A Word from David
I founded the Heavy M.E.T.A.L (Men’s Education Towards Anger and Life) Group because I believe men with help, can change their tune. It has become clear that there is a great need for this program in the Community. Statistics tell us that men today are suffering more than ever from anxiety, depression, stress, anger, suicidal thoughts, and drug/alcohol abuse. Is change possible? Of course it is! If you can feel comfortable talking to someone who has been through their own journey and knows exactly where you are coming from then you can talk to me. My aim is to show men that changing abusive and violent behaviour is possible and that I am not here to condemn men, I am here to help them and that I understand their fears.
When men or their partners call the HEAVY M.E.T.A.L number, it is me on the other end and I am happy to talk to either partner. The fact that when they call, they are talking to the person that is actually running the program. This alleviates some misconceptions for them; I like to explain how the program works and how important it is to attend the whole program as change takes time and nobody can change old behaviours in only ten weeks.
Most men are hesitant to make that initial enquiry and that is OK, so often their partner will phone and ask all the questions. They then relay all the information back to the men and by the time I talk to them, they are quite comfortable in talking to me. It’s very important to me that men who join this program are doing so for the right reasons. We go through this together at the initial Assessment Interview.
The first step for men who attend my program is that they need to acknowledge that their current behaviour is not just destructive to themselves but also their partner, and most importantly, the children involved in the relationship. The cycle of violence is an ugly one, but, with understanding and re-education, can be broken. Unfortunately, when men and women see the words ‘violence’ or ‘abusive’ they tend to associate both these words with ‘physical’ violence and/or abuse.
There are many forms of abuse which is as equally damaging as physical abuse eg: emotional, verbal, sexual and social. The HEAVY M.E.T.A.L program is for any man who wants to stop hurting his loved ones, who wants to stop lashing out, and to stop controlling or manipulating, and who is prepared to learn new ways and skills to express themselves, who is after a better way of life for their partner, family and themselves.
The aim of the program is to encourage men to take responsibility for their behaviour before the problem escalates to the point of separation, Police or Court intervention.
David Nugent, who was once a violent and abusive person, is now in tune with himself, his family, his children and his life.
He currently works as a counsellor/psychotherapist and as a facilitator for the Heavy M.E.T.A.L Men’s Behaviour Change Program and at Secondary Schools helping teenagers. He would rather be known as a coach who helps others get in tune with themselves. David has been involved in men’s programs for twenty years.
He appeared on the ABC Documentary “Primal Fear” where he shared part of his journey of change.
David realised one day that if he did not change his behaviour he would lose his family. Attending a Behaviour Change Group some ten years ago saved his relationship with both his partner and his children. David states, “I am glad I chose to seek help, I have given my partner and step-children a chance to be happy and I am at peace instead of out of control.”
David continued his work by graduating at Swinburne University Of Technology with a Graduate Certificate in Social Science for Male Family Violence as a group facilitator and Telephone Counsellor.
In 2005 he completed a Post Graduate Diploma in counselling with La Trobe University. In 2006 he completed the Specialist Course in Couple Therapy at Relationships Australia. He became a member of the Australian Counselling Association.
Before founding the Heavy M.E.T.A.L Group David facilitated men’s groups at Dandenong Community Health, Box Hill Community Health, and Relationships Australia for over five years. As well was a volunteer telephone counsellor for the Men’s Referral Service.
In 2004; knowing change is possible and understanding, from his own life experience, the struggle Men have with expressing their feelings and emotions David decided to create and run his own program by founding the Heavy M.E.T.A.L (Men’s Education Towards Anger & Life) Group. Initially, he started it at the Dromana Community House. Due to popular demand, David was invited by Outlook Community Centre to bring the Heavy M.E.T.A.L program to Pakenham. The Heavy M.E.T.A.L program was at Pakenham (Victoria) from 2004 to 2010. Unfortunately due to water damage to the building the program had to be relocated. Since 2011 the program has been based at Narre Warren. Since 2004 David has given over 3000 men the opportunity to begin their own journey in behaviour change! David provides a counselling service for individuals, couples and teenagers at Cranbourne and Narre Warren.
In 2006, David was invited to run his program at the Eumemmerring Secondary College (Endeavour Hills Campus) for year ten boys who struggle with managing their anger – see ‘Media Exposure’ for more information. Due to the success of the program, David was invited back in 2007 to run the program for both boys and girls. The program continued until the school closed in 2011.
In 2007, David was invited to run his program at Fountain Gate Secondary College.
In 2008, David appeared with two families he has worked with on the ABC ‘4 Corners’ documentary – see ‘Media Exposure’ for more information. Since this documentary went to air David has been inundated with requests for his help from both Men and Women across Australia.
From 2011 to 2013 David was invited to run the program at Marnebek School in Cranbourne.
Since introducing the program at schools, David has been overwhelmed with the number of parents seeking help with their teenagers. He currently works with many teenagers, who wish to address issues around anger management, self-esteem, assertiveness and dealing with parent conflicts.
In July 2008, David was invited by Monash University as a guest lecturer for final year students of Social Work.
In August 2014 David and the team at Heavy M.E.T.A.L Program were invited to participate in creating the Documentary “Call Me Dad”. A story about men who have perpetrated or are at risk of perpetrating family violence. At stake is the safety of children and partners, the stability of families, and the power we as a society have to intervene. These men are followed as they attempt to change and heal their most precious relationships, and earn another shot at the title, ‘Dad’. The film is expected to be aired on the ABC after June 2015.
In November 2014: David was invited to speak about working with perpetrators of Family Violence with Social Workers working in the south East of Melbourne at the Casey Hospital at Berwick. David was also was the guest speaker for the White Ribbon Breakfast hosted by the City of Cardinia.
David is continuing his work at Fountain Gate Secondary College.
The women’s program is becoming more and more popular; see ‘Women’s Workshops’ for more information. This program offers women support with the struggles they have with their partner. The program fundamentally aims at empowerment which is the beginning of healing from the oppression of abuse and violence. The Heavy M.E.T.A.L Group is committed to offering support to women dealing with abuse and its affects. Our program for women provides a safe place for women to connect with each other to ease isolation, share information, raise awareness, heal by developing coping and recovery skills and plan for a life free from abuse. The women who attend this program are making changes in their lives and are breaking the effects the cycle of violence has on themselves as well as their children.
Due to popular demand, David offers telephone counselling, by arrangement for both individuals and couple who are unable to see him face to face. He also has run personal development workshops at schools, businesses and sporting clubs.
Grad Dip Counselling & Human Serv. (Latrobe University)
Member of Australian Counselling Association
Founder and Director of Heavy M.E.T.A.L Group (Men’s Education Toward’s Anger & Life)