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

Next Steps Outpatient Program


Next Steps is a virtual, intensive program that can provide you with interim care after inpatient treatment for an eating disorder. The program aims to reduce relapse and readmission after leaving hospital or residential programs to support long term recovery.  

The program is free to eligible Australians and provides a minimum of 3 hours support per day, 3 days a week, for 8 weeks via a multidisciplinary team, including: 

  • Weekly individual psychology, dietetic and peer worker sessions 
  • Structured meal support and group programs 
  • Weekly psychoeducational sessions and support groups for carers
  • Nursing support and regular case conferencing with a GP or psychiatrist to ensure there is continuity in your treatment plan

Next Steps also provides support for carers through education and the introduction of skills to assist in their loved one’s recovery.

You can self-refer to the program or be referred by your GP or psychiatrist via the different forms below. If you are self-referring, your GP or psychiatrist will be required to complete a referral form supporting your application to the program and providing medical clearance.

Once the medical referral has been received and you have been accepted into the program, you will undergo a psychosocial and dietetic assessment with program staff.  

Participant Handbook

Click here to download the participant handbook

Referrals – I would like to refer myself to Next Steps

Referrals – I’m a healthcare professional and would like to refer my client/patient to Next Steps


Frequently Asked Questions

To be eligible for the program, you must:  

  • Be over the age of 16 at the time of assessment 
  • Meet DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, or Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) as a primary diagnosis 
  • Be discharging from a residential or inpatient unit in line with medical advice, or have had a planned discharge from residential/inpatient unit in the 90 days prior to your referral to Next Steps 
  • Be medically stable at intake, assessment, and for the duration of the program  
  • Be willing to undergo regular medical monitoring for the duration of the program  
  • Have well managed co-occurring substance-use disorders 
  • Maintain BMI and/or weight restoration or maintenance in line with your discharge plan and recommendations from your inpatient or residential unit 
  • Be assessed a low risk for suicidality or deliberate self-harm 
  • Be able to participate in the program virtually 
  • Have access to a private and confidential space where you can participate in the sessions 

Next Steps is an 8 week program providing support on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Group sessions run from 3:30-7:30pm (AEDT/AEST) on Mondays and Tuesdays and from 4:30-7:30pm (AEDT/AEST) on Wednesdays.

Individual sessions will be scheduled between12:30-2:30pm (AEDT/AEST) on any of the three days.  

Next Steps will be informed by evidence-based treatments for group and individual therapy and will include both psychological and dietetic support. During this 8-week program, you will participant in group therapy, supported meals, and will receive individual support from a psychologist and dietitian. The program content will draw upon various modalities including CBT-e, DBT, and mindfulness approaches.

Group sessions will focus on addressing many aspects of eating disorders and disordered eating, including body image concerns, emotion regulation difficulties, relationship difficulties, and the normalisation of eating behaviour, allowing you to explore their struggles in a safe, supportive, and recovery-focused environment.

Yes, this is a virtual program, so as long as you have internet access and a device that has a camera, you can join the sessions from anywhere in Australia.  

The sessions will happen via Zoom. The group sessions will utilise breakout rooms for meal support. 

Thanks to Federal Government funding and Butterfly’s generous supporters, Next Steps is free for anyone aged 16+ in Australia who has recently been discharged from inpatient, residential, or hospital care and meets the eligibility criteria mentioned above.

Next Steps is a step-down program, meaning you must have left inpatient or residential care to be eligible for the program. If your discharge from inpatient/residential care was more than 90 days ago, you may still be eligible for the program. Please email detailing your situation and our team will assess your application.  

If you do not meet the criteria for the program but are looking for answers to specific issues around eating disorder recovery or caregiving, it’s best to consult with your treating professionals, or contact our National Helpline. You can also view Butterfly’s other treatment and recovery support services by clicking here.

Next Steps is an open, intensive outpatient program for 12 participants that provides a minimum of 3 hours support per day, 3 days a week, for 8 weeks, with the potential to extend your time in the program to a total of 12 weeks.

Any applicants who are assessed as suitable for Next Steps while the program is full will be placed on the waitlist. Applicants on the waitlist will receive a list of helpful resources and weekly calls from peer support workers to check-in until their admission to the program.  

The involvement of family, carers, significant others, and support people is important in the treatment of people with eating disorders. Next Steps supports individuals and their loved ones through education and the introduction of skills to assist in recovery.

The nominated support people of participants will have the option of joining one of Butterfly’s Collaborate Care Skills Workshops. The workshops are evidence-based carer interventions that have been shown to reduce psychological distress, burden, expressed emotion and emotional over-involvement in carers of people experiencing an eating disorder. More information about this program can be found here. 

Next Steps Outpatient Program is an inclusive program that seeks to provide a safe and non-judgemental space for all participants.  Information shared with other group members is strictly confidential and is not to be discussed with anyone outside of the group. Sessions are not recorded.

Clinicians working with the Next Steps team have a professional and legal obligation to keep participant information confidential, with the exceptions of if risk of harm to a participant or community member becomes identified.

Butterfly recognises that eating disorders can affect anyone regardless of their ethnicity, colour, culture, religion, economic status, gender identity, sexuality, age, or abilityWe prioritise inclusive and safe spaces for every person in the community. 

During referral and admission

Being a virtual program, Next Steps relies on medical professionals and community-based medical teams to provide assurance around a participant’s medical suitability. As such, medical clearance forms from the participants treatment GP or psychiatrist are required for participants to be eligible, and to remain engaged on the program.

When completing the medical referral form, your GP or psychiatrist must commit to monitoring you for the entirety of the program. Next Steps requires blood tests and ECG for admission into the program, but the medical monitoring for the remainder of the program will be at the discretion of your referring GP/psychiatrist.

During the program

Next Steps staff may request a participant attend their GP for more frequent medical monitoring if there is indication that the participant is deteriorating or new information raising concerns about ED behaviours is identified during the course of the program.

The Next Steps Outpatient Program nurse will also review all medical clearance forms and will liaise with the nominated medical professional if any abnormalities arise.

For more information please see the Participant Handbook.

It is a non-negotiable of the program that you attend all sessions. If you must miss a group session due to unforeseen circumstances, it is essential you let the team member leading the group know before the start of the session, so we don’t escalate your safety plan. You will need to reschedule your individual psychology, peer worker, or dietetic sessions.  

Patients may be accepted into the program 90 days after being discharged from a residential or inpatient program. A referral from a GP or psychiatrist is required to be assessed for the service. Referrals can be made via the online portal or by email from the medical team. Participants are also required to complete an online intake form themselves as part of the referral process.

The Next Steps Outpatient Program is available to individuals aged 16 years and over, as research suggests that Enhanced Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT-e) is one of the most effective treatments for eating disorders in an outpatient setting, which is what is utilised throughout Next Steps.

For those younger than 16, research indicates that the leading evidence-based treatment would be Family Based Therapy (FBT). FBT provides more wrap around care, and a strong emphasis on integrating the support of a young person’s primary caregivers.

Can’t attend this program?

Find out about our free Virtual and Webchat Support Groups for anyone living with a body image issue or eating disorder.

Butterfly’s Virtual Support Groups are facilitated by trained peer facilitators who have lived experience of an eating disorder themselves. Anyone over age 18 from anywhere in Australia is welcome to attend.

Our Webchat Support Groups are facilitated by specialist counsellors from our National Helpline. Anyone over age 16 from anywhere in Australia is welcome to attend.

Find out more