

  • Posting available office and group space.

  • Provide information of interest to the mental health community.

FreeTree is not a consultation group. The platform for the group is Google Groups, which is not secure or HIPAA-compliant. Please do not post any information about clients.

Moderators – The moderators of this group are professionals with full lives who volunteer to do this work. Please be patient with us. We may not always be able to respond right away. It is also helpful if you become educated about using Google Groups and perform simple changes yourself when possible.

All members of this group are intelligent and well-educated with full professional and personal lives. Each person is responsible for managing his/her/their membership to the group, as well as his/her/their behavior in a professional manner at all times. Accordingly, the following Community Guidelines are necessary:

A. Please do NOT:

  1. Engage in political debate…there are many other forums available for that.

  2. Engage in character assassination, accusations, or general “snark” about people or organizations. There may be other forums for that. This is not the place.

  3. Post confidential client information. Ever. Even if you have the client’s permission to post it. Clients don’t know what they are agreeing to and what the potential exposure is. Even a signed release form is not sufficient.

  4. Forward emails from potential clients or copy/paste from client/potential client emails.

  5. Post commercial advertisements or any other form of spam.

  6. Post political announcements just because you think other people should know. All posts should be directly related to the field of mental health.

  7. Forward emails assuming it is “common sense” as to how they are relevant.

B. Email Settings – In Google Groups, you can choose one of four email settings. The default for FreeTree is “All Email”:

  1. No Email:  You won’t receive posts in email. You will need to log in to Google Groups to see posts.

  2. Abridged:  You will receive an email each day with the beginning of each post. You can click through to Google Groups to see the full post. This is one long list, and the sender is FreeTree, so you can’t reply to the abridged email without the reply going back to the list.

  3. Digest:  You will receive an email daily, or after 25 posts, with all of the current activity. This is one long list, and the sender is FreeTree, so you can’t reply to the digest email without the reply going back to the list.

  4. All Email:  You will receive individual emails for each post. You can reply to these posts and the reply will go to the person who posted it.

C. Posting to the FreeTree:

  1. Please slow down and think about your post rather than quickly shooting something off to the group. If you are asking a question, search previous posts to see if it has already been answered.

  2. If you are ever unsure about whether a post is appropriate for the group, please email freetree+owners@googlegroups.com. The moderators can give you guidance.

  3. Make the Subject Line specific – Include type of post, city, and state.

  4. Ask yourself, “Does this post align with the community guidelines?” before hitting send.

  5. Ask yourself, “Is this a post everyone needs to see, or am I replying to an individual (or only a few people) and need to only send to that person (them)?”

  6. Do not forward an email from a potential client or copy/paste from a client or potential client email.

  7. When requesting a referral, please do not include information about the potential client. Instead, post about the qualities/experience/skills that a clinician would need to work with the client. Also please include specific geographic information. The Bay Area is a huge place, and this list is not limited to practitioners in the Bay Area.

  8. When posting articles, please make sure the article is specific to the practice of mental healthcare rather than something that might be of interest because it affects people in general. Do not forward articles without including an introduction as to why you are posting it to FreeTree.

  9. Please do not simply forward a link to an article. Rather, include an explanation about why you feel this article is specific to mental healthcare and is helpful to other mental health professionals. Please avoid politically-motivated articles.

  10. Similarly, when posting events please explain why you believe the event is relevant to this list and avoid posting events which are primarily political in nature.

  11. When replying to a digest post, please change the subject line to match the content and delete all of the digest that does not pertain to your topic. Otherwise, everyone else on the list receives the entire digest email in addition to what you are posting.

  12. Do not mass post to multiple groups in a single email. This results in possible cross-posting, confusion, and an excess of replies. Please post separately to each group. It may be a little more work for you, but it will save the community time and effort.

D. Replying to posts on FreeTree:

  1. The default setting for replies on FreeTree is to reply to the person who posted. However, this only works if you have email settings set to “All Email.” If you have your settings set to “Digest” or “Abridged,” you will need to manually copy the email address you are replying to and forward your reply to the person who posted it. It is a limitation of using Google Groups. This will be more work for you, but it protects the rest of the community from an excess of emails. This is very important to be aware of. Reply with caution if you choose to receive “Digest” or “Abridged” emails from FreeTree.

