Mariafrancesca Zaffaro

Professional Support: Psychologist
Languages: English, Italian

Hi everyone,

I am a clinical and Health Psychologist from Italy (I don’t have yet the license to practice here, I am in the process). I have a Bachelor degree in Applied Psychological Science; Master degree in Clinical and Applied Psychology  and a Specialization in Neuropsychology of neurodevelopment disorders (i.e. disorders that occur in childhood and adolescence); Experience in working with dementia patients; Disability; Experience in Neuroscience Research. I have been a volunteer member of several research laboratories in Neuroscience in the universities of Italy and Canada. The research areas I have focused on are Sleep, Memory, Cognitive Functions, Mental Disorders.
I am particularly expert in the treatment of children with ADHD disorder, learning disabilities and I am trained in the technique of parent training aimed at these specific disorders.


My Story Of Moving Abroad

I arrived in Canada in 2020 January 31. 

After I completed my internship and my studies in Italy, I started to work for a while and then I decided to come in Canada because I was not satisfied about the Italian system, especially on a working level, even tough it’s a beautiful place to visit. I would like to get a PhD in neuroscience  field and I would like to do psychotherapy to improve people’s quality of life.
A friend of mine  who was in Canada invited me to explore and  discover this country. I started to study English and orient myself in the new city. Unfortunately, after 1 month the things with that friend didn’t go well.
Since I don’t have family here, he was the only person I could trust and who assured to support and assist me until I could find my independence. But this didn’t happen,  soon he realized that he preferred to live alone and so he forced me to leave his place. I felt completely lost. I was alone, in a new city, did not know the language and did not know so many people. In the meantime I sent a thousand and thousand emails to find a place to volunteer in my field of study, it was hard. A couple of supervisors answered me but then the pandemic stopped everything. I was very scared especially because at that time the pandemic had started and therefore my worries were doubled. Then I had planned to return to Italy but my flight was canceled several times. I have changed air b&b, apartment and homestay,  about 5 times. . Until I found some stability.  I have had to overcome many obstacles and still I need to hold on. Little by little I can see the light and I continue to believe in my dreams. What helps me is to think positively, to look at myself into the future. It is important to learn to be resilient and to find our best coping strategies to deal with the difficulties of life. Starting to be part of the Thruyoga community is part of my  strategies that helps me to take care of my self and my well being. I have been lucky anyway and I thanks God that I always met nice people in those place where I moved, after my first dramatic experience. But it was also thanks to my ability to connect with others so that I was able to create an incredible network that helped me a lot in those difficult days. I still remember some children sent me letters and drawings made by themselves which I keep with love. I meant to talk openly about my experience because I am sure that somebody else found themselves in the same position or at least  felt the same feelings and I want to remind them that you are not alone and if you have faith and will , everything will be ok if you don’t give up. I am still working to improve my self day by day.  I am constantly learning, I need to be mentally stimulated I like to dedicate myself to new projects and I am working on growing professionally. 
Stay updated!

– Francesca

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