This paper examines community mental health in rural and remote settings, characterized as sole practice. Using a grounded theory approach, the research reported here explored how meanings of health and health care are advanced within the context of rural mental health care, dominated and in the main led by nurses. Five different practice sites in rural New South Wales were involved. The study articulated a model of therapeutics that foregrounds a relationship of intense professional intimacy and trust against a context of geographical disadvantage and professional isolation. The meanings of the relationship are elaborated in terms of unusually high levels of responsibility, professional ingenuity, powerlessness and the independent and risky character of life in the bush.