GENERAL RULES OF PARTICIPATION
The number one rule for DD Chats is: Be respectful of others! This includes both your fellow group members and Kathy and Laura.
Be ready to join the chat when the chat is ready to start! If you arrive late, there may be a delay in accepting you into the chat from the Zoom Waiting Room.
When others are speaking, listen to them and give them the opportunity to complete their thoughts. Don’t interrupt or speak over someone else.
Please allow everyone a chance to speak! If you’ve responded to three or four questions, but there are other members who haven’t responded to anything, please quiet down and give others a chance.
Please be aware of what’s showing in the background of your Zoom window. Protect your privacy by making sure that there is nothing too personal or revealing.
Please turn off any lights that twinkle, flash, or move in any way. These can be very triggering for other participants.
Microphones can magnify sounds that would not typically be audible to the people around you. Ordinary noises like coughing, or even breathing into an open microphone, can sound loud and intrusive to the people who are hearing it through headsets or earphones. As a courtesy to the other chat participants, please make sure that you are in a quiet environment for the chat, position your microphone a little distance from your mouth, and try to avoid coughing or exhaling directly into the microphone. We may mute your microphone for this reason. Please don’t take it personally. We’ll unmute you any time you have something you’d like to say!
If you bring a snack or a drink to chat, please keep the microphone away from your mouth while you are eating or drinking.
The messaging feature will be disabled during DD Chats. Participants will not be able to send chat messages to each other.
CAMERAS AND MICROPHONES
Certain DD Chats may require that you have your camera on.
If you would still prefer to keep part of your face hidden during these chats, please take the time ahead of time to familiarize yourself with how to use the filter options available on Zoom. Or, for even more privacy, gather a selection of personal at-home facial coverings in advance. You don’t want to miss part of the chat because you’re trying to figure this out at the last minute!
Please review the details of the specific chat you would like to attend, to see if cameras will or will not be required.
Dropping out of Zoom chats happens, whether due to an internet disconnection or technology malfunction or because you are trying to manage your emotional overwhelm.
However, repeated coming and going is a distraction, for you and for the group as a whole. In order to minimize the disruption to the group, the following rules will be observed in DD Chats:
If you disconnect from any chat three times (by closing out of Zoom, such that you have to log back into the chat and be re-invited from the Zoom Waiting Room), then on the third time you will not be allowed re-entry into the chat. This means you can leave twice, and be allowed back in twice – but if you leave any chat a third time, then you will not be allowed back in a third time.
- If you are temporarily leaving the chat for short personal breaks (i.e. to use the restroom, to have a smoke, to stretch your legs, etc.):
* Please DO NOT close out of the Zoom chat.
* If cameras are required to be on for your chat, please DO NOT turn off the camera.
* Please DO mute your microphone.
* Please do whatever it is that you need to do, and then come back to the chat, with as little disruption to the rest of the group as possible.
- If you leave the chat (by closing out of Zoom) for any reason during an educational presentation, you may be unable to enter the chat again until the presentation is over.
STRUCTURE OF TOPIC CHATS
DD Chats will be broken down into the following broad phases.
Open Chat Time. DD Chats will open with a very short period of open chat. The open chat is an opportunity for everyone to say hello and get settled while participants are joining the DD Chat. During open chat time, all microphones will be open and participants are free to socialize until we begin the discussion on the assigned topic.
Educational Presentation. Some DD Chats might include an educational presentation. During the educational presentation, microphones will be muted to minimize distractions.
Questions and Answers.
If a DD Chat includes an educational presentation, the presentation will be followed by time for questions and answers and group discussion.
Alternatively, some DD Chats might focus exclusively on responding to and discussing group questions about a topic, without including an educational presentation.
We’ll also be asking questions for you all to respond to and discuss.
The question and answer and discussion period of the DD Chat does not have a set format, in that microphones may be left open or muted at various times during this part of the chat.
During open mic discussions, we ask that people please be aware of giving everyone an opportunity to speak. Some of our members are quieter and less comfortable speaking in a group, and they can too easily be drowned out.
If necessary, we will ask the more vocal participants to pause and give the quieter participants a chance to speak. Should this happen, please respect this request. We’d prefer not to have to mute anyone on an individual basis.
During muted mic discussions, people who have questions or comments will be asked to use the zoom “raise my hand” button to let us know that they’d like to speak, and each person will be called on in turn.
However, raising your hand is an excellent way to let the hosts know that you have a comment or question, whether mics are open or muted, so don’t be shy about raising your hand during any question and answer or discussion time.
Kathy and Laura will answer as many questions and respond to as many comments as possible within the time allowed, but depending on the number of participants and/or the number of questions and comments, they may not have time to respond to everyone. If you have a question or a concern that is not addressed during a DD Chat, please consider scheduling an individual consultation with Kathy or Laura.
Participant Check-in. Chats will typically close with a brief check-in with each participant. We might also check in very briefly with people during the chat if the topic is especially heavy, however group participants are expected to be able to manage their own triggers and their own behavior without disrupting the group.
MANAGING INDIVIDUAL TRIGGERS AND INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR
It is important to be aware that DD Chats are not about individual support. They are about group support and education. As with all DD chats and events, we expect participants to be able to manage their own triggers and their own behavior without disrupting the group.
If the chat is too overwhelming, too intense, or too triggering for your system, and you are unable to continue as part of the group, you can temporarily take off your headphones, mute your computer sound, or even drop out of the chat entirely. We expect that you and your people will stay attuned to the emotional state of your system during DD chats, and that you and your people can be relied upon to do what is best for your system without disrupting the group as a whole. Make the most of this opportunity, and bring a pen and paper to write down tender topics that you need to address later during your individual work.
As a whole, by choosing to attend the DD Chats, you are stating that you and your dissociative system have the confidence and the ability to manage your own triggers and emotional responses without resorting to self harm, self injury, or any version of self destructive or high risk behaviors. Some of the topics to be discussed may be heavy duty. You may have racing thoughts, memories, noise, or internal chaos occur during or afterwards, especially if we reach a topic that is difficult for you. Have safety plans made ahead of time for how you will address any lingering issues of intensity or upset.
Please note: Triggers do happen, sometimes unexpectedly, but it isn’t something that should happen repeatedly during chat times. If any DD Chat participant repeatedly disrupts the group due to harmful or destabilized behavior, that participant should expect to be removed from the group chat. We may ask that that person not participate in future chats until their system is more able to handle the group process without becoming triggered or destabilized. That removed person will also be required to have an individual consultation with either Kathy or Laura prior to being allowed to attend future chats.
LENGTH, COST, AND SCHEDULING OF DD CHATS
The details of DD Chats will vary based on topic and structure. Please check the DD Calendar for the dates of upcoming events.
Clicking on a particular Chat from the Calendar will provide you with the specific details for each scheduled Chat. Please review these details carefully prior to signing up for a Chat!
Recording Chats. DD Chats will be recorded by the hosts.
Privacy and Confidentiality. Group members are requested to maintain respectful privacy and confidentiality regarding all topics discussed during DD Chats. Also, please be aware of maintaining your own privacy during the Chats. Do not disclose or expose your own or anyone else’s personal information in any way.
We look forward to chatting with you soon!