I founded the Heavy M.E.T.A.L. (Men’s Education Towards Anger and Life) Group because I believe that with the right help and support, men can change their tune. Statistics tell us that men, more than ever, are suffering from anxiety, depression and stress which can all lead to drug and alcohol abuse, anger and suicidal thoughts. Is change possible? Of course it is! Our program helps men to manage these pressures and find a happier way through life. If you feel comfortable talking to someone who has been through their own journey and understands exactly where you’re coming from then you can definitely talk to me. My aim is to show men that changing abusive and violent behaviour is possible. I’m not here to condemn men, I’m here to show that I understand their fears and can help them to find another way to live.
When men or their partners call the Heavy M.E.T.A.L. number, it’s me on the other end and I’m more than happy to talk to either partner. I prefer this form of direct contact as the caller is speaking to the person who runs the program- me. I can answer any questions and clear up any misconceptions which helps to alleviate any concerns. I can also explain how the program works and how important it is for the participant to attend the whole program. Nobody can change old behaviours in a matter of weeks- it takes a long time to change a lifetime of behaviour.
Many men are hesitant to make that initial phone call so often it’s their partner who first reaches out and makes the initial enquiry. They relay this information back to their partner and then he will contact me himself. By this time a lot of his questions have been answered so he is quite comfortable talking to me. It’s very important to me that the men who join this program do so for the right reasons. We clarify these reasons together during the Assessment Interviews.
The first step for men who want to attend my program is that they acknowledge their current behaviour is destructive not only to themselves but also to their partner and most importantly, to any children involved in the relationship. The cycle of violence is an ugly one, but with understanding and re-education, it can be broken.
Unfortunately, when people see the words ‘violence’ or ‘abuse’ they most often associate these words with physical acts of violence. However there are many other forms of abuse that are just as damaging, including, coercive control, financial, social, verbal, emotional and sexual abuse. The Heavy M.E.T.A.L. program is for any man who wants to stop lashing out, controlling or manipulating his loved ones and who is prepared to learn new ways of expressing himself. It’s a program for any man who wants a better way of life for his partner, his family and for himself.
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 was once a violent and abusive person. He realised one day that if he didn’t change his behaviour, he was going to lose his family. He found a men’s behaviour change group and decided to attend, which he says was the best decision he ever made as it saved their relationship. He says, “I’m so glad I chose to seek help. I gave my partner and step-children a chance to be happy and I went from being out of control to a peaceful person.” Seeing the changes in his own life inspired David to explore the work further and he started educating himself so that he could help others find the same peace.
David pursued his passion and graduated from Swinburne University of Technology with a Graduate Certificate in Social Science for Male Family Violence as a group facilitator and Telephone Counsellor.
He began facilitating men’s groups at Dandenong Community Health, Box Hill Community Health, and Relationships Australia and did this work for over five years. He also volunteered as a telephone counsellor for the Men’s Referral Service.
After his years of facilitating men’s groups, David felt ready to start his own project and Heavy M.E.T.A.L. (Men’s Education Towards Anger & Life) Group started in 2004. The group was first run at the Dromana Community House but due to its popularity it soon had to move to larger premises. Outlook Community Centre at Pakenham invited David to bring the program to them, where it remained until 2010.
David completed a Post Graduate Diploma in counselling with La Trobe University in 2005. He completed the Specialist Course in Couple Therapy at Relationships Australia the following year and became a member of the Australian Counselling Association.
In 2006, David was also 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. The program helps teenagers deal with their issues around anger management, self-esteem, assertiveness and dealing with parental conflicts. It was so successful that he was invited back in 2007 to run the program for both boys and girls. Fountain Gate Secondary College also invited David to run the program at their school in 2007. The program continued each year at Eumemmerring Secondary College until the school closed in 2011.
In 2008 David was featured with two families he had worked with on an episode of ABC TV’s 4 Corners program– see ‘Media Exposure’ for more information. He was inundated with requests from both men and women across Australia after the program aired. In July of that year, he was invited by Monash University as a guest lecturer for final year students of Social Work.
2011 to 2013 saw David running the program at Marnebek School in Cranbourne, again by invitation.
In 2014 David spoke at an event for social workers at Casey Hospital in Melbourne’s south east about working with perpetrators of family violence. He was also guest speaker at the White Ribbon breakfast that was hosted by the City of Cardinia.
A documentary team approached David and the group in 2014 and invited them to participate in creating “Call Me Dad”. It’s a story about men who have perpetrated or are perpetrators of family violence, risking the safety of their children and partners. The documentary shows the power that we as a society have to intervene and support these families. The men are followed on their journey as they try to change and heal their most precious relationships, earning another shot at the title “Dad”. The film was aired on ABC TV in June 2015.
In 2017 David presented weekly workshops for the Year 10 students at Hallam Senior College.
David was invited to speak at the National Australian Counselling Association Conference in September 2018. He shared the Blue Print that he uses to successfully engage with men that inspires them to look at themselves and take responsibility for what they can change, rather than blaming, making excuses and justifying their abusive behaviour.
David and his colleague Jacqui Seamark presented a two-day personal development workshop, “Let’s Change the Story” to staff at the University of Tasmania in December 2018. The workshop was an invaluable learning experience in that it led the Student Living Support Officers to develop a greater level of self-awareness in understanding attitudes that contribute to domestic violence.
In 2019 David attained a certificate in Professional Supervision so that he can offer counsellors and psychotherapist working in the Family Violence Sector Professional Supervision which is recognised by the Australian Counselling Association.
In March 2019 David was invited to host a screening of “Call Me Dad” for Parkdale Primary School’s fund-raising evening. He facilitated a Q & A session afterwards where he engaged participants in a heartfelt discussion around men’s struggles with recognising the impact of their behaviour on loved ones.
I can't thank Dave enough for his presentation as I feel it brings down barriers and gives you a door to open when you need it or even when you think you don't!
- Scott Carson
David currently works as a counsellor and psychotherapist for the Heavy M.E.T.A.L Men’s Behaviour Change Program. He also continues to work with several secondary schools to support teenagers in recognising and challenging damaging behaviours within themselves. He sees himself more as a coach that helps people get in tune with themselves than as a traditional counsellor.
He appeared on the ABC Documentary “Primal Fear” where he shared part of his journey of change.
Since 2004 David has given thousands of men the opportunity to begin their own journey of self-discovery and behavioural change. Introducing the program into schools has seen him overwhelmed with requests for help from parents at their wits end and he finds it extremely gratifying when these teenagers start to turn their lives around. He is kept extremely busy between running the school programs, the Heavy M.E.T.A.L. program and a counselling service for individuals, couples and teenagers at Cranbourne and Narre Warren. David’s years of experience have given him great insight into all aspects of men’s behaviour and the struggles they face. His program is unique in its open, encouraging and non-judgemental approach.
David is continuing his work at Fountain Gate Secondary College.
Due to popular demand, David offers Counselling via Zoom, 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.Cert.Soc.Sci (M.F.V)
- Grad.Cert.Soc.Sci. (M.F.V-MBCGF)
- Grad Dip Counselling & Human Serv. (Latrobe University)
- Member of Australian Counselling Association
- Member of NTV (No To Violence)
- Accredited Professional Supervisor
- Founder and Director of Heavy M.E.T.A.L Group (Men’s Education Toward’s Anger & Life)
HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDERS
- Bupa Health Insurance
- Medibank Private Health Fund
- AHM (Australian Health Insurance) Health Insurance
- Police Health Fund