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Trainer's Profile: Mercedes Fonfria

After leaving University, I taught languages in higher education. Then I worked for over 14 years in the advice and advocacy field in voluntary organisations and local government, initially as a practitioner, and later a manager.

I became a counsellor in 1994 and since then I have worked as a counsellor, trainer, psychotherapist and clinical supervisor, in different settings: private practice, Relate, NHS, and Occupational Health. I have been BACP accredited between 1999 and 2015 - when I retired from clinical practice - but I continue my training work.

The thread linking all these occupations is my interest in the fundamental themes of human experience: identity, communication, relationships and their socio-political context.

My interest in art stems from my delight in beauty, nature, creativity and transformation.

I travelled Europe following the Norman and Gothic routes and later I embraced abstract and cubist art: Kandisnky, Klee, Miro, Chillida, Hepworth, just to mention a few.

With the advent of conceptual art, I remember being jealous of Tracy Emin. "Fancy being paid to show your unmade bed. I've paid good monies to have my own bed made - i.e. my own mess sorted" - I would say indignantly.

However, the rewards are here: some years ago I took up jewellery making as a hobby, and recently I started working with textiles. I was fascinated by the beauty of the beads and excited by the richness of the creative process. It renewed my interest in psychoanalytic literature on creativity and play and I revisited Freud, Klein, Winnicott, Segal, Storr and Phillips.

The more I created, the more I understood the symbolic meaning and the healing power of the process. So I seized the opportunity and I designed these workshops, for counsellors, psychotherapists and others in the helping professions, and for creative artists and crafts enthusiasts.

My interest in Neuroscience goes back to 2005 whilst a member of the West Midlands Institute of Psychotherapy. Damasio, Solms and Turbull revealed for me the connection between the mind, emotions and the subjective experience of consciousness. Later I developed the notion that creativity is an evolutionary tool aimed at problem solving as well as artistic endeavour. Both are compelling aspects of the very essence of being human.

Come along and experience the creative process. I am sure you will enjoy it!