Community, Connection and Recovery: The Power of Mutual Support


The SMART Approach

Are you passionate about positively impacting the lives of people in recovery? Or do you have first-hand experience of addiction and are seeking to help others by sharing your journey?
At SMART Recovery Australia, our network of experienced and trained Facilitators play a crucial role in working alongside Substance Abuse Counsellors and the clinical care sector in fostering transformative change in the lives of people in recovery. 
We train our Facilitators to draw on their own lived experience and provide them with the knowledge, practical tools and confidence they need to facilitate SMART Recovery meetings for people at all stages of their recovery journey. 

Let's explore how SMART Recovery Australia Facilitators empower people across the country on their recovery journey…

The Power of Peer Support:

Many individuals are drawn to our Facilitator program to help make a difference in the lives of others, using their skills, passion and lived experiences to connect with those who attend our meetings. Our training programs emphasise the art of facilitating a conversation and drawing on the collective expertise of the group versus offering individual advice or professional counselling.
The transformative power of peer support and mutual aid lies at the core of our approach. Instead of giving advice, we encourage people at our meetings to explore reasons for their actions, set personal goals, share ideas and implement solutions, fostering a supportive environment where individuals feel understood and empowered.

Navigating the Recovery Journey:

For individuals grappling with addiction, finding the right support system can, at times, be overwhelming. When we talk to people in our meetings at the beginning of their recovery journey, they often tell us about their feelings of isolation, shame, and confusion.
This is where the peer-led approach of SMART Recovery comes into play.

Embracing Lived Experience

At the core of our approach lies a profound acknowledgement of the power of lived experience in the journey to recovery.
A substantial number of SMART Recovery Australia Facilitators bring their own stories of addiction and recovery to the table. This isn't just incidental; it's intentional. Encouraged to weave their own narrative into the fabric of the meetings they lead, our Facilitators offer understanding, empathy, and hope. 
By encouraging the group to share their triumphs and struggles openly, they create an environment where participants feel understood, and where their own battles are mirrored and validated. This act of vulnerability not only fosters relatability but also serves as a foundation for trust and credibility. 
Participants see firsthand that recovery is not just a distant goal but a tangible reality, embodied by those who have walked the path before them. With a focus on the next 7 days, people leave a SMART meeting with an action plan for change. 


Substance Abuse Counsellors vs. SMART Facilitators:

Substance Abuse Counsellors play a pivotal role in providing support and treatment for individuals living with addiction and SMART Recovery is proud to partner with Australia’s leading counselling services. 
Their responsibilities include helping clients develop strategies, facilitating change, and educating the community. 
However, the traditional counselling model can overlook the efficacy and importance of peer support in achieving sustained behaviour change and recovery. We are proud of our partnerships that provide a community of care and integrated support. 

Qualities of an Effective Substance Abuse Counsellor and Facilitators

Empathy and cultural competence are essential qualities for Substance Abuse Counsellors. Recognising the diverse backgrounds of participants is crucial in building trust and rapport. 
We find that the most effective Substance Abuse Counsellors demonstrate genuine empathy, actively listening to clients' experiences without judgment. They strive to understand the unique cultural, social, and personal factors influencing each individual's journey towards recovery. 
By fostering a safe and inclusive environment, Counsellors create space for participants to feel understood, respected, and supported.


The Importance of Resilience and a Community of Support

As a SMART Recovery Australia Facilitator, resilience and a community of support are key to navigating the complexities of supporting individuals in recovery. 
Facilitators encounter various challenges, from managing group dynamics to addressing sensitive topics. Building resilience involves maintaining a positive attitude, adapting to unforeseen circumstances, and persevering through setbacks. 
Facilitators must cultivate self-awareness and self-care practices to prevent burnout and maintain effectiveness. SMART Recovery Australia provides dedicated Facilitator Support sessions and a Facilitator to Hub to ensure our Facilitators are connected and supported. 
By staying resilient and connected, Facilitators can continue to facilitate meaningful change for all Australians living with addiction.  
Looking for a career with a purpose?
Join us in harnessing the power of peer support to support recovery in your community. Become a SMART Facilitator and make a difference in the lives of those affected by addiction. 
By embracing the principles of peer support and facilitation, you can play a pivotal role in helping individuals overcome addiction and rebuild their lives.

Find out more about our Facilitator training programs today.
Screenshot 2024-02-26 at 2.13.26 pm
April Long
Chief Executive Officer
SMART Recovery Australia


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