Requests for SMART Recovery Facilitator Training have exploded in the past 12 months – so much so – two new SMART Coordinators have been brought on to service the sector’s growing uptake of the evidence-based behaviour-change program, which this year celebrates it’s tenth birthday in Australia.

“Trainings have doubled in the past 12 months,” revealed Ryan McGlaughlin, Executive Director of SMART Recovery Australia. “We’ve seen expansion beyond our traditional alcohol and other drugs (AOD) base, into mental health, Government and private sectors, and even across the Tasman – with new meetings starting in Auckland. We’re on track to surpass 200 weekly meetings by the midway point of 2017.”

The appointments

Dr. Angela Argent (PhD) joins SMART Recovery Australia as a National SMART Coordinator, charged with looking after program development and training, with a particular focus on NSW, VIC and ACT.

Argent has worked within the NGO and university sectors for twenty years and was Project Coordinator for Community Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Research Network (CMHDARN), a partnership project between the Network of Alcohol and other Drugs (NADA), Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) and the Mental Health Commission of NSW. She was Executive Officer at Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service Network, Senior Policy Officer for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Student Equity Officer at UNSW and Senior Research/Policy Officer at Schizophrenia Fellowship, Mental Health Coordinating Council, NSW Council for Intellectual Disability and NSW Aboriginal Land Council.

As part of her new role with SMART, Argent also joins the SMART Recovery Australia Research Advisory Committee, a team of leading Australian addiction and mental health experts in place to ensure the program adapts with scientific advances.

“I’m very excited to be working with the team at SMART Recovery,” said Argent, “SMART provides a toolkit for living that contributes to enabling people to experience and enjoy leading the most fulfilling lives possible.”

Working with SMART is a great way of making a difference in terms of supporting social justice, social inclusion, as well as strengths-based, recovery-oriented, trauma-informed and evidence-led practice.”

Specifically, I’m looking forward to working closely with the SMART Recovery Research Advisory Committee, as well as contributing to our new online community, in addition to Be SMART – our family, friends and supporters program.”

In addition, Argent will commence facilitating her own SMART Recovery meeting for the community in Newtown, Sydney from May 16. 

SMART Recovery Australia also welcomes Dan Raffell as a National SMART Coordinator. Similarly, Raffell will look after training and development needs across the country, but with a particular focus on QLD, NT, and SA. Raffell will also be responsible for managing and developing SMART Recovery’s network of peer-led meetings – those run by people who have overcome their own addictive behaviours.

Raffell is originally from Scotland and has many years experience working in addiction recovery, peer education and within the homeless sector in the United Kingdom.

Over the last 4 years, since immigrating to Australia, Raffell has worked with a number of leading non-government organisations within the mental health, addiction and youth sectors. Prior to joining SMART Recovery Australia he was responsible for managing a multi-site residential care service for youth. Raffell’s qualifications include an Honours Degree in Addiction Studies, Diploma in Integrated Counselling and a Certificate in Community Mental Health.

Raffell has a real passion and interest to see people who are experiencing addiction gain more control over their behaviours. He strongly believes in peer support and that those seeking recovery are the experts in themselves. His desire is to see people equipped with the necessary tools and strategies and empowered to live more balanced and fulfilled lives.

“Seeing people equip themselves with the skills and tools needed to make changes and move away from addictive behaviour is a great honour,” said Raffell.

“I truly believe in the the idea that addictive behaviour is a behaviour than can be changed, and that through applying SMART Recovery principles people can move forward, experience freedom, and live fulfilled lives.”

Raffell facilitates his own SMART Recovery meeting for the community in his hometown of Brisbane every Monday evening. 

Raffell and Angela will join foundation SMART Coordinator, Josette Freeman, who ran Australia’s very first SMART Recovery meeting out of Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital almost 10 years ago. With the incoming reinforcements, Freeman will focus her efforts primarily in (but not limited to) NSW, WA, TAS, and across the Tasman in New Zealand, where new SMART meetings opened their doors in Auckland towards the end of 2016.

St Vincents Hospital Sydney - SMART Recovery
Back to where it all began: Dan Raffell (far left) training staff at Sydney’s St Vincent Hospital this year.

While places are filling up fast, dates, locations and registration for 2017 Facilitator Training can be found here.

Leave a Reply