Mad Fax Sunday: Are Some Virtual Communities More Real Than Virtual?

Kerry Lane, David Epston, & Sue Winter

The following paper tells the story of ‘ a therapist (KL) who was stuck, overwhelmed and isolated by a problem that seemed to defy therapeutic techniques and skills and personal commitment and determination. On the verge of giving up I reached out to access my support network. Because no other alternative seemed available at the time, this reaching out took place by fax. However, what started out as a choice of last resort revealed a range of therapeutic possibilities that we believe deserve to be shared with a wider audience.

We are submitting this paper both as a critique of isolating and exclusionary effects of many conventional mental health practices, and as an addition to the literature on reflecting teams, audiences and communities of concern. In this instance, although necessity was the mother of its invention, it has prompted the authors to consider alternative practices to those formed on the bases of ‘privacy’ and ‘confidentiality’. It demonstrates ways that reflection and solidarity can be achieved by unconventional means, e.g. fax, letter, telephone, producing some of the same effects as set-piece reflecting team practices. None of the authors has any particular fondness for contemporary technology but this did not stop us from exploring it given the circumstances. What urgency pressed into using allowed us to consider doing the same under less demanding conditions. Although we hadn’t counted on it at the time, the mad fax ‘team’ offered us all some quite unexpected advantages. Although the critique stands, our main concern in publishing this paper is for us to consider ‘mad taxing’, etc. as capable of calling into being ‘communities of concern’. Such virtual communities can become very real sites where commitment, solidarity and ingenuity co-mingle.

After all, how many of us have colleagues, supervisors, and mentors, etc. who have access to a fax machine or phone? Do we have to work in isolation, especially against ‘huge’ and intimidating problems such as the ‘self-abuse’ that was threatening Sylvia’s life? Would such ‘communities’ counteract the ‘wear and tear’ of our work which in the end either bums us out or, what’s worse, leads to cynical indifference?

My initial reason for contacting David was to enquire about the ritual of inclusion. I had read about it and listened to David discuss it at workshops. I knew it was used when young people had been seriously ‘unbelonged’ by their families or caregivers I also recalled that it entailed the young person being physically held by their parents until the strength of their love and acceptance overtook the feelings of being ‘unbelonged’ or ‘wild’ Sylvia had been isolated from her family by a tragic set of circumstances rather than ‘unbelonged’. I wondered if David had ever used the ritual of inclusion in other ways that might fit this family. I really didn’t have any ideas about how this might work. Frankly, I was desperate. ‘Self-abuse’ had made a comeback into Sylvia’s life. The most recent ‘self-abuse’ episode came very close to costing Sylvia her life. I was so scared that I was ready to give up. I felt I was no match for ‘self-abuse’, even though there had been a long period where ‘self-abuse’ had been dormant. The power of the comeback intimidated me.

I wanted to consult with David and mentioned this to the family. I explained that David was a narrative therapist who I respected and trusted. They were only too well aware that I had nowhere to go but reassured me that they were relieved that, unlike their previous experiences at such critical times, I did not attempt to medicate Sylvia or have her admitted to hospital against her will. What was not usual was that we all acknowledged to each other that, although we were lost, we would not lose each other. In fact, we experienced being in league against such a frightening problem at the deepest level, even if it was sheer desperation that united us.

Original Letter written on 19th April 1996

Dear David,

I am writing seeking your advice. I am working with Sylvia, aged sixteen, who is in the midst of a dreadful battle with .’self-abuse’. Although the battle has been going on for some time, lately it has increased in its intensity. Sylvia and I believe that this is due to our having exposed ‘self-abuse’ increasingly over the past 8 months. We are now much more familiar with its tricks and tactics and, at times, Sylvia feels that she is winning. However, it seems that when we ‘catch a glimpse of a victory ahead, ‘self-abuse’ goes on to the offensive. This is of course to be expected, however, the battle for her life is becoming very hazardous and Sylvia, her family and I fear that Sylvia may be deceived to her death. This may sound strange so let me explain. I know you are familiar -with the camps ‘Youth Caucus ” that Sharon’ and I facilitate on the Central Coast. Sylvia was attending her second camp a few weeks ago. She was enjoying the feelings of love and acceptance that she experienced at the camp when ‘self-abuse’ told her that she didn’t deserve these nice feelings or the connections’ she was making with others. ‘ Self-abuse’ encouraged her to isolate herself (one of its favourite tactics) and, in doing so, she made a small but deep incision into her hand with a razor blade. Sylvia thought this would just inflict the punishment ‘self-abuse’ said she deserved and that then she would feel better. However, in doing so, the razor severed an artery and this turned into a battle for Sylvia’s life. As you can see, ‘ self-abuse’ fights dirty. This incident is one of many and that is why I think we need to call for some reinforcements.

