Being a Relate counsellor or sex therapist gives you the chance to have a positive impact on people's lives, and can be an incredibly rewarding job.

Why become a Relate counsellor?

Our counsellors and sex therapists help over one million people every year and receive regular supervision and support throughout their training and practice. 

We offer excellent opportunities for personal growth and development, and provide further training for those who want to specialise in a particular form of Relationship Counselling such as Family Counselling, Sex Therapy or Children and Young People's Counselling.

What makes a good counsellor?

People come to counselling from many different backgrounds. Counselling is often a second or third career, and life experience is highly valued.

To help you understand what being a counsellor is really like hear from some of our counsellors about what made them decide to start a career in counselling and what it’s like to work with clients.

Read our counsellor stories

How do I become a counsellor?

You will need to complete a certain level of training to work as a Relate counsellor or sex therapist. What training you need will depend on your current qualifications and experience. We’ve outlined the process according to your situation below.

I’m new to counselling

You don’t need any previous knowledge of counselling to train to be a Relate counsellor or sex therapist but what level of training you require will depend on the qualifications you got at school or college. The following scenarios should help you decide what training you need.

I have no GCSEs/O-levels – you will need to do a Level 2 introductory qualification. This course will give you a basic understanding of counselling and help you decide if you would like to proceed further with your training. Level 2 courses can be part-time or full time and you can do them at a local college or training centre or by distance learning.

Search for Level 2 courses near you on www.hotcourses.com

I have at least one GCSE/O-level in Maths or English or an A/AS level – you will need to do a Level 3 counselling qualification. This course will introduce you to the three main theoretical approaches to counselling and shows you what you can expect from working with counselling agencies. Level 3 courses can be part-time or full time and you can do them at a local college or training centre or by distance learning.

Search for Level 3 courses near you on www.hotcourses.com

I’ve completed my Level 3 counselling qualification

If you’ve already completed a Level 3 qualification you can apply for a Level 4 Introduction to Relationship Counselling placement at a Relate Centre. On your placement you will need to complete 30 hours supervised counselling practice.

Find out more about the Relate Level 4 Introduction to Relationship Counselling

I’ve completed my Level 4 counselling qualification

Once you have completed Level 4 you can apply for a Level 5 Diploma in Relationship Counselling placement at a Relate Centre. On your placement you will need to complete 40-50 hours supervised counselling practice.

Find out more about the Relate Level 5 Diploma in Relationship Counselling

I’ve completed my Level 5 Diploma

Once you’ve completed Level 5 your supervised practice hours will be assessed against our Competency Framework (PDF) and you will receive your Relate Certificate of Proficiency which means you will be a Qualified Probationer Relationship Counsellor.  At this point you are qualified to practice in a Relate Centre.  

I’m a qualified counsellor or practitioner

We’ve recently changed our entry requirements to make it easier for qualified counsellors and practitioners to work for us. 

If you’re already qualified as a counsellor or practitioner (you have completed a Level 5 qualification or higher) you can apply to work at a Relate Centre without having to repeat training you have already completed.

If your application is successful the Centre will assess your qualifications and practice hours and if necessary guide you through a Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) process.

Check our current vacancies

If you'd like to see a visual pathway for becoming a counsellor download our map below. 

How to become a Relate Counsellor visual map

Find out more