Post-Qualifying Certificate in Relational Counselling

Accredited by CPCAB, this 12-month professional practitioner qualification (Level 5 Certificate) in Relational Counselling covers all the key aspects of couple counselling.

It is designed to equip those who already have a recognised qualification in counselling or psychotherapy for individuals, to become a relationship counsellor.

Students are required to adhere to the Relate Code of Ethics and Practice. 

Course structure

The taught element of this course consists of 15 days, delivered in two or three consecutive day blocks.

There are also mandatory eLearning courses that you will be expected to complete. 

Please note that you must attend blocks 1, 2 and 4 and an overall 80% attendance is required to pass the course. 

Course content

Block 1: An introduction to relationship therapy

Topics include: working with a relational focus: Managing the therapeutic relationship with more than one person present. Introduction to systemic ideas, working with interpersonal relationships, ethics, supervision, diversity and difference, power and privilege in relationship counselling, an introduction to initial assessment and managing risk. 

Block 2: Systemic theory and practice

Topics include: Systemic thinking and practice,  clients in cultural content, using genograms, circular questions, working systemically and skills practice.

Block 3: Psychodynamic theory, adult attachment and getting ready to practice

Topics include: Psychodynamic approach when working with relationships, adult attachment, relationships as attachment mechanisms, the conscious & unconscious, transference and counter-transference, projection and projective identification, couple fit, working with difference and diversity, getting ready to practice. 

Block 4: Initial assessments and domestic abuse/safeguarding, fitness to practice assessments

Topics include: Safeguarding, domestic abuse, responding to domestic abuse & safeguarding concerns, skills practice and the use of professional judgement and supervision, difference and diversity, fitness to practice assessments. 

Block 5: Integration, affairs, separation and divorce 

Topics include: Integration, phone counselling, affairs, separation and divorce, managing conflict and split agendas. Integrating Systemic and Psychodynamic ideas in practice, diversity and cultural considerations. 

Block 6: Sex and intimacy & endings

Topics include: working with a sexual focus, case presentations and endings.  


The programme is delivered through a variety of participatory and interactive methods, including lectures, debates, presentations, structured skills development and practice, group exercises, skills and reflective practice, 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.

In addition, 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. 

The training was well paced and thorough. It considered our needs as a group and individuals.


Assessments are made through a combination of skills practice observation and submission 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:

  • Reflective commentary: A systemic approach to relationship counselling, ethical practice & reflexivity (2500 words) 
  • Readiness to practice skills assessment and reflective evaluation 
  • A case study presentation and written review (3500 words)
  • Submission of a portfolio

Each assignment is marked in accordance with Relate standards and policies.

Supervised placement

You will need a placement at a Relate Centre. Download our guide here

The clinical placement consists of 50 supervised hours of practice by the end of the course, 40 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. 

The course had an excellent Trainer, working with all candidates and giving time for all.

Entry requirements 

You must:

  • Be aged 19 or over.
  • Have a recognised counselling qualification (with tutor-led input) and have completed 100 hours of clinically supervised practice as part the course (evidence will be required of this).
  • 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.

Personal therapy 

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 a course will be conditional on a confirmed Relate placement.

The course had excellent content with plenty of options to ask questions. I felt able to participate freely.

Course dates and venues

Start date: 08 June 2024 End date: 08 June 2025

Course code BLD/REL/019 - This course is now FULL

Location: Blended - London and Virtual sessions delivered via Zoom

Start time: 09.30

End time: 17.00

Application deadline: 1st May 2024

The course will consists of the following blocks* of training dates:

Block 1: 08/09 June 2024 London
Block 2: 27/28 July 2024 Virtual
Block 3: 23/24/25 August 2024 Virtual 
Block 4: 20/21/22 September 2024 London
Block 5: 16/17 November 2024 Virtual
Block 6: 04/05 January 2025 London

Phone Counselling Workshop: 28 September 2024 Virtual

*Please note that you must attend blocks 1, 2 & 4.


Start date: 12 October 2024 | End date: 12 October 2025

Course code: VIR/REL/020

Location: Virtual

Start time: 09.30 | End time: 17.00

Application deadline: 1st September 2024

The course will consists of the following blocks* of training dates:

Block 1: 12/13 October 2024
Block 2: 09/10 November 2024
Block 3: 06/07/08 December 2024
Block 4: 10/11/12 January 2025
Phone Counselling workshop: 18 January 2025
Block 5: 22/23 February 2025
Block 6: 05/06 April 2025

*Please note that you must attend blocks 1, 2 & 4.

Course fees

This course costs £2,650 (this includes the non-refundable CPCAB registration and application fee).

Once your place on our course has been secured, you will need to pay.

We offer all students two options for payment, 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.

Additional expenses

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.

Non-refundable costs

  • The Practitioner Directory fee
  • The CPCAB registration fee
  • Application process fee

How to apply

You will need to secure your place at a Relate centre before you submit your application.

Download the application form and direct debit mandate documents below:


Apply now