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Trainer's Profile: Mercedes Fonfria

I design and deliver workshops for counsellors, psychotherapists and others in the helping professions, and for artists and crafts enthusiasts. The purpose is to enhance creativity and to explore some psychoanalytic concepts of creativity. I love delivering these workshops and feedback from participants has been very rewarding. See my Testimonials (follow links in menu above).

After leaving University, where I read Humanities, 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 as 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 was BACP accredited between 1999 and 2015 - when I retired from clinical practice.

Since retirement I have volunteered as a children and young person's counsellor, as a children's mentor, and now as trainer for volunteers supporting families.

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.

As a young woman I travelled Europe following the Norman and Gothic routes. 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, I too embraced the creative process and the rewards are here: I took up jewellery making as a hobby, and later I started working with textiles. I was fascinated by the beauty of beads and excited by the richness of the creative process. I experienced the healing power of creativity which deepened my interest in psychoanalytic literature on creativity and play. My reading of Freud, Klein, Winnicott, Segal, Storr and Phillips linked very well with the latest findings in Neuroscience and the connection between the mind, emotions and the subjective experience of consciousness. I continued following up developments in the functioning of the brain, particularly in the age of information overload. My training revolves around the notion that creativity is an evolutionary tool aimed at problem solving as well as artistic endeavout. Both creativity and problem solving are compelling aspects of the very essence of being human.

The journey continues wide and deep. I find that the more I create the more I understand the symbolic meaning and the healing power of the process.

I am happy to offer training to voluntary organisations.