Frequently Asked Questions

1Who do you accept into the RLNZ programme?
• We accept people struggling with eating disorders who are medically stable.
• We accept people of all genders and gender identities.
• We accept people 18 years and over. In special circumstances we may accept people who are 16+ depending on their life experiences and personal circumstances.
2I'm pretty high functioning, what If I'm not sick enough to be in treatment?
At RLNZ we believe that anyone who has an eating disorder at any stage, deserves treatment and care. If you have an eating disorder, it likely affects your thoughts, mood, self esteem, relationships and behaviour. Treatment will help address all of these.
3How long will I stay in Residential?
We pride ourselves on meeting you where you are at so there is no set length of stay in our programmes. Generally speaking in order for you to get some traction in recovery the minimum length of stay in our programme is four weeks.

In saying that, an average time in Residential is around two - four months in order to create sustainable change.
4Do I have to do Day Programme, can I just do Residential?
You can...however there is a risk of prolonging your recovery. In a ten-year study of the Monte Nido eating disorder programme in the United States, it was found that the fastest and strongest recovery occurred when people attended at minimum, Residential and Day programme. It was concluded that the people who completed the entire spectrum of a recovery programme from start to finish were the most likely to reach a full and sustained recovery in the least amount of time.

We recommend you commit three - six months of your life to full time recovery in order to maximise traction in you reaching your recovery goals and having a healthy relationship with food and your body.

Too often we see people shortcut the recovery process, returning to work or university before they have completed a recovery programme. This means they are still struggling to have the freedom and peace from their eating disorder they desire. What you put into your recovery is what you will get out of it.
5Will my treatment be individualised for me?
Yes! With just 12 places in our programme, we do our best to look after your individual needs. We believe recovery takes a village so we have 13+ staff in a variety of roles. Your meal plan, treatment goals and timeframe in treatment is completely tailored to you.
6What kinds of therapy do you offer?
We offer a range of therapies. We hire psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors as our primary therapeutic team to ensure we have a variety of skillsets at our fingertips. As core therapeutic components we offer CBT, DBT, ERP, Family Therapy, Relational Cultural Therapy and ACT. Additional therapeutic options include somatic, art, movement, nature, and music therapy.
7Do you work with trauma?
Absolutely. All of our therapists have skills and training in working with trauma and in particular, working with trauma as part of eating disorder recovery. Additionally, we have therapists trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) which is an evidence based standard for treating trauma.
8Do you work with OCD, Depression, Anxiety or BDD?
Yes. It is very common that eating disorders are accompanied by additional mental health issues. We will help you work through these challenges and over time will be able to tease out what came about as a result of the eating disorder and what may be a separate underlying issue for you to work on as part of your recovery.
9Can I do work or schoolwork while at treatment?
When clients first come to Residential, they tend to request a leave of absence for six to 12 weeks from work or uni to prioritize their health and get into regular recovery patterns.

As you step down to Day programme, there will be an increased amount of spare time you can put towards working or studying. The further you progress in our programme, the more time you will have to transition back into life, as you maintain your new recovery routine.
10What happens if I don’t eat all the food served to me?
Our experienced dietitian will tailor all meals to your body’s unique needs, to stabilise your eating, and support your digestion and metabolism to heal. This will be worked out transparently between you both.

If you are unable to finish meals or snacks, you will be given a nutritional drink supplement to complete your intake. You will be supported in this process as we understand challenging your eating disorder can be incredibly difficult.

Our clients come to us voluntarily because they want help recovering. If you refuse to complete a total of three meals or snacks while in our programme, we may reconsider your suitability for RLNZ.
11What if I have food preferences or intolerances?
Our dietitian will spend quality time with you to understand your food likes, dislikes, fears, and diagnosed intolerances. They will work closely with you to overcome these fears and tease out true food preferences. We design our menus to cater to a range of palates and do offer vegetarian options.
12How much will I have to eat?
Our dietitian will design your meal plan in collaboration with you.