Sylvia, her family and I have traced the beginnings of this war and we all thought we should fill you in on its history. Sylvia disclosed on-going sexual abuse by a neighbour when she was ten. This man had posed as a family friend and had regularly offered to babysit. Despite his pressure to keep quiet, Sylvia drew upon her courage to speak up and the Department Of Community Services were informed. As soon as the so-called ‘neighbour’ found out about her disclosure, he fled leaving his wife living next door to Sylvia and her family. It seems the ‘wife’ was very confused about who has responsibility for sexual abuse and she began to intimidate and harass Sylvia and her family. This intimidation persisted for almost two years, increasing in its intensity. Vince and Janice (Sylvia’s parents) went to great lengths to protect Sylvia from this intimidation however it was unrelenting and the family recalls this time in their lives as a ‘nightmare’. They tried to transfer to another area but such arrangements take a very long time. Sylvia could no longer stand the intimidation and moved out of home to a youth refuge in another town.

As you are only too well aware, sexual abuse can make children feel extremely isolated, even when things go well after their disclosure. This isolation was intensified for Sylvia because of the further victimization she experienced at the hands of the ‘wife’. Sylvia moved around quite a bit between refuges and friends homes. ‘Self-abuse’ entered her life around this time and had her make some very serious suicide attempts over the next few years. She also came into conflict with the law. Unfortunately she was held in custody on a number of occasions, not because her offenses warranted this but rather as a means of keeping her ‘safe’. She also spent some time in a residential psychiatric unit where she underwent lengthy assessments and attended counselling, none of which she found helpful. To add insult to injury, she, along with another girl, was sexually abused by the coordinator of the refuge. This assault was in January last year when she was fifteen.

During this three-year period, Vince and Janice remained in close contact with Sylvia. By now they had moved house and were determined to remain connected to their daughter. Both Janice and Vince report that they were largely excluded from her life by both the refuge system and in particular the medical system. Each time they were informed Sylvia was injured or had attempted suicide, they responded immediately, only to be told that they could not see her or that the matter was confidential. I wonder if you can imagine the level of frustration they felt? On one occasion, Janice and Vince went to Intensive Care to see Sylvia after being notified she had slashed her wrists and attempted to jump off a cliff. They were refused permission to see her by a social worker who claimed she was medicated.

After a day and a half of further requests and subsequent refusals, they spoke to a doctor who informed them that the social worker had decided that their presence was not in Sylvia’s best interests. Rightly or not, Vince was so infuriated, he made a lunge towards the social worker concerned. He was restrained, arrested and led away. As you can see, it seemed as if everybody was determined to ensure Sylvia’s isolation and her parents’ exclusion. I am wondering if they had made some false assumptions on the grounds of Sylvia living away from home and didn’t bother to check them out with anyone?

Despite this, Sylvia appeared in court on a minor offense and was required to live at home and be accompanied at all times by a family member in an attempt to reduce the likelihood of her suicide. It was around this time, eight months ago, that Juvenile Justice requested that I work with Sylvia. By the way, it was also her choice to return home. Since then, we have worked closely together to discover the ‘truth’ about ‘self-abuse’. At first I spoke only with Sylvia but we soon agreed that it was necessary to more fully expose ‘ self-abuse’ by inviting Janice and Vince to join us. These family meetings have been enlightening for us all. We have discovered how ‘self-abuse’ isolates Sylvia and tries to exclude her parents from her life. Neither Sylvia nor I were aware of its means to this end, e.g., she gets so ‘snappy’ that they are encouraged to allow her to go off on her own.

We shared this knowledge with the teenagers at the camp. They agreed that this was exactly what had happened just prior to Sylvia’s brush with ‘self-abuse’ there. They then decided to forbid ‘self-abuse’ from isolating her from them. They set up a tag team to accompany her wherever she went, along with the commitment not to be put off by the ‘snappy’ tactics of ‘self-abuse’. Sylvia. was pleased about this as she considered that she needed her support team to be much more assertive with ‘self-abuse’ in the event of her being unable to assert herself. This was a great success for the remainder of the camp.

