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Tom Robinson MA

Tom Robinson helps people with chronic illnesses who are overstressed or overwhelmed by their illness and life challenges. He offers JPT Wellness Circle members a 30-minute no-cost introductory consultation. Here's what one woman recently said about hers:

Tom, what you taught me in my introductory session has made an amazing difference in the way I deal with my chronic illness. I've been able to keep doing it on my own, and the feeling is wonderful. Thank you so much. - Cammie, California

Click here to schedule your no-cost 30-minute consultation, or Contact him at 805-692-4053 or via his website:

Articles by Tom Robinson MA

Take Time to Listen... to Yourself

When we have a chronic illness, it often seems like the voice inside our head never stops talking about how bad our illness, our symptoms, and our lives are. And the more it talks, the worse we feel.

Many knowledgeable people recommend quieting our minds, but that can be much easier said than done. I have a different recommendation: listen, and I mean really listen, to the voice. I think one of the reasons the voice inside our heads keeps talking is because while we hear it, we don’t really listen to it.

Feeling Shortchanged By Your Illness

A while ago I worked with a client I’ll call John, who had ulcerative colitis. John had learned the hard way that if he didn’t follow a very strict diet, he would have intestinal and other symptoms that were very severe. But when he adhered to that diet, he felt very deprived. Those feelings of deprivation would lead to cravings, and he would eventually give into them and again experience all those unwanted symptoms.

The Healing Power of Compassion

Of all the strategies I teach my clients to help them live well when they have a chronic illness, the one I teach the most is compassion. I teach it and reinforce it by having my clients put reminders on their bathroom mirrors, by having them wear rubber bands around their wrists as a reminder, and by assigning them the task of trying to give themselves an overdose of compassion - even though it's not possible to do that! The reason I focus so much on that strategy is because I have found that giving themselves compassion is one of the most healing things people can do for themselves.

How to Treat TLCC Deficiency Syndrome

You won’t find TLCC Deficiency Syndrome in a medical diction­ary, but in my many years of coaching people with IBD, IBS, and other chronic illnesses I’ve found that it describes what many of them have. TLC, of course, is an acronym for “ten­der loving care,” and the last “C” is for compassion, so TLCC Deficiency Syndrome is the con­dition of lacking the needed ten­der loving care and compassion that people with chronic illnesses often experience.

How to Have a Meaningful Life When You Have a Chronic Illness

It usually seems to be the case that having a chronic illness, like inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome, diminishes our lives. From traveling to eating to working and playing, we feel limited by how much and for how long we can do the things we want to do. Nevertheless, it is very possible – and it can be incredibly satisfying – to use our illnesses as a way to add to our lives, actually making them more meaningful. In working with …

Some ideas for surviving and thriving when you have a chronic illiness

In this article, I’m going to share several strategies you can use to survive and thrive with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and similar chronic illnesses. These are ideas I’ve acquired over the past six years as I’ve coached people with illnesses like yours. Some of them have come from reading about new coaching techniques, while others have come as I’ve continually thought about better ways for my clients – and me – to deal with our illness-related challenges. I hope you find them helpful.

How to Have Good Communications with Your Healthcare Provider

In the March 2008 issue of Good Health is Real Wealth, I provided some useful strategies for getting excellent medical care. However, no strategy for getting top-notch treatment will work well if you don’t have good communication with your provider. In this article I’m going to give you some suggestions and techniques for establishing and maintaining the good communications that are necessary for you to get the great medical care you want and

My first suggestion for establishing good communication with your healthcare provider may seem obvious, but it’s one that many people ignore. Make sure that all the providers you choose to diagnose and treat you are good communicators: that they really listen to what you have to say and take the time to explain things to you. I have three ideas for how to do that. However, if you have one or more health care providers you’re happy with, but who don’t communicate as well as you would like, don’t despair. You can use the suggestions I’m going to give for finding a good communicator the next time you need a new health care provider. And a little later in this article I will tell you how you can still establish better communication with your current provider.

Keeping Hope Alive

When life is difficult, as it often is when we have IBS or IBD, one of the most important things that help us keep going is the prospect of a better future. But given the many challenges, hardships, and disappointments that can come with IBS or IBD, hope like that can be hard to come by. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make hope for a brighter future real and then keep it alive.

Before I share some of those things with you, I want to first repeat the advice I’ve written in many of my other Good Health is Real Wealth articles and that I repeatedly give to my clients: give yourself LOTS of compassion for having to live with your illness and its symptoms. From my many years of experience coaching people with chronic illnesses and having one myself, I’m convinced that practicing self-compassion is one of the best things those of us with chronic ailments can do for ourselves. The suggestions I’m going to give you for keeping hope alive will work much better if you show yourself abundant compassion first.

Dealing With Others When You Have a Chronic Illness

When someone wants coaching session with me, I send them a questionnaire to fill out before the session so I can get a better sense of how to help them. In the questionnaire, I ask how the person feels supported by their family and friends, and then I ask how they feel unsupported by those same people. From the large collection of answers I’ve received during the five years I’ve been coaching people with chronic illnesses, I have learned what they want, but don’t get from others, and I’ve learned about the relationship challenges and difficulties people with serious chronic illnesses like IBD and IBS have. I’d like to share that knowledge with you. Then I’m going to describe some strategies and methods you can use to get support from the people in your life and have the kind of relationship you want with them.

The first thing I’ve learned is that, more than anything else, there is one thing those of us with chronic illnesses are not getting from other people that we really want: Understanding. We want others to know how hard it is for us, both physically and emotionally, to live with a chronic illness. It’s not surprising that not getting the understanding we want is such a common problem. The reason it’s not surprising (at least not to me) is because I don’t think it is possible for a person who has never had a chronic illness to truly know what living with one is like.

Stop Beating Yourself Up!

Having coached people with chronic illnesses for the past five years, I’ve learned that many of them often feel inadequate, guilty, and beat themselves up because they can’t do all the things for the important people in their lives that they formerly could. For example, not too long ago, a woman with fibromyalgia, a painful and often debilitating chronic illness, contacted me. Amy wanted to know how she could do the housework and the many other tasks she felt she needed to do to be a good wife.

It’s admirable that Amy wanted to do her housekeeping and other tasks better. However, from the way she stated her question, it was clear that because she couldn’t do them as well as she could before she became ill, Amy didn’t think she was a good wife.

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