  2. Please do not reply to the entire list when replying to requests for referrals or resources. People who make such requests are encouraged to post a summary of the responses they receive where appropriate. You may think everyone needs to know that you work with a special population or modality, but this is not the correct way to do this. If you want others on the list to know your specialty, then prepare a post with that information and post it every 3-6 months. Reply directly to the person who posted the request for a referral or resource.

  3. Think carefully about your reply before sending to the list. If you are answering a question someone has asked, or if you are replying with specific resources, ask yourself “Is this something that most of the people on the list would find helpful?” If the answer is “No” then send only to the individual. If the answer is “Yes” then please address your reply to everyone and add a short explanation as to why you feel your reply is of interest to the list. Example: “Dear colleagues, I’m choosing to reply to the list because I feel this information would be useful etc., etc.” If your reply is addressed to the person who asked the question, or if your reply is clearly part of a dialogue with one or just a few people, that is considered a violation of the guidelines.

E. Managing your membership on FreeTree:

  1. Most changes, including changing the way you receive emails, can be made directly through your Google Groups account if you have one. If you do not, please contact the moderators of the group.

  2. You can unsubscribe yourself from the group at any time by sending an email to freetree+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com

  3. To ask a question about the group or your membership, please do not post to FreeTree directly. Please email: freetree+owners@googlegroups.com.

F. Inviting others to the FreeTree:

  1. The FreeTree is open to all masters-level and above, licensed mental health professionals, and those on the path to licensure. Please feel free to invite colleagues who are appropriate for the group.

  2. The group is focused on practitioners in the Bay Area of San Francisco. Professionals located outside the Bay Area are welcome if it is helpful to them in looking for referrals or if they benefit from the discussion of issues related to the profession.

  3. The easiest way to join FreeTree is:  https://groups.google.com/d/forum/freetree/join.  For more information on FreeTree: http://www.cygnustransformations.com/professional/collaboration/

G. Failing to honor and comply with the Community Guidelines – Four levels of action will be taken when folks do not honor the Community Guidelines:

  1. Email reminder – People will receive an email reminder with the letter(s) and number(s) of the Guidelines which they have not complied with.

  2. Moderation one month – If someone does not honor the Community Guidelines a second time, he or she will be placed on moderation for one month. This means that any posts or replies will be on hold until a moderator can review them. This may result in delays of a day or more.

  3. Permanent moderation – If someone does not honor the Community Guidelines a third time, he or she will be placed on permanent moderation. Permanent moderation can take place while the person is still on one-month moderation if there is a violation during that time. This means that any posts or replies will be on hold until a moderator can review them. This may result in delays of a day or more.

  4. Removal from the group – Reserved for those who behave in grossly inappropriate ways and/or violate Section H, the person will be removed from FreeTree.

 H. Communication with moderators:

  • Anyone who sends a “nastygram” after receiving an email notification that he or she has violated the FreeTree Community Guidelines will immediately be moved to Action Level 4, Removal from Group. In other words, a person who cannot communicate in a respectful, mature, professional manner is not welcome in the group.

  • All reasonable and reasoned concerns and suggestions will be considered and replied to. “I didn’t read the guidelines and didn’t know about that” is not a reasonable argument, since we send the Community Guidelines out on a monthly basis. There is a link to them at the end of every FreeTree email. They are also on the Google Groups homepage for FreeTree. Membership in FreeTree is open to all licensed mental health professionals and those on the path to licensure, as long as the guidelines are being followed respectfully.

  • To clarify, “nastygram” means any email we receive that contains the following:

  • Yelling, or typing in all CAPS

  • Multiple exclamation points in a row, which looks/feels like a way to spew anger. Not cool.

  • Ranting

  • Tantrumming

  • Name calling

  • Character assassination

  • Anything else that an average person would find offensive and/or that violates the codes of ethics which regulate our individual licenses. If you’re not clear on this one, send the email to yourself first and decide if you’d like someone to send that to you. Would you say this to a loved one, a boss, or a client? If not, don’t send it to us.

Would you like to receive information via email about training, workshops, and groups I offer, organize, or recommend? Then click here. Hope to stay connected!..

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