However, the battle continues at home with ‘self-abuse’ taking more and more liberties with her life, e.g., the other night Sylvia was encouraged to cut herself in front of Vince. This was without precedent as ‘self-abuse’ previously always had to isolate her from her family before taking control of her.

Consequently, we fear for Sylvia’s life, and I felt that ‘the home team’ needed to be more assertive with ‘self-abuse’ just as the ‘camp team’ had. I spoke to Steve Armstrong in consultation and he suggested I talk to you about the ‘ritual of inclusion’. He was of the opinion that it was very important to let ‘self-abuse’ know once and for all that its messages that Sylvia ‘does not belong’ and ‘is not accepted’ are utterly untrue, and that the ‘home team’ would be only too willing to prove it beyond reasonable doubt. I explained what I knew of the ritual to Sylvia and her family and they were interested to be better informed. A return to the medical system is not an option they even want to consider. They also agree that it is time for some dramatic action on our part to match that of ‘self-abuse’. For this reason, they are willing to try almost anything that might help them save their daughter from ‘self-abuse’.

David, I will be showing this letter to Sylvia and her family before I fax it to you. I know you are going to America on Tuesday so I will try to contact you before then seeking your advice.

I hope you are well and happy and I look forward to hearing from you.


Kerry Lane.


Janice , Vince and Sylvia edited the letter on Friday, I gth April, and I promised to try to get the letter to David before he went to America on Tuesday, 23″ April. In line with my promise I went into my office on Sunday 21st April at about 1.30pm and faxed the letter to David’s office. I hoped that David would receive the letter prior to leaving for America and might write to us while he was away.

I was rather taken aback when my office phone rang just as I had faxed him and it was David. He told me that by chance he was in his office preparing to go overseas and seeing how urgent the situation was he could not help but respond immediately. Both intensity and speed became the hallmarks of our mad fax Sunday. He suggested we exploit what technology we had – we would link up our two fax machines and I would arrange a phone connection with the family. Fortunately they had two phone lines and agreed for Sylvia to have one of her own and Vince and Janice would share the second line. David then faxed comments and questions through and I would ring the family reading David’s fax out loud. A discussion followed between the four of us preparing their comments back and responses to the questions. Then I would hastily type up their comments and fax them back to David who was waiting expectantly for them. This went on for two or three hours. I am convinced that the rapid responding, which at times seemed dizzying to us all, played a large part in such an unusual and generative trans-Tasman conversation.

David’s Fax No.l. 21st April 1996, 1:59pm.

I just arrived to work moments after your fax got through here. And I have just read through once and I must confess to being greatly distressed. But. I thought I should just start writing Sylvia, Vince and Janice. Before I do let me just say this. I know we have never met in person but I want you to know, even from this distance, I very much wish that I could be part of a response team’ as it sounds as if every one of you has been abused. Moreover, your family has been abused in so many. ways. I think it would only be distressing for me and for all of you to catalogue the abuses, some of them arising out of what I assume to have been ‘good intentions’ e.g., the conduct of ‘helping people’ forbidding you to be near to and with Sylvia at her darkest moments. If they knew what Kerry and I know, I feel sure they would offer you abject apologies.

Vince and Janice, have you got the idea that people believed you were to blame? Sylvia, did you get the idea that your mother and father were to blame?

Friends, I am also very interested to know more about your experience. Sylvia, at the camp when the tag team was set up to keep you company when ‘self-abuse’ was trying to have you all to itself, were you happy that they got more assertive with ‘self-abuse’ when you no longer could assert yourself. When you think back, did it have anything to do with ‘SELF-RESPECT’? Why I ask is that in my experience with ‘self-abuse’ it can’t operate very well in the face of ‘SELF-RESPECT’. Have you found that in your experience of ‘self-abuse’? When you had your tag team, did they show you RESPECT in anyway? And if so, did their RESPECT for you ignite your own SELF-RESPECT? Sylvia, could ‘self-abuse’ have thrown off their RESPECT for you? In a manner of speaking, did the tag team wrestle ‘self-abuse’ into defeat, at least for the time being? If you are anything like I am, I know my own SELF-RESPECT can sure come and go.

