Person of the Week
Sarah Guercia Is All About Art and Therapy
Artist and therapist Sarah Guercia uses art as a universal language that can help people express feelings that are difficult to put into words. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Guercia )
Combining her love of art with a desire to make a positive change in the world, Sarah Guercia is helping other women tap into their creative abilities to free themselves from negative thoughts.
It all began when she was a child, Sarah says, giving credit to her creative mother, who integrated arts and crafts into her daily life, especially during the holidays. Sarah explains that she has always loved art, and it was this gift her mother instilled in her that led her to her current vocation of art therapist—although when she first started her college career at Arizona State University, she thought she wanted to pursue a career driven by the pen and become a journalist.
A class she took in her senior year sent her down another path and brought her back home to Connecticut to the doors of Albertus Magnus College where she pursued her master’s degree in art therapy. In 2015 she was the recipient of the American Art Therapy Association’s Gladys Agell Award for Excellence in Research, for her thesis work on art therapy and the flow state.
Now a registered art therapist, licensed professional counselor, and artist, Sarah has not only found her calling, but is helping others to find themselves. Sarah works primarily with female patients using art as a therapeutic way to allow her clients to put into art what they could not put to words.
“Art is an ancient language and it allows one to access and explain their feelings in a way they otherwise would not be able to express. Sometimes it is as simple as a piece of fabric, with a familiar texture, that unlocks a tactile sensation that opens up a memory or a feeling, and we build on that,” says Sarah, who makes art and processing art an integral part of her sessions.
“For me, art is someone’s own way of awakening into personal power. It’s freeing!” Sarah says. “Helping my clients move from victim to survivor through the use of art moves me to tears often and is the most rewarding component of my work.
Since starting her practice Fox and Feather Art Therapy in 2017, she has moved into a larger space at 75 Carter Drive in Guilford in which she plans to create a community space where women can create and connect with other women through art.
“We all have a creative language to speak. I feel that my job is to provide the light bulb to light the way to my clients’ inner language. I think of myself as a companion on my clients’ journeys to freedom. They hold all the wisdom; it’s my job to turn on the light. Everyone needs support from another on their journey,” Sarah says.
She herself is driven by artistic intuition even during non-working hours, slipping in creating in her free time by working on her favorite mediums of soul collages, mixed medium projects, 3-D murals, acrylics, and glitter, which she says represents the magic of life.
“I love art so much that even when I am not at work, I am making art of one kind or another. It feeds my soul. I think I would wither without it,” Sarah says. “I feel like my gift is to help other women get to their freedom and I am grateful to be pursuing my dream.”
Though she sometimes misses the sunny skies and arid landscape of the Arizona dessert, the Guilford resident and Clinton native appreciates the seasons of her New England heritage and is happy to be raising her family in the same area in which she grew up. In Guilford, she enjoys spending time with her young son looking at the cloud formations and listening to birdcalls in her backyard, plus a few other things that aren’t possible in Arizona.
“I love the ocean and the chance to experience all the changing seasons,” Sarah says.