This article presents a brief overview of service user-led informal networks of care in therapeutic community practice before discussing the design and evolution of a new kind of network in one of the pilot services of the Department of Health National Programme for the Development of Services for People with Personality Disorder (National Institute for Mental Health in England, 2003a). This network employs well-established internet messaging and chat room facilities uniquely structured and moderated to encompass therapeutic community principles and provide equality of access across a huge mixed urban and rural catchment area. Both hardware and software are inexpensive, easily transferable to similar services and could be modified to suit other applications. The success of this system in allowing challenging work to proceed in a much reduced therapeutic community programme may offer the prospect of many more community-based therapeutic communities at the heart of new personality disorder services.
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