Get back to me as soon as you can through Kerry. I am very upset and angry reading what has befallen you Sylvia and you, Vince and Janice. I very much want to do something to bring some measure of justice into your lives.

Yours respectfully,



I phoned the family who answered David’s questions from Fax No.l. I then faxed David with their responses.

Reply to Fax No. I

Vince and Janice believed that people did think they were to blame for what was happening to Sylvia. In fact, the ‘wife’ and the ‘abuser’ blamed Sylvia for the sexual abuse and they accused Janice and Vince of not being able to control their promiscuous ten-year-old. Also Vince feels that the social workers assumed that he had actually been the perpetrator as they treated him in that way and refused to even speak to him.

Sylvia was always clear that her parents were not to blame but did sense that others were blaming her family.

Sylvia was happy that the ‘camp team’ became more assertive as she feels ‘safer’.

She did feel better about herself as a person and this was a result of their caring for her.

David’s Fax No.2, ….. April 1996, 2.27pm

Dear Friends:

Vince, Janice and Sylvia, if you were all 100% convinced that you were not to blame and that the perpetrators were to blame, would that cleanse your hearts for what lies ahead of us? Why I ask is that I suspect what lies ahead of us will require us all to be clean of heart. Sylvia, knowing that others blamed your mum and dad, did that in any way make you doubt their love for you? Did you feel less beloved by them?

Sylvia, can you help me understand how the ‘camp team’ made you feel safe? Was it their confident manner? The way they looked at you? Did anyone have tears in their eyes? Did you suspect they know what ‘self-abuse’ was about? HOW DID YOU KNOW THEY WERE YOUR TEAMMATES? How did you feel better about yourself when they cared for you? I know it was a result of their caring but how did you feel better? Can you explain that to me in words? I am very interested to understand this better. I don’t mean to bug you about it though. What would you say were the reasons for the ‘tag teams’ defeat of ‘self-abuse’ even if the defeat did not last your lifetime?

I am really glad to get to know you all and thanks for allowing me into your lives at this time.

Yours respectfully,


Kerry’s reply to Fax No.2

Janice and Vince do feel 100% convinced that they were not to blame.

Sylvia did, at times, doubt their love for her and sometimes still does. This doubt used to be about 65%. Now the doubt is about 20%.

The ‘camp team’ made Sylvia feel safer because – yes, they seemed confident and they were committed to doing it. Yes Kerry was crying. This was a sign that she cared for me but was a bit worrying. Some of the other kids did know about ‘self-abuse’ but it wasn’t present at the camp for them. I can’t explain how their caring made me feel better IT JUST DID!

At the camp, it was purely that people from the ‘tag team’ were there all the time that ‘self-abuse’ was defeated Sylvia feels that there could have been other reasons for the defeat but she can’t think at the moment.

Sylvia’s aunt and uncle have just arrived for Sunday lunch and therefore it will be hard to continue the discussion but they are keen to hear more from you and feel supported by your interest. Can we resume this by mail or when you get back? Do you think the ‘ritual of inclusion’ is appropriate?

Any other question you think would be helpful for, our enquiries?

David’s Fax No.3. 21st April 1996, 3.44pm

I am very relieved to learn that you, Vince and Janice, are 100% convinced you are not to blame. It is good to meet people such as yourselves who can keep their faith in what they know is right and what they know to be wrong. Compare yourselves to the perpetrator and his ‘wife’.

Sylvia, it was really interesting to me to learn that you have reduced your doubt in your parents’ love for you by 45%. It must have been awful for you when you weren’t so sure of their love for you as you are now. When you feel the FORCE of their love, is that a bit like feeling their RESPECT for you. Are love and RESPECT sort of the same to you? Can you … YET AGAIN … help me understand why of late you have got back 45%. belief in their loving of you? (Sorry to pester you about such things!) Are you doing something different? Are they doing something different? Or are you both doing some different loving things to and for each other? Did ‘self-abuse, in a manner of speaking try to talk you out of the fact that you are their beloved daughter? If so, why are you now listening to Vince and Janice’s loving of your very own? See> Camp Team Questions.

When you say they were ‘confident, Sylvia, do you mean they were confident that you are a good person, that you are worthy of their (and anyone else’s) respect or that you should live your life through? Can you guess why they were so committed to be on y our ‘team’? Does that tell you anything about yourself that ‘self-abuse’ would disagree with? Sylvia, what do you think Kerry was crying for? Was she crying for your life? Was it a bit worrying to know she would cry for your life? How much do you think she would cry if ‘self-abuse’ executed you?

