Creative Mothers Group Now Forming

dointhegoddessdance1A new psychotherapy group for mothers with children over 1 year is forming in central Austin under the leadership of Illysa Foster, M.Ed, LPA, CPM.  Illysa currently has two therapy groups for mothers in north and south Austin.  This group is unique in its focus on creative expression and imagination as a vehicle for healing and personal growth for mothers who are psychologically returning to their own development after the early year(s) of parenting.  Illysa can be contacted at 512.809.3132 or

Creative Mothers Group will meet:

Thursdays beginning Feb. 5th from 6:30-8:30pm at the Garden Studio in Soma Vida 1210 Rosewood Ave. Austin 78702

More information about the philosophy and purpose of the group follows:

Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play. ~Henri Matisse

“Creative Mothers” attempts to repair the nervous system that has been stretched and deprived of freedom during early parenting. Stuart Brown, a renowned psychiatrist, professor and play researcher, argues adamantly for the hope in play for reviving joy, “once people understand what play does for them, they can learn to bring a sense of excitement and adventure back into their lives, make work an extension of their play lives, and engage fully in the world” (2009, p. 11). Neuroscientists have found that play stimulates nerve growth in the amygdala and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and cerebellum, effectively assisting in “whole brain” growth, facilitating greater capacities for connections between the brain stem, limbic system and the cortex. Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell differentiate between integrative functioning and non-integrative processing, arguing that parents who heal past traumas and build new neural connections between higher and lower brain functioning are better equipped to support healthy attachments with their children (Siegal & Hartzell , 2003). In Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul, Brown makes a case for play as a mediator of mood. Play deficits lead to anhedonia and mood disruption. Further, play provides adults with greater cognitive reasoning, abilities to see beyond the perceived environmental limitations and effectively problem-solve. The rebound effect from play is observed with animals.  Much like catching up on sleep, mammals demonstrate a biological drive to play and to catch-up on missed play. After nine months of pregnancy followed by a year of sleep-deprivation and intensive childcare, mothers are vulnerable for depression, anxiety, physical ailments, illness, endocrine imbalance and adrenal fatigue (Northrup, 2006). A playgroup for mothers will provide a rich environment for therapy clients to heal after early parenting challenges and reclaim themselves as creative individuals who are capable parents.

To learn more about Creative Mothers therapy group, please contact Illysa at 512. 809.3132 or  For more information about Illysa, please visit


Brown, S. (2009). Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination and invigorates the soul. Avery: New York, NY.

Northrup, C. (2006). Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. Bantam Dell: New York, NY.

Quereau, T & Zimmerman, T. (1992). The New Game Plan for Recovery. Ballantine Books: New York, NY.

Seigel, D. & Hartzell, M. (2003). Parenting from the Inside Out. Tarcher/Penguin: New York, NY.

Simkin, P. Relaxation, Rhythm and Ritual: The Three R’s of Childbirth, DVD (date and publication information not available).

Sternberg, R.J. (2006). The Nature of Creativity, Creativity Research Journal, 18:1, 87-98, DOI: 10.1207/s15326934crj1801_10





Published by

Illysa Foster

Illysa is a psychotherapist, midwife, educator, dancer and author. She currently provides psychotherapy in Austin and San Marcos, Texas to individuals, groups, couples and mother-baby dyads. Also a lecturer at Texas State University, Illysa helps students prepare to provide services for children and families. Licensed as a psychological associate under the supervision of Dr. Joellen Peters, Illysa offers somatic, depth and creative arts therapies to integrate the mind/body and soul.

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