Accredited by CPCAB, this two-year qualification provides training for people wishing to work as relationship counsellors within Relate. It is the first step for progression on to our higher level courses.
It is designed to equip those who are not qualified in counselling or psychotherapy to become a relationship counsellor. Students are required to adhere to the Relate Code of Ethics and Practice.
The taught element of this course consists of 41 days, delivered in two or three consecutive day blocks, over a two-year period.
You must complete and pass year one to progress onto year two. There are also mandatory eLearning courses that you will be expected to complete.
Module 1(Blocks 1 & 2): A professional framework for relationship counselling
Topics include: What is relationship counselling, introduction to relationship counselling theories, management of the therapeutic relationship, diversity and difference, ethical frameworks, safeguarding and assessing risk, the role of supervision, personal and professional frameworks.
Module 2 (Blocks 3 & 4): A systemic approach to relationship counselling
Topics include: Systemic practice, exploring skills in couple work using systemic concepts, exploring the self as the counsellor, the use of supervision in couple work, managing cultural diversity and difference, exploring ethical issues and boundaries.
Module 3 (Blocks 5 & 6): A psychodynamic approach to relationship counselling
Topics include: Psychodynamic approach when working with relationships, adult attachment, relationships as attachment mechanisms, sexual relationships.
Module 4 (Block 7): Difference and diversity in relationship counselling pt.1
Topics include: Cultural competence, disability, ageing, reflexivity, issues of difference and diversity, exploring assumptions about relationships, gender and sexuality and intersectionality.
Module 5 (Block 8): A sexual focus and relational challenges
Topics include: Relationships and affairs, divorce & separation, re-formed families, working with a sexual focus, skills practice.
Module 6 (Blocks 9 & 10): Preparing for practice as a relationship counsellor
Topics include: Initial assessment, domestic abuse & safeguarding awareness and understanding, fit for practice assessments, phone/webcam counselling & tutorials.
Module 7 (Blocks 11 to 13): Mental Health and relationship counselling
Topics include: General mental health issues and relationship work, understanding depression and anxiety, including relational impact and substance abuse, exploring perspectives on trauma and the potential effects on adult relationships, managing risk and ongoing assessment.
Module 8 (Blocks 14 & 15): Using relationship theories in relationship counselling
Topics include: Revisiting systemic and psychodynamic concepts, integration in practice & skills practice.
Module 9 (Blocks 16 & 17): Difference and diversity in relationship counselling pt. 2
Topics include: Student experience of difference and diversity in practice, cultural competence, gender, sexual, erotic, and relational diversity (GSERD) and relationship counselling, relationships and wellbeing, integrating and critically evaluating work with clients, developing practice.
Module 10 (Block 18): Further ideas and concepts in relationship counselling
Topics include: Reflecting on a range of other theoretical perspectives informing relationship therapy, Gottman, Chapman ‘love languages’, Transactional Analysis, behavioural approaches, emotionally focused therapy, narrative therapy, and Solution Focused Therapy & LGBT affirmative therapy.
Module 11 (Block 19 & 20): Working in placement and evaluating practice
Topic include: Case presentations, personal and professional development as a relationship counsellor, endings and celebration of achievement.
The programme is delivered through a variety of participatory and interactive methods, including lectures, debates, presentations, structured skills development and practice, group exercises, case presentations, peer observations and reflections and programme group meetings.
As this is a clinical programme, there is a strong emphasis on practical and experiential work, including personal and professional development groups.
Also, your supervised placement practice (counselling hours) will allow you to apply your learning and gain valuable experience and confidence from your tutors, supervisor and peers.
Assessments are made through a combination of skills practice observation and submission of a number of written assignments.
The assignments are designed to demonstrate that you have met the learning outcomes and the assessment criteria. All assignments will be marked pass or fail. Anyone who fails their first submission will be allowed a second submission.
The central focus of the assessment process is to encourage and enable you to:
- Engage in learning activities/processes commensurate with the academic level of the course.
- Engage in personal evaluation of your own progress using critical reflection on your learning, utilising feedback from peers, supervisors and tutors.
- Assume responsibility for your own learning.
The assessment breakdown is as follows:
- A professional framework for relationship counselling (1500 word essay)
- A Systemic approach (2000 word reflexive commentary on a recorded session with peers)
- Psychodynamic approach (2000 word reflexive commentary on a recorded session with peers)
- Difference and Diversity in relationship counselling (1500 word evaluation)
- A sexual focus and relational challenges (two 750-word reflections on seminar papers)
- Fit for practice assessment and reflective evaluation (in-class assessment & 1500 words)
- Mental health and relationship counselling (four 750-word critiques of seminar papers)
- Difference and Diversity case presentation (in-class presentation & 1000 word reflection)
- Case study presentation and review (in-class presentation & a 3500 word reflexive commentary on client work)
- Further ideas and concepts in relationship counselling (in-class group work presentation & 1000 evaluation)
- Working in placement and evaluating practice (submission of a final portfolio of evidence)
Each assignment is marked in accordance with Relate standards and policies.
