ISSTDWorld Guidelines

Welcome to ISSTDWorld and its virtual Communities (hereafter “Communities”). Each Community is made up of clinicians and researchers who are members of ISSTD coming together within a specific geographical region (city, state, province, or country) or a specific topic (extreme abuse, children and adolescents, creative arts, etc.) to share resources, information, and clinical wisdom. ISSTD is a not-for-profit professional association organized for the purposes of information sharing and international networking of clinicians and researchers. It provides professional and public education and promotes research about the identification, treatment and prevention of dissociative disorders. As part of ISSTD, Communities are bound to this purpose and cannot take on advocacy or other functions beyond those that are fundamental to the missions of ISSTD. 

Although specific Communities hosted on ISSTDWorld may have guidelines specific to them, the following guidelines are applicable across ISSTDWorld and its Communities in general.


ISSTDWorld is our member engagement platform. Once you sign in to ISSTD’s website using your email address and password, you can access your Communities. 

Information on enlivening your member profile, adding contacts, and creating/responding to posts within your Communities may be found here:

Online Etiquette

Community members are encouraged to make statements that respect the intellectual honesty and integrity of other Community members and not to disparage or otherwise denigrate the character or intention of other Community members in both their professional and personal lives. If it is determined that a Community member is not adhering to these Guidelines, a reminder will be sent via ‘back-channel’ (directly) to both the poster and recipient(s). Our intention here is to foster healthy responsibility-taking behavior and self-awareness rather than a lengthy and defensive dialogue. Our members are trained in a variety of environments, and the harshness, or ease, of those environments can impact the quality of dialogue, for better or worse, in an Online Community. Online communication can, by its text-based nature, strip away important nuance and foster unintentional confusion and misunderstanding. 

Because of these factors, each Community is overseen by a Moderator whose role it is to ensure that these Guidelines are consistently followed by all of its members to ensure that the integrity of both the Community and ISSTD is protected.

Moderation of Community Discourse

We recognize that the clinical and research-oriented work in which we are engaged can produce very intense and provocative emotional reactions. Some of this "affective climate" may color our expressions within the Community in ways that are not easily recognized. We point this out in order to raise consciousness about the phenomenon and to encourage thoughtfulness about the emotional tone of messages posted within the Community. When including highly graphic traumatic material, we ask that members warn the reader that this material will follow. Community members who feel triggered, or otherwise negatively affected, by discussions are advised to seek support outside the Community for these reactions rather than either to react emotionally within the Community or to ask the Community to avoid certain topics or language. We are all subject to unconscious process. 

If any member of the Community has been found to violate the guidelines for posting content, they may be subject to future posts being actively moderated to ensure that the guidelines are followed. Repeated violations of these Guidelines may result in disciplinary action according to ISSTD’s Member Code of Conduct

If any member of the Community perceives that the Moderator either has failed in their efforts to maintain the integrity of the Community or does not appear to represent the best interests of the  Community, then we urge them to bring their concern to the formal attention of the ISSTD Board of Directors.

Communication Guidelines

Communities are designed to be a forum for sharing resources, information, research, and clinical wisdom relevant to persons living with trauma, complex trauma, and dissociative symptoms. New ideas and speculation are welcome, but these should be labeled as such. Topics related to the practice of psychotherapy are welcome, as is seeking the input of list members concerning the treatment of clients. However, forwarding requests for help from our clients—or prospective clients—whether paraphrased or quoted, is expressly prohibited, because it risks creating, or being construed as creating, a professional relationship between  Community members and other Community members' clients or prospective clients. Likewise, use of the Community for the purposes of clinical feedback does not create supervisory relationships or client-therapist relationships among Community members. It is not appropriate to rely on the Community to attend to or resolve clinical emergencies. Subject lines/headings should not exclusively state “Help” and posts should not carry an air of urgency. 

We have found that our ISSTDWorld Communities thrive when safety, curiosity, and accuracy of expression are all respected and cultivated. To these ends, be sure to qualify whether your statements are opinions and ideas (rather than supported by research), and whether they are based on experience or on presentations and the available literature. When referring to presentations and the literature, be careful that your summaries are accurate, and include citations where/when possible.

Subject Headers

Sometimes, the subject of a discussion changes drastically while the Subject: line/header remains the same. Other Community members may miss out on the discussion because the Subject: line/header does not adequately/accurately describe the content of the message. If the content of the discussion has changed significantly from when it began, please change the Subject: line/header to more appropriately fit the content of the current discussion. Additionally, please note:

  1.  Please be careful to ensure your message is posted within in the appropriate discussion topic
  2. Please do not introduce a new topic by replying to a previous conversation thread. The original subject header will remain and your intended audience may miss your post.

