This intensive course for qualified relationship counsellors comprises of ten taught modules — each module is two or three days in duration. In addition, the second module is completed online and students must complete it within a set time frame.

The course combines in depth practical approaches to the understanding and treatment of sexual dysfunctions with wider principles of sex and sexuality. It will equip practitioners to substantially build on their already considerable clinical experience of couple interaction.

Course content

The training initially focuses on the principles of CBT, its application to assessment, formulation, task setting and taking feedback. Considerable emphasis is placed on understanding sexual physiology, medical issues and medications relating to sexual dysfunctions. The course moves on to treatment strategies, the complexities of dual and triple dysfunctions, the assessment and management of blocks to treatment and the dovetailing of treatment strategies appropriate to presentation. Diverse gender, cultural, theoretical and narrative discourses relating to the provision of sex therapy are explored and debated. Contractual and legal issues are also considered so that students can effectively and ethically contract with the clients for the provision sex therapy work.

In the latter stages of training, students will explore themes relating to neuro-science and compulsive sexual behaviours. They will be equipped to use Relate’s sex addiction assessment tools and offer work to individuals with level 1 difficulties. Furthermore, students will be able to work more effectively with couples who are processing the effects of sexual addiction on their relationship.

The role of supervision of sex therapy in an organizational setting is carefully explored to include the impact of training and working as a sex therapist on other clinical work.

Interwoven throughout the training are Relate's and the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapist's (COSRT) ethical frameworks. Students will debate and explore complex ethical dilemmas that arise in sex therapy towards making informed decisions which uphold Relate’s commitment to diversity, equal opportunities and safeguarding.

Supervision and placements

Students will be required to have one hour of supervision, with a supervisor on the Relate register who is trained in sex therapy, per six hours face-to-face contact with sex therapy clients. This is a requirement of all COSRT approved trainings and this course is being submitted to COSRT for ‘approval pending’ status, which is the first stage for a new course towards full course approval. Students are required to join COSRT as a student member and to attend the COSRT annual conference.

Students will have a clinical placement at their centre and will be required to undertake a minimum 200 hours of supervised sex therapy practice and complete a minimum of 12 cases, 8 cases of which must be with a couple. Students will be eligible to be awarded their certificate in psychosexual therapy once all academic and practical requirements of the course have been satisfactorily met.

Teaching and assessment

Learning will be provided through a mixture of formal tutor input, small and large group work, individual study and peer critique and support. Students will be assessed through extensive role play, case and topic presentation, two 5,000 word essays, learning portfolio and 360 degree reporting between the student, tutor and supervisor.  In addition, students will take part in professional development and tutor groups to provide further opportunities for learning, debate and reflection. Students will also be expected to attend their centre or regional sex therapy case supervision group. Students will commence work with individual and couple sex therapy clients after module 4.


To be eligible for this course, you must have completed level 5 or above training in relationship counselling (from Relate’s approved courses list) and completed at least 240 hours of supervised casework or gained Relate’s Certificate of Proficiency. You will also have completed all mandated Continuing Professional Development (CPD): safeguarding, mental health and domestic abuse – safety and awareness and assessment and intervention, as well as intake training (CIM, CWAC). If you have joined Relate via the Accreditation of Prior Experience and Learning (APEL) route, you will also have completed your Certificate of Proficiency, mandated CPDs and CIM Assessment training. Practitioners who are also qualified to work with families and in young peoples' counselling will have a caseload that includes work with couples.

It is expected that students will have previously undertaken or be prepared to undertake at least 50 hours of personal development work gained through personal therapy, experiential group work or professional development groups.


Our trainers are all highly experienced sex therapists and trainers and/or specialists in their field.


Experienced relationship counsellors who are interested in applying for this course should download and complete: the FileTraining application form and the FileTraining reference request and email these to


The course fee is £4,000.

Course dates

Venue: Holiday Inn Leeds East, 2 Aberford Road, Oulton, Leeds, LS26 8EJ


25 to 26 November 2017

15, 16 and 17 December 2017

3 to 4 February 2018

17 to 18 March 2018

27, 28 and 29 April 2018

9 to 10 June 2018

21 to 22 July 2018

1 to 2 September 2018

12,13, and 14 October 2018

Venue: Holiday Inn Farnborough, Lynchford Road, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 6AZ


29 to 30  September and 1 October 2017

11 to 12 November 2017

5, 6 and 7 January 2018

10 to 11 February 2018

7 to 8 April 2018

11, 12 and 13 May 2018

23 to 24 June 2018

1 to 2 September 2018

13 to 14 October 2018

2, 3 and 4 December 2018