Amy is a Support Group Facilitator at the British Liver Trust, and has a connection to Waverley Care through hepatitis C support groups in Glasgow and Edinburgh. She is currently training for a qualification in counselling techniques and, as part of her studies, is offering Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to our service users. We caught up with her to find out more about CBT and her work.

You’re currently working through a qualification in counselling techniques – what made you want to get involved in this area of work?

Ever since I was a child I was interested in helping people. As a teenager I was always the agony aunt of the group. People always used to share their problems with me and I was told that I was a good listener. Life can be stressful and all people need help from time to time. For me, counselling was a no brainer – I had a strong desire to try and assist people address the challenges they face in everyday life. Seeing the progress people make in a few short weeks is very rewarding.

How did you get involved in supporting Waverley Care service users?

I’ve had a connection with Waverley Care through my work. I support some of their service users who attend our Capital C hepatitis C support group in Edinburgh. I also co-facilitate the Glasgow hepatitis C support group in Waverley Care’s Glasgow office.

You offer our service users sessions in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – can you tell us briefly about what CBT is and how it can help people?

CBT is a popular talking therapy that is widely used across the world. It focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour,

Through CBT, clients can learn to identify unhealthy patterns of thinking that are having a negative impact on their lives. We can then teach a range of coping skills to help them alter those thought patterns for dealing with real life situations.

CBT can help to treat a range of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and bipolar disorder. There’s also evidence that it can help with conditions like chronic fatigue, chronic pain, insomnia and anger management.

Can you describe how a typical session is structured – what are you supporting service users to do?

We’re essentially equipping the individual with coping techniques which they can use when they are faced with stressful situations. CBT is solution focused. The client comes to therapy with some goals they want to address. It is our job as the therapist to guide the client in challenging negative thoughts in order to reach their goals. We do this through a range of cognitive and behavioural techniques which we teach the client in the sessions.

Away from Waverley Care, you’re the Support Group Facilitator for the British Liver Trust in Scotland, can you tell us a little about what your role involves?

My role involves organising and facilitating a number of liver support groups all over Scotland. I currently run 12 support groups in Scotland. Some of these are general liver support groups but others are condition specific such as: pre and post-liver transplant, genetic/autoimmune, hep c and family support. Apart from running groups, I also raise awareness through education. I present talks to various organisations on the importance of keeping the liver healthy. I also promote liver health at various events.

Away from work and learning, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I really enjoy walks on the beach or in the countryside with my beagle. I also like to read. I enjoy all sorts of books from romance to crime. The last book I read was The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapeana. It was a gripping novel. I also really like musicals. My favourite is Footloose.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three home comforts could you not live without?

My phone, my iPod and a good book.

Do you have a favourite joke?

How many psychotherapists does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one, so long as the light bulb *wants* to change

Who inspires you?

My inspiration is author, Jodi Picoult. She writes about topical issues in society that are educational, thought provoking and emotional. I was lucky enough to meet her on her book tour in Edinburgh last November which was a real treat.