File Attachments 

Many email addresses are now picked up at random from routers and used in new messages that contain viruses, etc. Because of this, attachments are regularly detached and removed from messages. It is good policy in general to avoid opening unexpected attachments, from any email address, especially if the attachment contains a file extension like .exe, .com, .bin, .pif, and so on. If you contract a computer virus because of your use of a Community, you can notify the Moderator, but please do not e-mail the rest of the Community. You should install antivirus software on your computer and update it regularly. If you avoid opening attachments from unfamiliar senders, it is much more likely that you will avoid contracting a computer virus. Please contact the Community Moderator if you have concerns or questions. 

Sharing Within/Outside the Community

To foster a sense of safety and mutual trust within Communities, the following behaviors are forbidden:

  1.  Taking any message posted to a Community to share with any outside person, group, or listserv to share, without advance permission by the author of the original message;
  2.  Sharing ‘back-channel’ e-mail messages to any ISSTDWorld Community without the permission of the sender
  3. Sharing names and contact information for members of any ISSTDWorld Community with anyone outside the Communit

Additionally, the following behaviors are not recommended

  1.  Cross-posting to an additional Community within ISSTDWorld
  2.  ‘Harvesting’ names and contact information from within a Community with the intent to send announcements or advertisements without the written permission of the individual member.

It is, however, permissible for a Community member to offer a description of discussions that have taken place within a Community to outside individuals without the explicit permission of the Moderator, but ONLY if it is in the context of seeking consultation in confidence for the sake of emotional support or guidance.

In order to preserve accuracy and a scholarly approach, when a member believes that the work or comments of a person who is not a member of the Community has been misrepresented, the appropriate course of action is to cite the correct information, where possible, within the relevant discussion thread.  In some cases, it may help to consult the person misrepresented. In such an instance, be certain to consider the guidelines in this section before addressing the matter with any person outside the Community.

It is permissible to post messages that say, “I agree with XXX”, or “I support XXX”, but please do state why you agree and/or support this person’s position rather than simply providing a statement of agreement. If you do so, then your post is much more likely to be relevant to other discussion participants and the discussion itself.

Community Announcements and Classified Advertisements

ISSTDWorld’s Communities are not intended to serve as a platform for self-promotion, but rather as a means of sharing information that may be of benefit to fellow members.

Community members are permitted to submit an announcement/advertisement one time per month. Announcements will be posted on the THIRD FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH in a single message, on a schedule determined by the Community Moderator. Announcements/advertisements fall into two categories: 

  1. Announcements/advertisements that are allowed:
  • Scientific or professional conferences and trainings of relevance/interest to Community members;
  • Standalone workshops and trainings of relevance/interest to Community member;
  • Abstracts from publications and links to journal articles or topical articles;
  • Information about a published article you have written, which may include a third-party link to purchase/view the article;
  • Information about a published book you have written, which may include a third-party link to purchase the book; and
  • Outside/local Community resources (agencies, workshops, etc.) that could benefit clients.
  • Announcements/advertisements that are not allowed:
  • Solicitations for clients or other advertisements for your private professional services (i.e., not a training, presentation, article, book, etc.);
  • Solicitations for participants in, or other advertisements related to, research projects. Research participant recruitment requests fall under the ISSTD Research Policy and the relevant application form to advertise for participants under that policy may be accessed by clicking here; and,Unmoderated posts of any kind included in categories A and B.

An announcement regarding a particular topic may be posted once only, and by only one person. Any posts meeting the criteria above that are sent directly to the Community without prior moderation will be considered unsolicited (i.e., ‘spam’), and the sender will be subject to disciplinary action according to the ISSTD Member Code of Conduct.

Guidelines for Distributing an Announcement/Advertisement:

  1. Submit a request via this form no later than the SECOND FRIDAY OF THE MONTH for inclusion in that month’s announcement message.
  2.  If you as a member stand to benefit financially or in some other way, either directly or indirectly, from the information you submit for distribution, you must clearly indicate this in your request (included in the form);
  3.  Moderators approve announcements, but they do not endorse the content of the announcementl
  4. Moderators and/or the Executive Committee reserves the right to decline distribution of any announcement. If this occurs, then the submitter will be notified of the reason their announcement has been withheld.

Healthcare and Client Privacy

It is extremely important that you disguise any clinical material you may present within a Community. As the poster of such information, you are responsible for maintaining confidentiality concerning your clinical work. Neither a Community nor ISSTD accepts responsibility or liability for the inappropriate sharing of client data on the part of a Community member.

Discussion of Legal and Ethical Issues

Community members must use great care in discussing legal and ethical issues. Posts should reflect an awareness that our various countries, jurisdictions, clinics, insurance companies, etc., and professional codes of ethics have widely divergent standards and requirements. Community members should also be aware that in-Community statements about how they managed legal and ethical issues could potentially be discoverable (for the purposes of litigation) or otherwise revealed outside the Community and could impact them with their governing bodies, in litigation, with insurance companies, etc. 

Additionally, Community members should not, under any circumstances, offer authoritative or clinically directive/suggestive feedback outside their area(s) of competency or qualification; and Community members should generally avoid speculating on a client’s diagnosis (versus individual symptoms), regardless of professional qualification. Examples: A non-licensed individual offering clinical recommendations to others in the Community; discussing differential diagnosis of a specific client, as opposed to more generally discussing symptom features within broad diagnostic categories. Posts will be flagged at the discretion of the Community Moderator, Webmaster, and/or ISSTD staff if they seem legally or ethically questionable.