Does the caring of other people make you feel better in general? Does ‘self-abuse’ tell you that you don’t deserve to be cared for and that you are worthless? Do you have any sense that ‘self-abuse’ is a form of abuse? Can you think if there could have been other reasons for the defeat of ‘self@-abuse’ at the camp now that you have had more time to think about it? I admit these questions aren’t easy ones! They are about life and death and not many people your age can look ‘death’ in the eyes and say ‘no’ to it. Sylvia, I think there is a lot for all of us to learn so I hope you will keep in touch with me.

I fly to North America on Tuesday for about a month and I have provided Kerry with my whereabouts. However, I may not be able t o get back to you as quickly as I have today, especially with the different ‘times’ there. However, until we are back in touch, I hope you will consider me Part of your ‘life’ team. From everything I know about you from Kerry and your parents, there is a lot of life in you.

Best wishes,



I continued to work intensively with Sylvia and her family. But now we had all regained a good measure of hope and vitality and frequently each and every one of us had good cause to draw upon that.

The most important thing for both the family and me was that David said every one of you has been abused … your family has been abused in so many ways’. That had not been acknowledged by anyone before. The injustices in general and the way they had been treated had never been stated that clearly or quickly-before. We all felt validated. The way I recall our conversation was as a response to David’s ‘I can see what. has happened to you here … it’s really clear … it wasn’t your fault’. It was pertinent that he asked whether they thought it was their fault and if Sylvia thought that too. Although it was the first question, it seemed crucial to what was to unfold from that day on. Vince spoke poignantly of his belief that the mental health system deemed him to be his daughter’s perpetrator for that was certainly how they treated him. Prior to this, he had spoken in general terms such as ‘the system thinks teenagers don’t need their parents’. Now he was prepared to assert that ‘they …… I abused my daughter and that’s why they have excluded me’.

David’s feelings of injustice seemed to match ours. It surprised us all that someone so removed from the situation so instantly recognized the injustices here. After all, the isolation and exclusion of this family had persisted for seven years. His sense of in justice and his urgency were so validation for the family and for me. Up until then, I was the only professional this family had encountered that they felt had acknowledged them, let alone their experiences. So it seemed.rather wild coming from a trans-Tasman stranger.

On reflection, I realised how important it was for the family and me to co-write their story in preparation for seeking David’s advice. I didn’t realize at the time what an exercise in trust this was for Vince and Janice. After all, they had been betrayed and ‘ripped off’ by the various systems so repeatedly that it must have been very hard to expose themselves yet again to professional assessment and appraisal. I guess -part of their willingness to take another risk was the desperation we shared along with their refusal to give up on their daughter. The fact that all these events took place on a Sunday demonstrated that we professionals too valued Sylvia’s life and were also determined not to surrender to ‘self-abuse’. They commented that they had never felt that sort of commitment from professionals before.

David didn’t ask different things really. He just was more detailed in his enquiries. And, in doing so, more information than had been previously elicited became available for our considerations. This new information kept us going for several weeks. I guess when it’s a matter of life-or-death, you seem to skim over detail looking for something very large to hold on to. Or at least I did. It was wonderful to be reminded of the particulars and the significance of them. With the.wisdom of hindsight I now realize I was being taken over by ‘self-abuse’ as well. It seemed at the time that nothing else was important because it loomed so large over each and every one of us. Returning our focus to the detail of our achievements renewed our commitments to each other. It was a great relief to be honest. Once again, we were addressing ‘self-abuse’ without allowing it to dominate us. David never lost his intensity throughout the whole afternoon and, as time went by, our motivation to continue to deal with this ‘huge’ problem was revived. Here was someone who didn’t sound defeated nor did he consider this a -lost cause. We all regained both our hope and commitment for Sylvia to live on in her life.

Perhaps part of the magic was that David was a stranger, heard when I read his taxes over the phone, but unseen. Sylvia who had been so isolated and distanced by ‘self-abuse’ was quite perplexed. that there was someone who just dived into the deep end of events in her life, seemed unafraid and certainly wasn’t writing her off. Not only that but ‘self-abuse” had no opportunity to isolate her from David. He wasn’t”t a physical presence. Under normal circumstances, I would have predicted she Would have spent a fair bit of time giving him ‘stay away from me’ signals in order to remain isolated. Here, she didn’t have to push him away because he was already away. To some extent, there was no way for ‘self-abuse’ to isolate her; these mad fax interactions didn’t allow for that. The spontaneity of David’s 6 spirit’, somewhat disembodied, was a new experience for all of us, including ‘self-abuse’.

