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Listserv Guidelines


The WSSCSW listserv is a valuable membership privilege: it is a robust source of referrals and of useful or vital professional information & dialogue. It is a re-searchable database, especially for local social work practice. These Guidelines seek to preserve and enhance these values. As of 2020, it has operated for 22 years.

These guidelines apply to social media participation and communications on all WSSCSW platforms. 

Listserv Purpose
The listserv is for professional WSSCSW member dialogue. All content must be of benefit to WSSCSW members and/or clinical social work. It can serve as an official channel for the Board to contact the membership. It is not an ‘official’ channel for creating a Board agenda item. Members wanting Board contact or action should go to wsscsw.org for direct email addresses.

Moderator Role
The listserv moderator supervises by addressing questions about individual message content, and provides limited technical support. The moderator may privately contact members regarding Guideline compliance. If you believe that that a member needs to be reminded of the guidelines, please contact the moderator at

Postings to this listserv should relate to the WSSCSW activities or to clinical social work concerns. Appropriate topics include but are not limited to: seeking and providing referrals, professional resources, social work job offers from sources known to the poster, books and articles of clinical interest, office space avail-abilities, clinical social work business practices, dealing with insurance, and ethical dilemmas.

Creating a Post
Make sure your subject heading reflects the content of your posting, and be specific (for example: “seeking an East side area therapist for a teen”). Please respect your clients' privacy in all postings. Avoid excessive detail which is not needed to achieve relevant objectives. Consider whether the client would be able to identify him or herself if they read your communication. Cite specific client needs, preferred office location, insurance, etc.

Be mindful about who should receive your reply.  The listserv’s technical settings have replies going only to the “OP” (Original Poster). Hitting “Reply All” goes to the full listserv, the OP, and any cc.

Most times, its most appropriate to respond only to the OP instead of the entire listserv. Do not “reply all” to include the listserv unless you believe that most members would be interested in your reply. For example, if someone asks for a referral and you are interested, email the OP privately with your contact information and why you believe you are a good fit. These issues are not always crystal clear, but think for a second regarding whether to respond privately or to the full listserv.


  • All members should adhere to the CSWA Code of Ethics for clinical social workers, in particular Section 5 regarding Cultural Competence:

a) The social work profession has a strong commitment to social justice. As such, clinical social workers shall strive to maintain awareness, knowledge, and skills with regard to cultural competence and its influence on human behavior and society. 

b) Clinical social workers seek to enhance their understanding of different cultures, races, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression and its effect on the client’s reason for seeking help.

c) Clinical social workers shall seek to become culturally competent and understand the effects of trauma caused by institutional and individual oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical disability.  Specifically, culturally competent clinical social workers should:

1.     try not to hold preconceived limitations and notions about culturally or sexually diverse people;

2.     not profess color blindness or negate the existence of differences in behavior, attitudes, cultural norms, beliefs, etc., among different groups;

3.     accept responsibility for their own racism, sexism, biases, etc., and attempt to deal with them in a non-defensive, guilt-free manner;

4.     be aware of the history, experiences, cultural values, and lifestyles of various socio-demographic groups in our society;

5.     understand the impact and operation of oppression (racism, sexism, heterosexism, etc.) and racist, sexist, and homophobic concepts that have permeated institutions;

6.     be aware of institutional barriers that prevent some clients of color, diverse families and populations from accessing services;

7.     be able to exercise a variety of relationship building skills with colleagues and co-workers of different backgrounds;

8.     be aware of their helping style, and recognize the limitations that they may possess, and can anticipate the impact on culturally diverse clients and colleagues.

  • Be considerate of others in the quantity of emails you post. We have over 250 members who use the listserv. Think twice before posting more than two emails in a day. If private communications (i.e. a "thank you") will suffice, please communicate privately.
  • Board members, committee members, or WSSCSW volunteers should not post statements representing the position of the WSSCSW, its Board, or its committees, without drafting those statements in collaboration with the committee or Board.
  • Please refrain from reply-all postings to simply say “thank you” or to ask the listserv to stop responding to your request. Take the extra time to send private messages to ‘late’ responders.
  • Do not forward communications from other listservs or email newsletters or post about events that you are not involved in or registered for.
  • Do not send messages about terminating network contracts and fee bargaining; these may be seen as contract interference, exposing WSSCSW to legal liability.
  • The listserv is not currently a forum for clinical case consultation.
  • Do not correct members who post incorrectly. Contact the moderator.
  • Be civil: Do not “yell” with all SOLID CAPITAL letters. Keep posts non-judgmental and non-derogatory.
  • Other banned content: No emergency messages, jokes/pranks, product ads, virus warnings, chain emails, or other content unrelated to the listservs stated purpose.


Periodic reminders about the Guidelines will be sent to the listserv by the moderator. Posts that violate the Guidelines will receive a friendly private reminder from the moderator.


Members who prompt repeat moderator warnings, or who egregiously violate the Guidelines, will be referred to the Board for response. Only a majority Board vote can limit, suspend, or terminate any member’s listserv privileges. However, multiple violations related to unethical behavior on the listserv, in particular the CSWA ethics of cultural competence, will result in automatic revocation of listserv access. 

The Board strives to encourage the fostering of transformative justice advocate Mia Mingus’ four parts to accountability, including self reflection, apology, repair, and changed behavior:

“True accountability is not only apologizing, understanding the impact your actions have caused on yourself and others, making amends or reparations to the harmed parties, but most importantly, true accountability is changing your behavior so that the harm, violence, abuse does not happen again.” - Mia Mingus

 If the Board sees a serious ethical violation on the listserv, or if a member contacts the Board with concern about a possible serious ethical violation on the listserv, the following process will occur: 

  1. If the concern is from a member, that member is invited to have a conversation with the listserv moderator. The moderator will: provide a space for the member to be heard in their concerns, inform the member of the following steps regarding Board response, and invite the member to give feedback directly to the original poster (OP) whose post caused the concern. 
  2. The moderator will consult with the President about the post which is causing concern.
  3. If after the moderator and President consult, they find that the original post is found to violate the Code of Ethics, the moderator will contact OP to let the OP know what part of their post violated the Code of Ethics.
  4. The moderator will invite the OP to send a response and correction to the listserv, offering to collaborate in drafting the response.
  5. If the OP declines to post a response or correction, the moderator will draft a response in consultation with the Board. This response will address the ethical violation, point to the relevant section of the Code of Ethics, and invite concerned members to contact the moderator for further discussion as desired. The Board will also review the OP’s continued listserv access. 
  6. If the OP posts a correction, the moderator will also make a statement to the listserv: We noticed an exchange that generated concern happened recently on the listserv. Thank you to the poster who made the correction; we invite any member to continue the conversation with us directly if you would like.

    The listserv moderator is the WSSCSW Communications Chair, whom you can reach at 

    For our collective benefit, here is a reminder of our ethical guidelines.

Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work
PO Box 252 • Everett, WA  98206 • admin@wsscsw.org


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