Alumni Stories: Francis Puccio

We recently spoke to alumnus, Francis Puccio, who took the time to share his experiences at the University of Melbourne and what he has been up to since completing his formal education.

One interesting thing to note about Francis is that psychology was not his first pursuit, but rather an interest that grew out of his first degree. Before graduating from his Master of Clinical Psychology & PhD, Francis undertook a Creative Arts degree with the Victorian College of the Arts, specialising in creative writing and photography. At first glimpse, these academic pursuits appear quite a distance apart. However, as Francis explained, the two fields share an important connection.

“Each discipline has a focus on understanding people and their stories”, Francis explained.

The creative thinking and problem-solving skills that Francis developed in his creative arts degree also helped prepare him for the unique challenges and circumstances he encountered during his journey as a psychology student.

These skills became particularly relevant during his clinical placements. Francis recalls these experiences elicited emotions of both excitement and fear. He acknowledged there was a big learning curve in applying what he had learnt in the class to a clinical setting. At the same time, these were rewarding experiences that provided a clear insight into the nature of the work and helped shape the trajectory for his career.

Two of Francis’s placements stood out. Firstly, there was the internal placement undertaken in the Melbourne School of Psychological Science’s Clinic, which provided a supportive environment with his supervisor Professor Henry Jackson and clinic director Professor Lisa Phillips there to assist him in the initial stages. The second placement of note was with Forensicare’s Problem Behaviour Program, in which he had the experience of working with sex & violent offenders amongst others. While a challenging experience, it was a unique opportunity which opened a window into working in the forensic psychology.

In speaking with Francis, it is clear that he is someone interested in helping people understand themselves and improve the quality of their lives and relationships. Since finishing his studies, Francis has gone into private practice in Prahran, Melbourne. He also remains involved with the School by assisting his former PhD supervisor, Dr Isabel Krug, in her research about eating disorders, which was the subject of his thesis. At the same time, he continues working in the forensic psychology area with the Melbourne Children’s Court.

Francis’ story is a testament to the importance of having the courage to change direction, embrace new opportunities and apply lessons learnt along the journey to future endeavours.

To learn more about Francis' work visit his website -