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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Learn about relationship counselling and improving communication in relationships in this distance learning course.

  • An essential course for anyone involved in relationship and communication breakdowns and difficulties.
  • This course will help you to understand the difficulties that can arise when relationships and communication breakdown.
  • Understand more about how communication problems can lead to relationship breakdown and destruction.
  • Develop an understanding of self awareness, and influences on communication.
  • Understand external influences that affect behaviour and communications.
  • Learn about different techniques of communication - types of listening, types of questions.

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Relationship and Communication Counselling is an important course if you are involved in relationship breakdowns, counselling or other related fields.

  • This course will increase your knowledge of the importance of communication in relationships.
  • Understand how relationships can breakdown and what we can do to improve relationships and communication.

The course has 6 lessons which consider -

  • Communication and new relationships.
  • Self awareness.
  • Communication goals.
  • Communication patterns in relationships.
  • Influences on behaviour in relationships.
  • Communication techniques,
  • Maintaining relationships.

This Course is Suitable for -

The Relationships And Communication Counselling course is suitable for -

  • Social workers
  • Counsellors
  • Teachers
  • Psychologists
  • Trainee counsellors
  • Volunteer counsellors
  • Mental health workers
  • Learning disability workers
  • Support workers
  • Health and well-being workers
  • Stress management consultants
  • Anger management consultants
  • Human resources staff
  • Law enforcement
  • Managers
  • Supervisors
  • Advice workers
  • Helpline counsellors
  • Homelessness workers
  • Anyone who supports people experiencing relationship breakdowns

The course is useful as -

  • Professional development, CPD or for interest.

Start at any Time

  • Start at any time and study this 100 hour course in your own home and at your own pace.

Course Structure and Lesson Content

There are 6 lessons in this course, as outlined below:

Lesson 1. Communication in Emerging Relationships

  • Introduction.
  • Problems in relationships.
  • Stages in relationships.
  • Interpersonal communication.
  • The communication process.
  • Principles of communication.
  • Communication filtered through perceptions.
  • Verbal communication.
  • Non verbal communication.
  • Communication responsibility.
  • Ineffective communication.
  • Signs of relationship breakdown.
  • Effective communication.
  • Abuse and violence in relationships.

Lesson 2. Self-Awareness and Communication Goals

  • Introduction.
  • Negative communication.
  • Self awareness.
  • Setting the stage for change.
  • Good communication is thoughtful.
  • Intent.
  • Awareness.
  • Recognising reactive patterns.
  • Relationship goals.

Lesson 3. Communication Patterns in Relationships

  • Negative patterns of communication.
  • Aggressive patterns.
  • Victim patterns.
  • Avoidance patterns.
  • Thought, feeling and action cycle.
  • Thoughts and feelings differentiated.
  • Emotions (feelings).
  • Patterns of thought.
  • Behaviour (Actions).
  • Action skills.
  • Communicating intent.

Lesson 4. Influences on Relating Behaviour and PBL.

  • Influences on communication.
  • Environmental influences; family, culture, social, other.
  • Global factors.
  • Communicating and changing interpersonal needs.
  • Changing expectations and needs.
  • Adult psychological development.
  • Erikson's psycho social stages.
  • PBL (problem based learning project) to create and plan a counselling intervention for a couple who are experiencing relationship difficulties. 

Lesson 5. Communication Techniques and Skills

  • Introduction.
  • Triads.
  • Listening.
  • Paraphrasing.
  • Reflective responses; emotions.
  • Reflective responses; content.
  • Guidelines to prevent inauthentic listening.
  • Open questions.
  • Message statements or requests.
  • Self disclosure.
  • Encouraging clients to learn communication.

Lesson 6. Maintaining Relationships

  • Introduction.
  • Kinds of, and stages in relationships.
  • Factors to help maintain relationships.
  • Agreements or contracts.
  • Praise and gifts for service.
  • Relationship nurturing communication.
  • Straight talk.

Course Aims

  • To examine the importance of communication in emergent relationships and its changing role within relationships.
  • To understand different influences affecting and changing interpersonal needs over the lifespan.
  • To recognise the role of cultural and physical environmental influences on communication.
  • To identify and examine patterns of communication in close relationships.
  • To understand constructive and destructive methods of maintaining relationships.
  • To discuss patterns of relationship breakdown and the role of constructive and destructive communication.
  • To consider the effectiveness of different communication techniques in relationships.

Why Do We Have Relationships At All?

Humans are social animals. A human’s life depends on other humans. Babies are born and are not able to care for themselves, transport themselves or protect themselves. They require on the efforts of other humans to survive.  We learn about the world around us through other people. Our relationships with others are the key to our survival and happiness.

Human beings are very social. We like friends around them.  Social networking has also enabled us to increase our social interactions.  Evolutionary processes favoured the development of complex social behaviours in humans.  The human brain is much larger than other primates and mammals of a similar size. In particular, our neocortex is larger than other mammals and primates. The neocortex is the area of the brain involved in higher social cognition, such as language, emotional regulation, behavioural regulation and conscious thought, and empathy.  So in a way, we are biologically hardwired to interact with others.  We don’t know how the social brain of humans evolved in this way as yet, but our social brain has obvious benefits as it enables us to engage in complex social interactions, maintain relationships with others.  There are obvious benefits to belonging to groups, such as protection and support.  Emotionally and physically we benefit from belonging to groups.  As long as they are positive situations. 

