Talk to someone now. Call our National Helpline on 1800 33 4673. You can also chat online or email

Talk to someone now. Call our National Helpline on 1800 33 4673. You can also chat online or email

Intensive Outpatient Program

Butterfly’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) aims to empower each person’s healthy self and instil a strong belief in recovery for adults experiencing an eating disorder.

Inspired by the work of Carolyn Costin and the 8 Keys to Recovery, this program represents a unique and different approach to eating disorder treatment in Australia.

This critical program is on hold while we seek funding for further dates

Please contact if you’d like to learn more about this philanthropy opportunity.


Program Outline

Using combined elements of a strong clinical team, high staff to client ratio and individual treatment plans, the IOP works to enhance the ability for the individual to deal with his or her eating disorder by:

  • Developing individual skills and strategies
  • Identifying underlying psychological issues that may be interfering with recovery
  • Improving social and relationship dynamics
  • Educating and guiding family members and significant others



The environment of the IOP is designed to reflect real-life situations that are encountered in daily life.

This includes:

  • Cooking and eating meals at home
  • Eating away from home
  • Managing relationships with people as well as food

The IOP staff provide meal therapy where staff support patients through the meal process and act as role models by eating themselves.

The staff work closely with clients in an open and non-judgemental way, placing significant emphasis on forming respectful and trusting therapeutic relationships.


Meet the team

Michelle Sperling is the National Manager, Treatment and Support.

She is a registered Clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist. A highly-experienced eating disorder clinician.Michelle has worked in a wide range of settings including;individual counselling, Butterfly’s Intensive Outpatient Program, Recovery and Carer support groups and programs.

Michelle is trained in evidence-based therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Schema Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and Narrative Therapy. Michelle has a holistic approach to treatment and advocates that recovery is 100% possible. She is passionate about working with those experiencing and caring for someone eating disorder.

Claire is the Treatment Program Coordinator for the Adult and Youth Intensive Outpatient Programs.

Claire has worked for not-for-profit and health based organisations for the past decade. Her passion for health and wellbeing began after completing a project with a local charity, in rural India. Since then, Claire has spent a considerable amount of time working in developing countries. She is an enrolled nurse with many years’ experience in medical administration and management. When Claire is not working at The Butterfly Foundation, she is busy studying a degree in natural medicine and nutrition.

Emma Sheens is the Senior Therapist for the Adult and Youth Intensive Outpatient Programs.

Emma is a warm, genuine and trusted registered Psychologist. She enjoys working with people across various stages of their illness and supporting clients to obtain complete recovery. Her clients typically build strong and natural connection with her early in treatment.

Emma is dedicated to raising awareness about eating disorders and has a strong desire to help people who are suffering and impacted by eating disorders, including individuals and their families. She has been published in the field of eating disorders regarding reducing stigma around eating disorders and presented her research at the Australian and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED) conference in 2017. Emma is passionate about trying to educate and inform individuals about the very real and true nature of an eating disorder.

In addition to her work at The Butterfly Foundation, Emma works in private practice at ‘BodyMatters Australasia’. She has also worked previously at Northside Group, St Leonards Clinic.

Claire Marnane is the Senior Dietitian for Adult and Youth Intensive Outpatient Programs.

Claire is an accredited practicing Dietitian and brings a wealth of experience working in the ED sector which extends from Wesley Hospital to private practice. In addition to that Claire has also published research articles and presented at the Australian and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders ANZAED conferences in 2011 & 2017. Claire is dedicated to working to improve people’s relationship with food through diet, lifestyle, and a holistic approach which considers the role food plays in a person’s life.

Sarah is an Adult and Youth Intensive Outpatient Program Therapist.

Sarah is a provisionally registered Psychologist who has had direct experience working with adolescents and young adults experiencing disordered eating and other co-morbidities in a therapeutic role. Before joining the IOP, Sarah was a Youth Access Clinician at headspace Hurstville and was also chosen by headspace National as a subject matter expert and spoke in a 90 minute training video for new Intake Workers, and actively supported and assisted with training of new Youth Access Clinicians and Clinical students. More recently, through a Butterfly and headspace partnership, Sarah co-facilitated our Emerging and Unfolding 6 week recovery programs for young people in the community who were experiencing disordered eating and body image concerns. Sarah is passionate about continuing her career in Eating Disorders, working with people and their families.

Selin is an Adult Intensive Outpatient Program Therapist and registered Psychologist.

She has had extensive experience in numerous therapeutic settings including; private practice, schools and charities. Selin has worked with children, adolescents and their families who are experiencing emotional, behavioural or social difficulties. In addition to this one of her primary responsibilities included treatment of disordered eating presentations. Selin is proficient in working with families to support parents with strategies to overcoming challenging adolescent behaviour and improve communication between parent and child. She is highly experienced in working with complex presentations and diffusing challenging behaviours. Selin is a team player and experienced in working within a multidisciplinary team.

Bronwyn is an accredited practicing Dietitian working in a casual role as part of the Adult and Youth Intensive Outpatient Program team.

Over the past year she has been working with the National Eating Disorders Collaboration in a role to support Australia’s Primary Health Networks.

This has included delivering introductory level education to health professionals, stakeholder management and disseminating consistent evidence-based information on eating disorders prevention, early intervention, management across Australia. She maintains fortnightly private practice work at a GP Clinic in Sydney’s south and looks forward to working alongside the IOP team and the opportunity to expand her clinical experience in the treatment of those experiencing eating disorders.

Jackie is a registered psychologist with a passion for working and understanding eating disorders, as well as other mental health concerns.

She has spent most of her professional career working with young people experiencing mild to severe mental health concerns and strives to work as collaboratively as possible with people and their networks. Jackie has experience providing a range of therapeutic approaches including (but not limited to) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Schema Therapy, and Family Based Treatment for Eating Disorders (FBT), and aims to work as closely as possible to shift challenging behaviours and help equip both individuals and families throughout the recovery journey.

Find out more

The Adult Intensive Outpatient Program is finished for 2019. We are currently seeking funding for this critical program.

Please contact if you’d like to learn more about this philanthropy opportunity.

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For support or referrals to other programs, talk to one of our professional counsellors on the Butterfly National Helpline (8am – midnight 7 days a week AEST).