You will need a placement at a Relate Centre. Download our guide to see how to do this here.
The clinical placement wil start after block 10 and consists of 100 supervised hours of practice by the end of the course, around 70 hours of which will be in couples counselling (more than one person in the room). Along with the practice hours, you are expected to attend 1.5 hours of supervision per month, once you have started your client work.
- Be aged 19 or over.
- Commit to two years towards gaining this qualification.
- Have completed a recognised Level 3 certificate in Counselling Studies, with tutor-led teaching and input.
- Have access to a Relate Centre for your clinical placement.
- Be able to commit to around 10 hours a month towards your clinical practice (in addition to all other commitments).
All successful applicants will be required to have the appropriate DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks as requested by the Relate Centre.
Applicants are strongly advised to ensure that they have adequate word processing and IT skills, access to a computer (not a tablet) and the Internet will also be needed before and throughout this course. All course materials and assignments are accessed and submitted through our learning platform, Learn Relate.
Accessing personal therapy is a cornerstone of training as a relationship counsellor. All students are strongly encouraged to have undertaken at least 20 hours personal therapy prior to joining the course or to consider doing so whilst in training.
You will be required to attend an interview with your placement centre and will need to demonstrate personal qualities relevant to therapeutic practice and training, which include:
- Respect for and valuing of others, and their differences.
- A commitment to anti-discriminatory practice.
- A capacity of personal emotional resilience.
- A capacity to cope with the professional and academic demands of the course.
- A capacity to be reflexive and use experience and feedback constructively.
Acceptance on this course will be conditional on a confirmed Relate placement.
Course dates and venues
Course code: BRI/RCD/015
Start date: 13 April 2024 | End date: 13 April 2026
Start time: 09.30 | End time: 17.00
Application deadline: 13 March 2024
The course will consist of the following blocks* of training dates:
Block 1: 13/14 April 2024
Block 2: 11/12 May 2024
Block 3: 08/09 June 2024
Block 4: 06/07 July 2024
Block 5: 03/04 August 2024
Block 6: 07/08 September 2024
Block 7: 05/06 October 2024
Block 8: 02/03 November 2024
Block 9: 23/24 November 2024
Block 10: 14/15 December 2024
Phone Counselling Workshop: To be confirmed (virtual)
Block 11: 26/27 April 2025
Block 12: 31 May/01 June 2025
Block 13: 28/29 June 2025
Block 14: 26/27 July 2025
Block 15: 30/31 August 2025
Block 16: 27/28 September 2025
Block 17: 25/26 October 2025
Block 18: 22/23 November 2025
Block 19: 10/11 January 2025
Block 20: 21/22 February 2025
*Please note that you must attend blocks 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10 in the first year and blocks 16 & 17 in year two. There is an overall 80% attendance to pass the course.
This course costs £2,750 per year. This includes the non-refundable CPCAB registration and application fee. (The total cost of this qualification is £5,500).
Once your place on our course has been secured, you will need to pay the the amount in full or the deposit.
We offer all students two options, either to pay the full amount in one go or by direct debit instalments. If paying by DD instalments we require a deposit of £750, as your first payment.
Course confirmation and materials will not be released until payment has been made.
These will vary depending on personal circumstances, but these should be taken into consideration when applying.
We are unable to contribute to any of these additional costs.
These costs may include:
- Registration on the Practitioner Directory - £50 – this is non-refundable and paid separately.
- Cost of personal therapy (some Relate Centres may require you to attend some personal therapy).
- Travel and accommodation costs, it is advised that you do not book these until course dates are confirmed.
- Buying books/resources etc.
- Enhanced DBS Certificate.
Fees, terms and conditions
All fees must be paid either in full or as agreed. Failure to pay will result in your exclusion from the course.
- If you withdraw within two weeks of starting the first block you are liable to pay 25% of the total course fees, minus the non-refundable costs.
- If you withdraw within four months of starting the first block you are liable to pay 50% of the total course fees, minus the non-refundable costs.
- If you withdraw any time after five months of starting the first block you are liable to pay 100% of the total course fees.
- The Practitioner Directory fee
- The CPCAB registration fee
- Application process fee
How to apply
To apply please download and complete the application form.
You will also need to secure your place at a Relate Centre before you submit your application.
To prevent any delay in your application being processed, please make sure all the supporting documents are provided. Your application will not be processed if it’s incomplete.
Please email your application and supporting documents to email@example.com.