“We cannot love for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibres, our actions run as causes and return to us as results” Herman Melville (1819 – 1891)
My names is Lizzie Francolini, I love being creative, exploring wildlife, growing food or nurturing plants, building absolutely anything, going on long walks, bouldering, swimming especially in the sea, surfing, ariel silks, photography, art, and learning new things. Although my main career path has been within the social care and therapeutic sector, I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to pursue other passions and skills such as Wildlife Conservation, Conservation and Environmental Psychology, the sustainable building sector, and organic farming, all merging to form an eclectic and fulfilling career, and what you now see here at EarthUncovered.
My social care work began in South Africa from 1997-2001, as a Youth Worker with young people from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds impacted by Apartheid. Returning to the UK in 2001, over the next 14 years I worked with families in substance misuse, vulnerable women in the sex industry, and co-founded a mentoring program for adults in substance misuse. In 2012 I completed an MSc in Social Work at Bristol University specialising in Children’s services and Protection. As a social worker I discovered a love for therapy, completing an MSc in Play Therapy in 2015, at the University of South Wales.
Since qualifying as a Play Therapist I have worked extensively with young people and families, parent, carers from various social, cultural, ethnic, and economic backgrounds, ranging in age from 3-18 years (but not restricted to this). Young people and families are referred for a variety of reasons, for example a history of childhood traumatic experiences such as bereavement, separation from family, or social care concerns, alternatively young people may be experiencing anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, low self esteem, negative or suicidal thoughts, or displaying concerning behaviours.
I have 9 years of experience in clinical practice as a therapist, completing 60 hours of personal therapy, and regular supervision with a trained psychotherapist with the British Psychological Society (BPS). I am registered with both the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), and the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT), DBS checked and fully insured to work both inside and outside. In addition, I am a trained Therapeutic Life Story Worker (TLSW), a Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapist (DDP), an Ecotherapist, and currently exploring a PhD in Pro-environmental Psychology.
In 2016 I completed additional training in Outdoor Play Therapy, witnessing first hand the mental health benefits of nature. In 2017 I became a member of the Ecotherapy Network and collaborated with the Deer Wood Trust and the Apricot Centre in South Devon, providing nature based therapy for young people and adults with various needs. In 2021, with a team of multi-professional Social Forestry experts, psychotherapists, and eco therapists at the Apricot Centre, I will be delivering nature based therapeutic work for vulnerable individuals and social groups, and volunteering over the summer months as a surf therapist with the Wave Project.
I have a deep respect and passion for our planet, and so when not working as a therapist, I am exploring ways I can adapt my life to live as sustainable, compassionately, and environmentally ethically as I can, on behalf of nature and our world. Because life style changes requires a shift in perspective, sometimes values, habits, and social structures, I am always open to honest and sometimes difficult conversations on how to best adapt and have flexibility as we explore together our expanding knowledge on people and environmental systems.
In 2015 I completed a Permaculture Design Certificate and alongside my therapeutic work I was employed as a sustainable builder and landscaper, and volunteered in small scale farming. Some of these projects included building an outdoor kitchen at St Werburgh’s City Farm, Bristol; a Strawbale Barn in collaboration with the Avon WildLife Trust’s Grow Wilder, Edible Futures, and RedKite Build; a new build house with RedKite Build: volunteering for Charles Dowding, Homeacres, Castle Cary; and becoming a trustee at Deer Wood Trust, Social Forestry Project, Loddiswell South Devon.
In 2019 I completed an MSc in Advanced Wildlife Conservation in Practice with the Bristol Zoological Society and the University of The West of England. During my studies I specialised in People and Conservation, exploring conservation psychology, social science and psychology research methods for conservation and environmental purposes, behaviour change, and human / wildlife conflict. As part of my final research project I focused on Marine Protected Areas in South Africa using qualitative interviews to explore people’s support of marine protection as a conservation strategy in their area. This research is currently in the process of publication, and I am now a member of the Marine Social Science Network.
Thank you for reading, if you would like to know more about my specific approaches and methodology as a therapist please got to my Therapy page. If you would like to know more about my research strategies then go to my Research page, and to my Education page if you are interest in my courses. If you are interested in any of the following subjects, please click on what interests you and you will be taken to relevant blog posts.