Live Brilliantly

Liz Westbury MSW,RSW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
T: 403.270.3535
F: 403.270.3530

Feel all your feelings. Think clearly. Act with confidence.

What gets in the way of living brilliantly?


(1) Addictions:

If you have an active addiction then it is impossible to live brilliantly.  If you have been in a family or relationship affected by addiction and have not healed from the effects of the addiction it may be very difficult to “Live Brilliantly”; with help it will be possible.
Trying to control your addiction or another person’s addiction is an impossible task that takes a lot of energy; you may be able to survive but you will not be able to thrive.  Lack of information and insight into how another person’s addiction has affected you in the past may also lead to “energy leaks” that keep you from focusing on your needs and wants.
Substance addictions include alcohol, street drugs, prescriptions drugs, over the counter drugs and even sugar (for food addicts).  Process addictions include but are not limited to: relationship addiction; sex addiction; eating disorders; exercise addiction; compulsive over or under spending; work addiction; gambling. In the words of one man I worked with “everything I touch can become an addiction”.
 People use addictive substances and behaviours to avoid pain or to increase pleasure.  Addictions are progressive. The stages of addiction can be identified as I as “fun”, “fun with consequences” and finally “consequences”.
 What starts as a friend ends up as an enemy. The effects of substance and process addictions are not limited to the people with the addiction; most people who have been in families or relationship where addictions are present have some current or long term after-effects due to their exposure to the crazy- making influences of the addiction.  Children who grow up with addictions in their family of origin are more likely to end up with an addiction problem themselves or are more likely to be in a relationship with someone with an addiction.  Some people remain unaware of the effects of family addictions on their life until they realise their child has an addiction. 
You do not need to deal with addictions alone.  Get help so you can move on to create the life you want and to “Live brilliantly”.

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(2) Trauma

If you have been traumatized in your life and the trauma has not been resolved or healed you will find it difficult to “Live brilliantly” because the past will be present in the “here and now”.  You may be depressed or anxious or react in a way which seems, to you or to others, to be disproportional to the situation. You may have consistently been unable to get out of, or stay out of, difficult or harmful situations.
You may be experiencing symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder when an event in your past is re-experienced in the here and now.  For example: when you respond, under certain circumstances:  like a “deer in the head lights”; with a “fight or flight” response; when you feel, think and behave like a young child.   
Trauma sounds dramatic and sometimes it is; you may be aware that you have been traumatized if you have been abused physically, sexually or emotionally or if you have survived a car accident, an environmental disaster, or being present during a death.  Other traumas may not be as dramatic but may also have a long lasting impact.  In childhood   we have almost all experienced an off hand remark from someone important to us or punishment from a mean teacher.  You would not be alone if something you experienced years ago seems to “stick in your mind”.
Many traumas do get resolved over time and some do not.  I often have clients who say “I used to be able to handle it all and now I just can’t”; this maybe that there is now more to handle or you maybe recycling through a developmental phase due to events in your life. 
It is difficult to resolve trauma alone.  I invite you to get help so you can move on to create the life you want and to “Live Brilliantly”.

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  (3)  Transitions
Change is the one thing in life we can count and it is not always easy.  If you are in the process of a transition, even one you have chosen, you may feel that you are just doing what you need to do to get through the day.  The time when you will be able “Live Brilliantly” may seem far away or even impossible.   
Transitions include: a  divorce; a job loss; a career change;  the death of someone close;  a serious illness;  a move to a new home, town or city; a new relationship; a change in  life stage; a change in life style.
There are many reasons that someone may have difficulty adjusting to a transition.  If you are in a situation which you did not choose you may not have had any “warm up” or preparation for the change in your life.  If you chose the transition you may not have had a “warm up” to the complexity of the change.  Your thoughts and feelings about the transitions may not be those you expected to experience.  It may be you have never been in this circumstance before and do not have the necessary information to make decisions or you may not have the necessary support to follow through with your decision.
If you are finding a transition difficult you do not need to figure it out all alone.  I invite you to get help so you can move on to create the life you want and to “Live Brilliantly”.

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(4)  Sex Therapy
If you have are not satisfied with your sex life and your sex life is important to you then it will be difficult to “Live Brilliantly”.  During their life time most people will experience some temporary sexual difficulty.  Some of these difficulties may become chronic if the issues are not addressed.  Sexual desire, arousal and responsiveness may be affected, directly or indirectly, by addictions, trauma or transitions.
If you have addressed issues of addiction, trauma or transition then you may be ready to deal with some sexuality issues which may have resulted from your more recent issues.  On the other hand you may have felt as though you’ve “always had these problems” and we can work together to figure out the origin of these difficulties.
Some people seek sex therapy to help and find that all they need is some permission to have a good sex life, some information and specific suggestions to address their difficulty.  Other people may find that their issue is more complex and some psychotherapy is necessary to deal with unconscious issues or patterns which keep them from achieving their desired sex life.
If you have a sexual difficulty, solutions are available.  Sex therapy involves a complete history and assessment to determine the appropriate treatment. I usually recommend people see their family doctor for a medical to screen for any physical factors which could contribute to the problem.   Once you are assessed I will make recommendations which will include specific instructions and recommendations for you to try, in the privacy of your own home, alone or with your partner. You will then report back to me concerning what worked and what did not work.
If you experience sexual difficulty it may be easier than you think to find a solution.   I invite you to get some expert help so you can move on to create the life you want and to “Live Brilliantly”.
Just to be clear:   I do not engage in any physical contact with clients and therapy sessions are a totally “clothes on experience”.

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