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 counselling with courses available in Relationship Counselling Level 4 and Level 5, Relational TrainingFamily Counselling, Young People's Counselling, Psycho Sexual TherapySupervisory Practice and Digital Counselling.

What makes a good relationship 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.

How do I become a relationship counsellor?

You will need a certificate (level 2 or 3) in counselling and listening skills or counselling/listening skills training and experience working with an organisation such as the Samaritans or Childline for entry to the Relate CPCAB Level 4 Introduction to Relationship Counselling.

If you already have a counselling certificate at level 4 (with evidence of clinical placement) you can apply to enter the Relate CPCAB Level 5 Diploma in Relationship Counselling.

If you already have a level 5 Diploma (or above) in counselling or psychotherapy you can apply to take the Relate Certificate in Relational Counselling.

As a qualified counsellor or practitioner we offer further training to deliver in specialised service areas

I already have a degree, can I go straight to level 4 or 5?

The qualifications required as entry to the Relate Level 4 Introduction to Relationship Counselling course are a Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills or Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies. These qualifications are important as they are practical and counselling focused rather than academically or purely theoretically focused.

Counselling is a relational activity which depends on personal qualities, self-awareness and soft skills such as the ability to build a trusting relationship, work with difference and diversity and to convey emphatic understanding. These aspects are not included or assessed in most degree programmes (including psychology degrees) and have to be learned and developed in a very different learning context.

 If you have practised counselling skills as part of the degree you have studied, then you can start at level 4 but most degrees do not include the specific practical training in counselling skills, so you will need to start at level 3. 

APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experience & Learning)

As well as training our own practitioners, Relate also recruits externally, people who have the requisite qualifications and experience to work for one of our mainstream services. If you are already a qualified counsellor, it may be that you already have sufficient qualifications and experience to work for us.

What is the criteria for a clinical placement?

For the practise element of the training you will need to secure a student placement at a Relate Centre where you will be able to counsel couples on relationship issues. Your supervision will be provided by the Relate centre. Your supervisor will be registered on the Relate Practitioner Directory.

Can I use my current counselling role as my placement?

If you already work for a counselling service and you wish to use this as your placement, we need to confirm a few things before we can approve the placement:

  • Your counselling work will be with couples about relationship issues
  • Your supervisor will be qualified as a Relationship Counsellor and registered with the Relate Practitioner Directory as a supervisor
  • Your counselling service will assess and refer appropriate casework (for example no issues of domestic abuse or safeguarding)

I am already a qualified counsellor in private practice, can I use my private practice as my placement?

No, this is not appropriate for a student relationship counsellor as there will be no assessment or referral process for appropriate casework. Students in relationship counselling are not qualified to assess cases until they have completed their Level 5 Diploma or the Relate certificate Relational Counselling.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about our training please email training@relate.org.uk