Frequently Asked Questions


1Can 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 you can book a phone assessment here.
2Who do you accept into the RLNZ programme?
• We accept people struggling with eating disorders who are medically stable.
• 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.
• We accept clients from all over New Zealand and internationally.
3I'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. Our programme is designed to cater to all levels of recovery. If you find yourself being able to eat the food without issue, there are various ways we can individualise your experience as you progress through the levels in our programme. An eating disorder is about so much more than just food, we will look at many areas of recovery including body image, exercise or movement, your emotions, self-esteem, your relationships, internal vs external motivation, purpose...there are lots of places to do good work.
4I’ve been diagnosed with SEED (Severe and Enduring Eating Disorder) – can I actually recover?
Absolutely. SEED is a diagnosis that speaks to where you are right now - struggling with an eating disorder for many years, not to where you might end up – recovered. We believe that everyone can recover fully, and we accept that not everyone will recover fully. Full recovery requires a willingness to surrender all your eating disorder beliefs and behaviours. We have never met anyone who came to treatment 100% willing and ready to do this! It is not possible to make a clear choice about what you want from the depths of your eating disorder, which is where residential treatment has so much value. Once you have space from your eating disorder behaviours, you are in a clearer position to choose what you want for your life moving forwards. Recovery is often a process of many steps forwards and back as you work through your ambivalence. When people learn how to direct the energy they put into their eating disorder into their recovery, the possibility for a recovered life opens up.
5How does your waitlist work & how long is it?
Our waitlist works on a first come, first served basis. Admission to our programme is dependent on another clients discharge. Please contact our admissions team to enquire about the length of our current waitlist.
6I would like to see where I'll be living. Can I come and see the RLNZ home?
Absolutely! Please reach out to let us know you would like a tour of the RLNZ home and we can arrange this with you.

Residential Programme

1How 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. In order for you to get some traction in recovery, the minimum length of stay in our programme is four weeks. We have found that for highly motivated clients, an average time in Residential is around two - four months in order to create significant, sustainable change. For clients who have significant trauma, other complex mental health issues or are unsure about recovery, it may take more time to work through the levels in our programme. At the end of the day, recovery is an individual journey with individual timeframes.
2Can I stay longer than you typically recommend if needed?
Absolutely! Where possible we recommend you stay for our full programme in order to give you the best traction in recovery. How long that takes is an individual process.
3Can I do the minimum of 4 weeks in Residential and move straight to the Day Programme?
We are very careful about matching your recovery phase to the appropriate level in our programme. A requirement of entry into the Day Programme is that you have completed Level 4 in our Residential Programme. If we fast track clients by minimising support before you are ready, we risk the eating disorder gaining traction and your recovery going backwards. That being said, it is possible (although unusual) to complete a level each week in Residential.
4What does a usual day look like?
Our days are quite structured, and programme runs 7 days a week. There are typically 2-3 therapeutic groups each day that are programmed in between meals or snacks. You will see a therapist for individual sessions 3 times each week, the dietitian twice weekly and the psychiatrist and GP as required. As you progress in recovery we have various optional movement activities such as yoga, or beach walks. Finally, we have outings several times a week to reflect normal living (e.g., the Warehouse for essentials, lunch outing, Sunday markets etc.). At times the programme schedule may be adjusted to suit the current needs of the client group.
5Will my treatment be individualised for me?
Yes! With just 14 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.
6Can I do te kura, uni or work while at treatment?
When clients first come to Residential, they tend to request a leave of absence for six to 12 weeks from work, school or uni to prioritise their health and get into regular recovery patterns.

On Level 4 in Residential and as you step into our Day Programme, there will be an increased amount of personal 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.
7Can 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 focus on your recovery and be present in our programme. As you move up the levels you will have access to your phone and laptop at certain times throughout the day as part of preparing for independent living in our Day Programme, or for returning home.