Don't Confuse Needs with Expectations

One problem in communicating our needs is that we often confuse our needs with our expectations. They are not the same thing, though they are also inevitably intertwined. Needs may defined narrowly as those elements without which we cannot function effectively on a physical, emotional or intellectual level, or more broadly as those elements which are essential to our well-being. Expectations are perceptions of what is required, who should provide it, who is entitled to it, how to give it, etc. While gender, age and a range of other factors may affect our relationship behaviours and our needs, it is important to understand that these are also affected by personal, social and cultural expectations. 

Whatever you think about gender differences, for example, it is clear that there are strong social influences that cause men and women to behave differently in relationships. The widely held belief that women are inherently more nurturing might cause society to view a cold and distant mother more negatively than a cold, distant father. On the other hand, a society’s idea of the nuclear family (man, woman, children) as the norm might make it more difficult for a husband and wife to choose alternative living arrangements that better suit their interpersonal needs. Therefore, when considering an individual’s needs, we must also consider the role of social expectations, which can greatly affect not only how a person sees or communicates him or herself, but also, our responses to gender and age. On the other hand, if our psychological and physical wellbeing depend on the fulfilment of certain expectations, then those expectations can function in our experience of them as needs. This is one reason why people in relationships can disagree radically on what is necessary to the wellbeing of their relationship.

Aside from the difficulty in identifying the various influences on a person’s needs and responses to those needs, the issues are further complicated by the fact that our expectations change over time.

This Course Can Help Anywhere and Everywhere

Relationships are important in every part of our daily life; and while this course may be particularly relevant to people who are involved in relationships counselling; it is also pertinent to anyone involved in or having influence upon, any type of relationship, for example:

  • Employers and supervisors who manage staff, will be far more effective at work, if the relationships between different employees are better; and this course can help you understand and improve the way workplace relationships are managed.
  • Business and marketing people will always be more effective if they understand and cultivate good and appropriate relationships at work.
  • Welfare workers, youth workers, health practitioners, and other helping professions, have a primary interest in helping people achieve a better state of wellbeing. While every job has it's own primary focus; every one of these jobs will be more effective when the relationship is better with the client; and when outside relationships are not overwhelming and distracting the client. This course help any such practitioner to a heightened sensitivity, and a much better capacity to deal with relationships at all levels.

How the Course Works

You can start the course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies.  Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.

Each lesson includes set tasks, and is completed with an assignment which the student submits to their course tutor.  The tutor will mark the assignment and return this to the student with comments and suggestions for further reading.

Comprehensive Study Package from ACS

At ACS we provide you with more than just a set of course notes.

Your 'learning package' includes:

  • Course notes.
  • Self-assessment quizzes.
  • Assignment feedback.
  • You can interact one on one with a professional tutor with decades of experience - just email, phone or log on to chat to connect with them.
  • Depending upon your course, your studies may involve independent research, interviews, practical exercises, assessments, Problem Based Learning projects, and more. 

You Can Enrol Today

Register to Study - Go to “It’s Easy to Enrol” box at the top of the page and you can enrol now.


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Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Tracey Jones (psychology)B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies) Tracey began studying psychology in 1990. She has a wide range of experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects. She has been a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work and has also written many textbooks, blogs, articles and ebooks on psychology, writing, sociology, child development and more. She has had also several short stories published.
Kate Gibson B.Soc.Sc.15+ years experience in HR, marketing, education & project management. Kate has traveled and worked in a variety of locations including London, New Zealand and Australia.

Check out our eBooks

LearningA book to help students learn and to discover better learning techniques. There are lots of different techniques for learning. Most work well for some people, but not for others. If you understand the way in which a particular individual is most likely to learn, you can better determine the most appropriate learning techniques for them to use. This book helps you understand both the theory and the practical solutions that can help improve learning whether at home, at school, at work or at play.
Counselling HandbookA book for both students, as well as volunteers who may be involved in helping people with problems. This is a starting point for understanding counselling, and a reference for developing counselling skills. The book contains seven chapters: 1. Where can counselling be used 2. How to see behind the mask 3. Emotions and attitudes 4. How to communicate better when all you have is words 5. Theory versus practice 6. Diffusing difficult situations 7. Golden rules or tips
How Children ThinkAnyone who has ever tried to make a child do anything (clean up their mess, desist from throwing mud, stop drawing on the walls) knows that children think differently to adults. This book attempts to provide the skills and knowledge to develop a greater understanding of children.
How to be a Life CoachLife coaching is a relatively new profession - although coaches have been around for a long time in the guise of trainers, instructors, managers and tutors for various professions and disciplines. Life coaching is not easily defined, but it is a type of mentoring which focuses on helping individuals to achieve what they would like to achieve and thereby to lead more fulfilling lives. Unlike other forms of coaching, it takes place outside of the workplace and is concerned with all aspects of a person’s life.