01 Aug 2023

What is an eating disorder recovery coach and how do they help?


If you’ve been even a little bit plugged into the eating disorder space recently, the chances are you’ve heard about recovery coaching.

Over the past couple of years, recovery coaching has attracted increasing ‘buzz’ in the eating disorder field and is now recognised as a valuable component of treatment and recovery from eating disorders. But there’s still a fair amount of confusion about what coaching actually is! Which is where we hope this blog can help clear a few things up.

But first! Who are we?! (the co-writers of this blog). Our names are Olivia and Sophie and we are both certified eating disorder recovery coaches working at a practice called Uncovery. We have both fully recovered from an eating disorder and are incredibly passionate about coaching and the value of lived experience in eating disorder treatment and support.

What exactly is recovery coaching? And how can it help you to achieve your recovery goals?

Eating disorder recovery coaching is an adjunct to clinical treatment for eating disorders. Meaning that as coaches, we are not clinicians, BUT we help your clinicians (dietitian, therapist etc.) to help you.

Recovery coaches help facilitate growth and behaviour change related to recovery and play an important role in helping to build a skill base for daily living that is necessary for a full and lasting recovery. We understand that recovery means a lot more than simply stopping behaviours or improving observable markers of progress, we know this because we’ve been there ourselves.

You can think of a recovery coach like a guide who is here to support you through your recovery journey in a way that is non-judgemental, collaborative and rooted in our own experience of recovery.

Because we have recovered ourselves, we understand your challenges on a level that others who haven’t walked the journey to recovery simply cannot.

This ability to role model what life as a recovered person can look like, can be incredibly hope-inspiring for our clients, and is something we hear time and again as one of the biggest assets to working with a coach.

Whilst lived experience isn’t a qualification in itself, as recovery coaches, we have extensive training and are skilled in the best ways we can put our lived experience to use to help you in your own recovery journey.

Sometimes this is as simple as being a living, breathing example and hope that recovery is possible, which is an immensely powerful thing we are able to give to our clients.

Recovery coaches also offer services that clinicians typically are unable to, such as meal support in a variety of settings including at cafes and restaurants, grocery shopping, clothes shopping and text support between individual coaching sessions.

We are there alongside you as you do the hard work outside of your therapist’s office. We recognise that the majority of recovery happens outside those important appointments, and we intentionally make ourselves available to our clients in those times, so clients can practise skills, work towards goals or just have someone to reach out to if they’re struggling.

What is it like to work with a recovery coach?

Working with a coach looks different for everyone! But right at the foundation of coaching is the idea of meeting people where they’re at. As coaches we recognise that recovery is a long and bumpy road, and we also know that it’s important to really understand where people are at in their personal journey when we start working together.

This is super important to us because we want to be able to support you in a way that meets your needs, your motivations and the stage of recovery you come to us in. What we chat about or work on together is decided collaboratively, with the aim to ensure that you always feel heard, validated and supported each step of the way.

The Uncovery Origin Story

Olivia is a Carolyn Costin Institute certified eating disorder recovery coach and the founder of Uncovery. Through her own lived experience with an eating disorder, she was inspired to make treatment and recovery services more accessible in Australia.

Olivia found herself facing many obstacles during her own recovery journey. The pathway often felt so focused on the clinical aspect of recovery, that there wasn’t support for what happens when you go back home, or finding deeper healing and purpose. Olivia knew something was missing in eating disorder recovery services available in Australia. And so deeply driven by her experience, Olivia was inspired to establish Uncovery in 2018.

Sophie joined the Uncovery team in 2022 and is also a certified recovery coach with a background in social work. During her own recovery, she found lived experience an invaluable source of hope and inspiration that full recovery from an eating disorder is possible.

She developed a passion to help others in their own recovery journeys and also wanted to be open about her own lived experience. These things led to her train as a recovery coach through the Carolyn Costin Institute.

At Uncovery, our team based in Melbourne and Perth but available (virtually) worldwide, understands just how challenging and, at times, isolating the journey to recovery from disordered eating can be. That’s why we strive to bridge the gaps in support and create a more holistic approach to recovery.

We emphasise practical reintegration into everyday life during and beyond treatment, empowering you with the skills and tools you need to help build a sustainable path to food freedom.

Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with an eating disorder, we’re here to help you break free from disordered eating and build a healthier relationship with food and your body. We truly believe that recovery is possible, so if you’re ready to reclaim your life, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Find out more 

Get Support

If you need support for an eating disorder or body image concern, connect with Butterfly’s National Helpline on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673), chat online or email support@butterfly.org.au for confidential and free counselling, 7 days a week, 8am-midnight (AEDT).


Related tags: coaching Eating Disorder eating disorder recovery coach Lived Experience peer worker peer workforce Recovery recovery coach