We have a client computer and landline phone for use during the day and evening to briefly check emails or make calls on an as needed basis.
8When can I shower?
Showers are always available in the morning before breakfast, and they are available to some clients before bed. For clients who struggle with purging, you will start out on morning showers only. As you progress through our programme, you will be able to lean in to having evening showers to test the strength of your recovery. We understand that a shower can be a comforting coping strategy for some clients who struggle with PTSD. We are unable to provide you with showers outside of the hours before breakfast and directly before bed, however, we can offer you a facecloth and warm or cold water to wash your hands, arms and face as a ‘next best option’. We know it can be difficult to have a familiar coping strategy unavailable to you, so we encourage you to reach out to us to talk through any challenges you are experiencing. Please know we are here for you 100% as you go through the recovery process.
9Can friends and whānau/family visit me?
Of course! We have dedicated times throughout the weekdays during the afternoons and evenings when your friends and whānau/family can visit you. These are scheduled around meals, key groups and activities. Weekend visiting hours are a little more extensive to accommodate visitors from out of town. 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.
10How many people are in treatment at a time?
We are starting small to make sure we start well so will open with 6 residential clients and increase as we are ready to move towards full capacity which is 8-10 residential clients and 4-6 day programme clients.
11Can I take leave to visit home?
On the early levels of our programme, we will be supporting you 100% of the time with having space from your eating disorder. As you move up the levels you will be able to apply for passes away from the RLNZ home. At first these passes will be with family or friends and as you move further up the levels passes may include a half day or day/s away to road test the strength of your recovery. This gives you good information as to where your work lies in the next stage of your recovery.
12Where is the Recovered Living NZ home?
The RLNZ home is situated in Sefton, North Canterbury, a 30 minute drive from the airport and 35 minutes north of Christchurch city. In order to protect clients privacy we only give the specific address of the RLNZ home to clients and whānau/family or friends who wish to visit. The closest towns to Sefton are Amberley (10 minutes), Rangiora (15 minutes) and Christchurch (35 minutes). There are accommodation and restaurant options in all three towns. When visiting from out of town you will need a vehicle as there are no public transport options to Recovered Living NZ at this time.
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 you pick me up/drop me off from the airport?
We can pick up or drop off Residential clients to the airport or Christchurch City. When you book your travel please let us know what time and where you would like us to pick you up from.
16Can I go to Church or engage in cultural practices in Residential?
We will do our very best to incorporate your religious, spiritual or cultural needs into our program. There will be an opportunity to communicate these needs during the phone assessment and where possible we will arrange transport to religious services for you and or access to communities or elders from your faith or culture.

Day & Partial Programme

1Do 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.

Please do not panic if your situation means you can only attend Residential for a set amount of time. You can absolutely still recover, the transition to home is a bigger step but it is still possible.
2I live in Christchurch. While I’m at Day Programme will I just go home in the evenings and come back to the RLNZ home in the mornings?
Exactly that! The evenings are a window of independence for you to road test your recovery in ‘the real world’. Once you have carved out recovery routines for yourself and are in a strong place, it will be time to move to our Partial Programme. Please note that currently, there are no public transport options to the RLNZ home so you will need your own vehicle.
3I do not live locally. Can I do Day Programme while living at the RLNZ house?
We do have a more flexible option for people who are from out of town. Where space permits, and if you meet our criteria to safely stay on our premises partially unsupervised, you may complete Day Programme while staying at the RLNZ home. If you transition to our Partial Programme you are required to source your own accommodation and transport to and from RLNZ.
4Do I require my own vehicle if I am from out of town and completing Day Programme while living at the RLNZ home?
Yes. It is important you have a way to participate in any social activities or personal errands you need to make outside of programme hours. A component of Day Programme will be participating in individualised challenges such as driving yourself to and from the grocery store, or having a structured period of time in town on your own before coming back to the RLNZ home to debrief the experience. Having your own vehicle and the increased independence that goes with it is an important component in preparing you for the next level of recovery.

Virtual Outpatient Programme

1If I don't finish the full RLNZ programme can I join the Virtual Outpatient Programme when I return home?
Yes you can! We recognise that not every individual will have the means to complete our full programme. We are however very protective of the recovery focussed culture in our Virtual Outpatient Programme (VOP).
In order to be a part of the VOP, we require clients to have a recovery mindset. This does not mean you do not struggle, it means if you struggle you are willing to tell the truth about it, take restorative action, and get back on track. If you come to our VOP and are not willing to engage in recovery behaviours with the support of RLNZ staff and other clients, we will ask you to take a pause from the VOP until you are ready to commit to recovery.
2The Virtual Outpatient Programme runs twice each week, do I have to do both groups?
It is your choice whether you do one group a week or two, however you do need to commit to a recurring group each cycle (a cycle is 4 weeks) to maintain the consistency of attendees.
Each group is facilitated by an RLNZ staff member, (typically a therapist or our dietitian) and consists of a meal and therapy/nutrition group.

If you discharge from RLNZ partway through a VOP cycle, we will allow you to join the current VOP group in order to maintain consistency in your recovery.
3How do I sign up to the Virtual Outpatient Programme?
In the week before you discharge, we will provide you with the information you need to sign up. If you have left the RLNZ programme and wish to join the next cycle of the VOP, please reach out to our office via email and we can book you in.
4How many cycles of the Virtual Outpatient Programme can I attend?
As many as you like.
5What happens if I complete a cycle of the Virtual Outpatient Programme but a few months later want to come back, can I do that?
Of course! Recovery is not linear and we would much rather you reach out for support and struggle up into recovery rather than down into a relapse. If you are a returning member of our Virtual Outpatient Programme, we will hold the same expectations as before, that you are bringing a recovery mindset to the group.
6What days and times does the Virtual Outpatient Programme run?
The schedule for the Virtual Outpatient Programme (VOP) is dependent on our available staff who facilitate the group. Please email our office to request the dates and times of the next VOP cycle.

