Accredited by COSRT, this intensive two-year course for qualified relationship counsellors combines in-depth practical approaches to the understanding and treatment of sexual difficulties with wider principles of sex and sexuality.
It will equip practitioners to substantially build on their already considerable clinical experience of working with relationships and to specialise in addressing sexual difficulties.
The training initially focuses on the principles of CBT, and 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 as well as appreciating diversity.
The course moves on to considering 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. Diversity, 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 of sex therapy work.
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 Therapists (COSRT) ethical frameworks. Students will debate and explore complex ethical dilemmas that arise in sex therapy towards making informed decisions that uphold Relate’s commitment to diversity, equal opportunities, and safeguarding.
You are required to join COSRT as a student member and attend regular CPD events as advertised by Relate and COSRT.
The course duration is 24 months. The taught element of this course consists of 16 blocks of study totalling 33 days, over a 24 months period. There are 8 blocks in year 1 and 8 in year 2. Blocks are delivered monthly and consist of two days of study with the exception of the final block at the end of year 3 which is delivered over three days.
Module 1: Foundation of Psychosexual Therapy Practice
This module is delivered over 5 blocks of study. The purpose of this module is to provide a solid grounding in PST principles underpinning practice. Adopting a CBT focus the module explores the assessment, history taking, formulation, treatment planning, managing blocks, and ending the therapy process. Working with diverse client groups is embedded in this module and will be considered at each stage of the assessment, treatment planning, and ongoing therapy process. In addition, students will gain an understanding of medical issues relevant to PST assessment and treatment, including the need for onward referrals. Students will revisit Relate policies, procedures, and processes when faced with issues of risk and safety and consider how to manage these.
Module 2: Working with Diversity in Psychosexual Therapy.
This module is delivered over 3 blocks of study and focuses on diversity in psychosexual therapy. The theme of each block aims to support effective practice for working with diversity and includes links to ethical practice, supervision, legislation, as well as research literature.
Module 3: Medical and Health Issues in Psychosexual Therapy
This module is delivered over two blocks of study and re-examines medical and health issues that impact relationships and sexual functioning. The module builds on learning from module 1 and extends the students understanding further. Students will have been in practice for a few months before taking this module they should be able to reflect on casework as part of their learning and apply learning from the module to casework.
Module 4: Trauma, Neuroscience, Addiction and Compulsivity
This module is delivered over two blocks of study and aims initially to explore the impact of trauma on relationships and sexual functioning, this includes considering the management of disclosures and how to best manage these in practice including considering referral to other professionals. The module then moves on to consider the issue of sexual compulsivity and explores contemporary understandings and evidence bases. The Relate service module and therapist competence are a key focus here to ensure therapists can make suitable professional judgments to best manage this client presentation and refer to specialists where appropriate.
Module 5: Psychosexual Therapy – Learning from Practice
This module is delivered over two blocks of study and is focused on consolidating your understanding of the psychosexual therapy process. Learning with and from peers is a key focus of this module culminating in students showcasing their understanding of a piece of case work that demonstrates their skills and competence as a psychosexual therapist.
Module 6: Clinical Placement and Practice
This module spans years 1 and 2 of the course and has two specific blocks of learning attached to the module. Undertaking a placement of 150 hours of practice as a psychosexual therapist is key to this module. In addition, students will demonstrate how their personal and professional development has grown through their studies.
As well as a portfolio of evidence of practice, supervision, and personal development students will undertake a self-directed project where they investigate a specific area of psychosexual therapy practice or a sexual topic relevant to psychosexual therapy to share with their group.
The programme is delivered through a variety of participatory and interactive methods, including lectures, debates, presentations, audio-visual materials, 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.
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.
Students are required to adhere to the Relate Code of Ethics & Practice, COSRT, and the BACP Ethical framework.
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 as 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 the 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:
Module 1 = 2 assignments
Module 2 = 1 assignment
Module 3 = 1 assignment
Module 6 = A supervisors report on progress in placement
Module 4 = 2 assignments
Module 5 = A presentation and an assignment
Module 6 = A portfolio and an assignment
Each assignment is marked in accordance with Relate standards and policies.
You will have a clinical placement at a Relate Centre and will be required to undertake a minimum of 150 hours of supervised sex therapy practice, this must include a minimum of 75 hours with couples.
Along with the practice hours, you are expected to attend one hour of supervision per six hours of face-to-face contact with sex therapy clients, with an experienced PST supervisor on the Relate Directory who is trained in sex therapy. This is a requirement of all COSRT-accredited courses.
You will also be expected to attend your Centre or regional case supervision group.
- Be aged 19 or over.
- Have completed level 5 or above training in relationship counselling and completed at least 100 hours of couple work.
- Have access to a Relate Centre for your clinical placement.
Accessing personal therapy is a cornerstone of training as a psychosexual counsellor. It is expected that students will have or be prepared to undertake at least 50 hours of personal development work through the course. Each block of study includes a personal development group element which will meet part of this 50-hour requirement. However, you must also have at least 20 hours of personal therapy to meet COSRT standards.
All successful applicants will be required to have the appropriate DBS (Disclosure Barring Agency) 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 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, LearnRelate.
Applicants will be required to attend an interview with their 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.
Course dates and venues
We are planning courses for 2024/2025 and will advertise the dates once they are available.
This course costs £6,000 (£3,000 per year).
Once your place on our course has been secured, you will need to pay. We offer all students two options, either to pay the full amount in one go or by direct debit instalments. 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.
- Travel and accommodation costs, it is advised that you do not book these until course dates are confirmed.
- Buying books/resources etc.
- COSRT membership fees and attendance at events.
- Enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) 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
- Application process fee
How to apply
You will also need to secure your place at a Relate centre before you submit your application.
To apply please fill out an application form linked below.
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 is incomplete.
Please email your application and supporting documents to firstname.lastname@example.org