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Since 1979, thousands of people  -  University of Guelph students, faculty, staff,

and interested members of the public - have participated in Clinic programs

to learn self-regulation skills that improve health and performance. 



In the late 1970's, Dr. Evelyn Bird, a faculty member in the department of Human Kinetics at the University of Guelph, was researching biofeedback, stress management and relaxation skills. Her studies in the use of relaxation to alleviate muscle tension, bruxing, muscle tension headache and dysmenorrhea demonstrated very positive findings. Hearing of these results, requests for similar training came from friends of those in the studies, and from physicians, dentists, and counsellors. As a result, in 1979 Dr. Bird opened the Relaxation and Biofeedback Research/Therapy Clinic on a fee-for-service basis in the department of Human Kinetics. Kathy Somers began working with Dr. Bird in 1983.  

As world-wide research expanded knowledge & techniques in relaxation training and biofeedback, the Clinic also began to see those who wished to learn self-regulation for self-education or to enhance coping with such things as hypertension, insomnia, pain, anxiety, Raynaud's Disease, and migraine headaches. Stress management and high performance training were provided privately and in groups to community organizations, university students, company presidents, world class athletes, and academics.

In 1988 the Clinic name was changed to the Stress Management and High Performance Clinic when Dr. Bird retired from her teaching position at the University of Guelph to devote all of her energy to the Clinic. She was a pioneer in the field of applied biofeedback, specializing in using self-regulation training for enhanced athletic and musical performance.  After  retiring in 1992, Dr. Bird pursued her many recreational interests until her death in 2020.

The 12 session group program in Relaxation and Stress Management Skills Training has been offered since 1979.  Stressed students looking for training at the end of the semester when school pressures intensify, prompted the Stress Less for Tests program (formerly called examSMART) in 1994.  Other short programs began in 1998 (the Better Sleep Program, and Decreasing Headaches) and one-evening workshops (STOP Worrying, Preventing Repetitive Strain, and Better Sleep for Peri-Menopausal Women) followed.  The newest program is Take the Stress Out of IBS (2014).

The approach at the Clinic has always been educational - teaching self-regulation strategies and skills in a manner which encourages integration into daily life to enhance performance, control stress, and prevent illness. Even very early in the Clinic's history these skills were found to assist clients in taking control of their own health and performance through the steps of :

increased self-awareness,

increased self-control (self-regulation),

increased self-confidence,

and enhanced health and performance.



Kathy Somers runs the Stress Management and High Performance Clinic in Guelph, Ontario, providing self-regulation skills training to adults in university, health care, business and community settings.  She is a registered Kinesiologist who is board certified in biofeedback (Biofeedback Certification International Alliance) and certified in Stress Management Education. Since 1983 she has taught relaxation and stress management skills to groups and individuals. She currently provides the University of Guelph with programs in Relaxation & Stress Management Skills, Better Sleep, Decreasing Headaches, STOP Worrying!, Take the Stress Out of IBS, and Stress Less for Tests. Kathy also teaches self-regulation skills programs to participants in the Waterloo Wellington Self Management Program, and to staff & teachers in the Upper Grand District School Board. For ten years Kathy taught the undergraduate course "Relaxation: Theory and Practice" for 4th year students in the Kinesiology & Health Sciences program at York University.  Kathy is a professional member of the Ontario Kinesiology Association, the International Stress Management Association - USA, and the Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback).  She is co-author of several research articles and of the chapter "Psychophysiological Assessment and Training with Athletes – Knowing and Managing Your Mind and Body" in the book Biofeedback and Neurofeedback Applications in Sport Psychology, edited by Strack, Linden, & Wilson, 2011.