SecondAbility Mentors Membership Agreement

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SecondAbility Mentors Membership Agreement

It is critical for all SAM members to understand the difference between “peer support” and “provision of services”.

SAM members can provide peer support. We can be friends, and ask the kinds of questions and make the kind of supporting statements that we would make with RL friends. We CAN NOT provide any services. We are not doctors, counselors, therapists, or professional providers of any services. We are not licensed.

We can be friendly. We can never prescribe.

We can express common sense thoughts, and offer "have you thought about", or "maybe you could" types of suggestions. We can never tell someone what they "need to" or "should" do.

We can share our experiences. We can never offer medical advice.

If you ever feel people might be hearing your conversation as "medical advice", you should make yourself clear with a statement like "The opinions expressed here are mine and should not be taken as medical and or legal advice in any form." Disclaimers along the lines of, "I'm not a doctor - I'm just a regular person who's trying to be a friend....", or "that's getting into the area of medical advice - you'll need to talk to a doctor about that" are essential to help the person you are talking with understand what we are, and what we aren't.

SAM mentors must not in any way try to provide medical, psychological or social-work counseling to people. Those services can only be provided by a licensed professional face-to-face in RL.

We can't even be vague about it. If another SAM member describes to people that they are a professional social-worker or counselor, for example, you should stop and clarify that interaction. We can't even give the impression that we are providing professional services "under the table."

SAM mentors provide peer support and information - only. SAM mentors can provide unlicensed, non-professional services. SAM does not condone attempts to provide professional clinical services in SL that could possibly violate local standards of providing clinical care.

What SAM mentors *can* do, is gather specific clinical information. We can be friends with people. We can be supportive. We can relate to people as peers, as friends. We can help people seek and find information. And we can encourage clients to see a licensed RL clinician in their area.

We must treat the information we gathered as SAM members confidentially. We must be extremely circumspect about sharing medical conditions or other sensitive information with others. If you are at all unsure if a piece of information supplied by or learned about a client is confidential - ask them.

Use common sense. Be a peer supporter. Be a friend. Be a resource. Just don't be - or appear to be - a doctor, therapist, or other licensed professional.

SAM members must agree to, before becoming SAM members:

I understand that while working with or for the SecondAbility Mentors program I must only provide peer support and/or information, and must in no circumstances state or imply that I am providing any professional clinical advice or service.

I understand that if I am involved in a discussion where anyone associated with the SAM program describes or appears to describe that they are a professional social worker or counselor, I will immediately interrupt the discussion, and make clear to all parties that no provision of professional social work or professional counseling is taking place.

I understand that I am permitted to gather appropriate and voluntarily offered clinical information from peers during the provision of non-professional peer support, and that I can, and when appropriate should, encourage peers to see a licensed professional clinician in their state or local area.

I understand that if I refer anyone to any medical, psychological or social-work service either within or outside of Second Life, I must tell them it is their responsibility to verify the professional status of the referral.

I have read the SecondAbility Mentors Code of Conduct and agree to conduct myself within these guidelines as a SAM member.

I have read the Second Life Mentor Tao of Volunteers, and agree to abide by these basic standard in being helpful and supportive to peers in Second Life.

I understand that failure to follow the above rules may lead to my ejection from the SAM group.

I would like to complete the agreement now