Six months later we agreed to write to David to give him an update.

Follow-up Letter, 10th October 1996

Dear David:

I just wanted to give you an update on Sylvia. She is just doing FANTASTICALLY!! She has been ‘self-abuse’ free for twenty-five weeks now. She is in her second term at TAFE doing her Year 10 Certificate and is doing really well. She has just been to our September camp and this was her second ‘self-abuse’ free camp. Not only that but Sylvia participated in all the ‘trust’ exercises, which she has never done before and was nominated in a small group to report back to the large group. She did it with ease. This was a first for her and was some thing she never thought was possible.

Janice and Vince have noticed an amazing difference in Sylvia as well and say that she is mixing well with the young people at TAFE. They are feeling much more relaxed and confident when Sylvia leaves the house to go out with her friends.

Naturally we are all thrilled and greatly relieved at this turnaround and are beginning to feel some confidence that ‘set(-abuse’ may be finding the going too tough. It may even be giving up. Sylvia reports that there are times ‘when it still attempts to make a comeback. However, she is much more aware of its tactics and is no longer taken by surprise. In fact, she can even now plan ahead

So, in closing, I am happy to report that ‘self-abuse’ is the weakest it has been in the last six years and we all have a feeling of being united, strong and confident. Naturally we remain suspicious and ready to fight again if necessary. At the moment, it looks like another win for the ‘good guys’.

Hope you are well and happy,


Reply letter from David, 24 October 1996

Dear Kerry,

I really appreciate hearing back from you, updating me on Sylvia. It is just so great to learn that she has been ‘self-abuse’ free now for 25 weeks and that she has returned to school at TAFE and doing well. I guess I am not really surprised when I consider how much abilities and talents must have been held back by ‘self@-abuse’ practices. Does her doing well have anything to do with ‘self-appreciation’ guiding her in her life? I would be interested to know. Please pass on my delight in learning that Vince and Janice can breath a bit easier now. They must be extraordinary people to have kept alive their hope for Sylvia, given what they have endured over the years along with the injustices connected to that.

It makes my day to know that connecting up with everyone in the somewhat odd way we did in those chance circumstances may have loosened a brick in the wall. I would like to think that for all of us at that time, when the. going got tough, we all got going.

Feel free to pass this letter on to Vince, Janice and Sylvia. I wish you all well, although I would doubt that there won’t be the odd comeback up ahead But hopefully, it will be so different now and, from my experience, each day without self-abuse allows set(-appreciation and set(-love to form us and our relationships. I was very glad to have shared that day in your lives and thank you, in particular, Kerry, for thinking of me in the first instance and finding me in my office and you, by chance, in yours on a weekend Perhaps, as I like to think, it was all meant to be.

Best wishes to you all,



On 4h July 1997 David was conducting a workshop on the Central Coast in Australia and asked if it might be possible for him to meet with Sylvia, Janice and Vince just to say Hi! They readily agreed. When David and I arrived at the home we were greeted by Vince, Janice, Sylvia and her brother Gary (20) and three young people who were on Sylvia’s ‘camp’ support team. There was no opportunity for shyness or embarrassment as the occasion was taken over by the outrageous wit and jollity of the young people present. How marvellous it was for everyone to attend and celebrate Sylvia’s life. And, despite her shyness at all the fuss, she physically remained at the very ‘heart’ of her ‘community’ with her family, myself, David and ‘friends’ surrounding her. And, for the best part of the evening, Sylvia wore a wry grin all over her face.

We never spoke of the ritual of inclusion again. I chuckling about it because I think we did one of our own without realizing. David responded to my feelings of isolation and despair rather than to my request for information. This experience has highlighted for us the importance of support teams’ for therapists. Not the traditional support teams of drugs and institutionalization that can increase isolation,, but support teams of concerned and committed people. A ‘community of concern’ that promotes connection and solidarity. Modem technology allows us to contact and be contacted by fax, phone or email anywhere in the world. We use such technologies to increase our efficiency; why not do the same to access and increase our support teams?