Flagging a Message as Inappropriate

When a message is flagged, it is temporarily removed from the community and an alert is sent to the appropriate community moderator. This administrative alert includes the name of the person who flagged the message and the reason it was flagged. 

Once the content has been reviewed, it will either be permanently removed from the community or released from moderation, which will make it viewable in the community again.

Please note that, depending on when a message is flagged, it may still appear in real-time and daily digest 

How to Flag a Message

Online - On the message, click on the arrow next to "Reply to Discussion" to access the dropdown menu. Click on "Mark As Inappropriate". A pop-up box will appear requiring you to give a reason. After you do so, click Submit.

Email - Below the body of the message, click on/press the "Flag as Inappropriate" link. A browser window will open and you'll be taken to ISSTDWorld. Once you sign in with your email address and password, you'll see a pop-up box requiring you to give a reason. After you do so, click Submit.

If You Flag a Message

  • Flagging messages is anonymous to other community members. Your name is only shared with ISSTD as part of the flagging process. It does not appear anywhere in the community in which you have flagged a message.
  • You will not receive a notification after you flag a message confirming your submission. Once you click Submit, the process is complete.
  • You will not receive a notification from ISSTD letting you know if the content was removed or not. Our main concern is notifying the poster if the message is removed  

If Your Message Is Flagged

  • You will not receive a notification that your message has been flagged. However, you may notice one of your messages is not appearing in the online community or did not go out in the community notifications. If you contact us, we'll let you know if it's because it was flagged.
  • If your message is flagged and ISSTD determines it is appropriate, it will be made viewable on the community. You will not be notified.
  • If your message is flagged and ISSTD determines it is inappropriate, we will send you an email notification that your message has been removed from the community and the reason why.
Legal Statements

ISSTD is not responsible for the opinions and information posted on this site by others. We disclaim all warranties with regard to information posted on this site, whether posted by ISSTD or any third party; this disclaimer includes all implied warranties of merchantability and fitness. In no event shall ISSTD be liable for any special, indirect, or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data, or profits, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of any information posted on this site.

Do not post any information or other material protected by copyright without the permission of the copyright owner. By posting material, the posting party warrants and represents that he or she owns the copyright with respect to such material or has received permission from the copyright owner. In addition, the posting party grants ISSTD and users of this site the nonexclusive right and license to display, copy, publish, distribute, transmit, print, and use such information or other material.


Messages should not be posted if they encourage or facilitate members arriving at any agreement that either expressly or impliedly leads to price fixing, a boycott of another's business, or other conduct intended to illegally restrict free trade. Messages that encourage or facilitate an agreement about the following subjects are inappropriate: prices, discounts, or terms or conditions of sale; salaries; profits, profit margins, or cost data; market shares, sales territories, or markets; allocation of customers or territories; or selection, rejection, or termination of customers or suppliers.


Privacy Policy


We Respect Your Privacy


Any personal information you provide to us including and similar to your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address will not be released, sold, or rented to any entities or individuals outside of our organization except as noted below. The ISSTDWorld Online Community is hosted by Higher Logic, and you may read their Privacy Policy here.


With Whom Do We Share the Personal Information We Collect Through This Site




We may disclose the personal information we collect through this Site, when we, in good faith, believe disclosure is appropriate to comply with the law (or a court order or subpoena); to prevent or investigate a possible crime, such as fraud or identity theft; to enforce our Terms and Conditions or other agreements that govern your use of this Site; or to protect the rights, property or safety of our company, our users, or others.


ISSTD Website Privacy Policy


ISSTD’s website privacy policy is available here.


External Sites


We are not responsible for the content of external internet sites. You are advised to read the privacy policy of external sites before disclosing any personal information.




A "cookie" is a small data text file that is placed in your browser and allows us to recognize you each time you visit this site (personalization, etc). Cookies themselves do not contain any personal information, and we do not use cookies to collect personal information. Cookies may also be used by 3rd party content providers such as newsfeeds.


Remember The Risks Whenever You Use The Internet


While we do our best to protect your personal information, we cannot guarantee the security of any information that you transmit to us and you are solely responsible for maintaining the secrecy of any passwords or other account information. In addition other Internet sites or services that may be accessible through our site have separate data and privacy practices independent of us, and therefore we disclaim any responsibility or liability for their policies or actions. Please contact those vendors and others directly if you have any questions about their privacy policies.


Changes to the ISSTDWorld Online Community Guidelines


ISSTD reserves the right to revise/change these guidelines at any time. If we do so, we will post the changes here and to other such places that we deem appropriate for notification purposes.




If you have any questions or concerns regarding the ISSTDWorld Online Community Guidelines or the ISSTD Member Code of Conduct you may contact ISSTD headquarters via email at or by calling us at 844.994.7783.