We know that challenging behaviors, fears and weight gain (if required) is hard work. Our dietitian will work with you to help ensure long-term recovery is sustainable — not taking things too fast, nor too slowly either.
13Do you allow caffeine?
At RLNZ our aim is to help you learn how to use caffeinated beverages appropriately. While on level one in Residential, we will initially ask you to use decaf while your body is adjusting to abstaining from behaviours and tolerating food so that we do not cause it any additional stress. As your body adjusts and you move up the levels, we can provide you with caffeinated coffee once a day. When you move to Day and Partial programme, you will be taking responsibility for the level of caffeine that supports your recovery.
14Do you allow nicotine or vaping?
We have a non-smoking and non-vaping policy on RLNZ grounds. If you would like to continue using nicotine whilst in our programme, we will ask you to wear patches.
15Can I bring my phone? Can I use social media?
Yes you can bring your phone to treatment. When you first enter Residential, we collect your technology items such as phones and laptops in order to give you space from the outside world and to focus on your recovery. We have specific times set aside each day for you to reconnect with your personal technology and social media.

We also have a client computer and phone for use during the day to briefly check emails or make calls on an as needed basis.
16Can friends and whānau/family visit me?
Of course! We have dedicated times throughout the week during the day and evening when your friends and whānau/family can visit you. These are scheduled around meals, key groups and activities. Passes outside of treatment are also granted as you move through our level system. While on pass you will be able to go out with your friends or whānau/family to explore Christchurch and surrounding areas.
17What support is available for whānau/families?
Supportive relationships are a crucial component in anyones recovery from an eating disorder. We have designed our programme in a way that maximises whānau/family involvement from pre-admission through to post-discharge.

We invite all of our clients to engage their whānau/family in the pre-admission and admission process so that they feel informed and supported all the way.

We run a weekly online group for family members of clients which focuses on education around the philosophy of the RLNZ programme, stages of change and provides a platform to ask questions.

Every Saturday we have an in person whānau/family and relationship group which clients and whānau/family members attend together. This group is open to all graduates of the RLNZ programme and their whānau/family on an ongoing basis.

Once a month we also have a 3 day weekend intensive for whānau/family members, which is designed to assist in developing stronger relationships and understanding, in preparation for discharge.

Finally, we offer whānau/family therapy as part of our programme as well as inviting whānau/family members to be part of the discharge planning and preparation process where practical.
18How will I transition back to life after treatment?
Our programme is designed to help you do just that. As you progress through our levels of care, you will get more flexibility and responsibility. We will ask you to practice the scenarios you might face outside of treatment, for example eating at a restaurant, attending a class at the gym (if that's your thing), or grocery shopping. Once these ‘real life experiences’ have become normalised, you will be ready to prepare to transition back home and move to our virtual support option.
19Will I be given discharge information when I leave treatment?
Absolutely. Our team will work with you to create a discharge plan while you are with us. This will include goals for you to continue moving forward after treatment with us and relapse prevention strategies.

We will also provide handovers to outpatient professionals you may choose to work with, to identify any areas for aftercare.
20How does your waitlist work?
We work on a first come, first served basis.
21If you are a Charitable Trust, why there are fees for the programme?
Every client that comes to RLNZ is subsidised by the Charitable Trust. To date, over one million dollars has been donated in time, goods and services to get Recovered Living NZ to where it is today. There is however, a gap between the funds we have available and the run cost of our programme, hence the need for fees. We are a not for profit so any donations we receive go right back into the programme in the form of scholarships or further subsidised treatment.

We are currently applying for tenders with the Ministry of Health and have a long term vision of being able to make our programme available at a lower cost so that it is accessible to all.
22Can I refer myself to RLNZ or does my doctor need to?
We take self referrals from clients who are interested in coming to our programme. To start the process, fill out our Express of Interest form here.
23I would like to see where I'll be living. Can I come and see the RLNZ home?
Absolutely. At present the home is privately tenanted and is undergoing renovations to make it ready for our opening. Once the home is complete, we will be conducting short tours once a fortnight for people who wish to see the house in person. Please contact us closer to our opening if you would like to see the RLNZ home and we can arrange this with you.
24What is the physical address of the RLNZ home?
In order to respect the confidentiality and privacy of our clients, we do not publish our physical address. If you would like to see the RLNZ home, this is by appointment only - please contact us closer to our opening to arrange this.