Thomas Cobb, LMFT (Lic. No. 6936)
Psychotherapist, Biofeedback Therapist
I am no longer taking new clients.
Fifteen years ago I opened a new chapter in my career. My wife and I were ready for an adventure and we moved to France. We began an online company offering consumer and professional biofeedback equipment which allowed us to travel. We settled in a rural French village and I soon became known as the T’ai Chi instructor and I began teaching French folks and ex-pat Brits, some of whom were in there 70’s.
Prior to this move, I had been actively involved in the medical community of Santa Rosa for over 30 years. I had worked in hospitals, outpatient clinics and private practice as a psychotherapist and biofeedback therapist. During those 30 years doctors routinely referred patients whose conditions were difficult to treat conventionally. Even though Biofeedback was seen as alternative medicine it was also grounded in the scientifically validated principles of psychophysiology. Because of the sophisticated, research grade electronic monitoring provided by the biofeedback instrumentation there was no guesswork. When a patient was referred I could demonstrate maladaptive physiological responses accurately, on the computer screen, and guide the patient to improved functioning and symptom relief. Often by the time a patient was referred, it was after years of suffering and unsuccessful medicine trials. As a therapist, partnering with a patient in their own recovery was gratifying and very enjoyable.
Since the age of 23 I had continuously studied Taichi and used many of it’s healing techniques in my biofeedback practice. I taught students in Santa Rosa and then when I moved to France I continued teaching Taichi and Qigong.
My time in France, outside of my familiar culture and relating to an international community, helped me to develop greater insight in the role of Taichi in healing and it’s relationship to the biofeedback therapy I had used for 30 years so successfully to relieve pain and improve functioning in my patients.
The advantage of Biofeedback is it’s pinpoint accuracy in identifying and correcting dysfunction. While this is truly wonderful, it is also true just as with any behavioral program, new skills need to be practiced regularly for positive results and ongoing maintenance. The same patients referred for functional illnesses (headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, back pain, TMJ, etc.) are often vulnerable to other stress related illnesses and conditions. In short, most of my biofeedback patients can benefit from an ongoing practice of self-regulation and health cultivation. And, as the latest research so amply demonstrates, as you age there are great benefits to a gentle, daily practice that exercises and tones every aspect of the body; muscles, tendons, balance, autonomic nervous system, concentration and so much more. After experiencing the benefits of a daily practice of T’ai Chi, some folks opt to take it further into optimal physical conditioning and self-defense training.
Taichi and Qigong provide ongoing, in depth physiological toning of not only the musular/tendonous/ligamentious and joint systems but also the autonomic nervous system — the central controller of our body’s health maintenance system and the source of well being.
Taichi and Qigong take exercise to a deeper level than traditional strengthening or cardio fitness exercises. With practice a person doing Taichi or Qigong can move powerfully with coordination and flexibility, cultivate awareness and apply it to ongoing physical and mental improvement and effectively guide their physiology toward optimal functioning and increasingly better health.
I am still working on my Taichi skills and how to deliver the benefits of biofeedback training over the internet.