Therapy & Food

1What 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.
2Do 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.
3Do 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.
4How 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.
5What 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.
6What 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.
7What meal support is available?
On the early levels of the RLNZ residential programme we have meal support from our staff before during and after every single meal and snack. As you move into the final levels of the programme, we will gradually transition you into practising independent eating as preparation for moving to our Day Programme or returning home.


1How 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, going to the weekend markets, or grocery shopping. Once these ‘real life experiences’ have become normalised, you will be ready to prepare to transition back home and move to one or both of our virtual support options, the Virtual Outpatient Programme or our weekly online recovery group.
2What is the Transition Support that you offer?
In recognition of the fact not everyone has the means to finance recovery support for the amount of time they would like - and that returning home can be challenging - we offer one week of transition support. Whether you discharge after Residential or after our Partial Programme, we offer a 20 minute zoom check in daily for the first 3 days, and on days five and seven. This allows any teething issues to be worked through promptly and sets you up for success. This is included as part of your programme fees.
3Will 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.
4Once I discharge from RLNZ completely, is there any further support?
Yes! Once a Recovered Living NZ client you are always welcome to come back to our Saturday whānau/family group at any time. This runs out of the RLNZ home every week. You are also welcome to come back to the Virtual Outpatient Groups, should you need additional support.
5What happens if I think I’m ready to leave the RLNZ programme but you think I’m not?
We are a voluntary programme so we will not hold you against your will. A sure-fire way to test if you are ready to leave our programme is via our level system. The strength of your recovery will give both you and us all the information we need. Our programme is designed to gradually give you more independence and autonomy as your healthy self becomes stronger. If you are on Level 4 in our programme and the level of responsibility and autonomy matches your recovery, you will be ready for our Day Programme or to return home. If you are on Level 4 and struggling – it is a good indicator that you need a little more time in treatment at this level of support before you step out into the world.
6How long does it generally take to recover?
Every person’s recovery timeline and journey is individual. We always say that no one leaves Residential treatment recovered, they leave with the knowledge, skills and tools required to continue their recovery journey. We have seen people fully recover in 1-2 years and we have seen people recover in a decade. How quickly or slowly you recover is completely individualised.
7What happens if I want to leave the RLNZ programme?
We treat you being a client of the RLNZ programme like being a tenant of a flat. As a tenant, you are required to give notice before you move out of a flat. Similarly, we require two weeks notice of your intention to discharge our programme, if it differs from the estimated discharge date we recorded when you signed your admission forms. Having a two week notice period helps us design a robust discharge plan for you and allows the next client coming into our programme adequate time to prepare for their admission. If you leave our programme without giving appropriate notice, you forfeit your security deposit.

Information for Whānau/Families

1What 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 throughout.

We run a monthly online group for family members of current 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 2 day weekend intensive (Fri & Sat) at the RLNZ home for whānau/family members, which is designed to assist in developing an understanding of important recovery routines, 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.


1If 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.

If you would like to contribute and help us provide the comprehensive care needed for people to recover from their eating disorders, please make a donation via our website by clicking the 'donate' button on the top right of this page.
2Does RLNZ have contracts with ACC Sensitive Claims or MOH?
Yes! Recovered Living has a contract with ACC Sensitive Claims.

ACC have advised they cannot guarantee that an enquiry will result in a direct referral for funding, however they have outlined the steps required in order to request funding.

The first step is to contact your ACC Recovery Team Member. If you are unsure who your recovery team member is, you can call ACC on 0800 735 566. From there you can request cover for residential treatment for your eating disorder with Recovered Living NZ under ACC Sensitive Claims. ACC will then determine whether Recovered Living NZ services are necessary and appropriate for you at this time.

If successful, you can then commence the assessment process with Recovered Living NZ.

Once you have commenced the process with ACC, please let us know so that we can manage your position on our waitlist.

We have a long term vision of being able to make our programme available at a lower cost so that it is accessible to all. We have reached out to MOH to enquire about obtaining a contract for residential services, however we cannot guarantee a contract and expect this process to take some time.
3Do you accept private health insurance?
As every health insurance policy is different, you will need to check with your insurer if and what they cover. If they don’t cover the entire programme cost, they may cover some services i.e. psychiatrist, GP, dietitian or therapist.
4How is payment made?
Once you commence the pre-admission process for our Residential programme we will reach out to you to arrange payment. For our Residential, Day and Partial Programme, payment is made monthly, two weeks in advance.

For our Virtual Outpatient Programme, once you have registered we will send you an invoice that covers the six week cycle of the programme.