Higher Diploma in Relationship Mentoring

(Level 8, 60 Credits)

2 Years - part-time

Programme Overview

Adult relationship with self and others lies at the heart of effective family, social, educational and work systems. The core psycho-social unit in society is the family and research consistently shows that the emotions and social maturity of each parent is the main determinant of family well being. The course recognises parenting as a profession and the need for parents to be prepared for this complex and multi-task profession. This two year programme is also designed to enhance other adults’ professional effectiveness and organisational effectiveness by increasing the personal and interpersonal maturity of employees and those in leadership roles.  The course is also designed to train participants in one-to-one relationship mentoring and in the provision of groups and work organisations. Skills to qualitatively and quantitatively analyse individual and organisational interventions will be developed.

The course is substantially rooted in the theories and practices of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, sociological theories and experimental psychology.

Programme Aims and Objectives

  • The overall aim to develop expertise in creating effective and mature environments within and between people in the key social systems in which individuals operate – home, school, workplace and community.
  • To introduce participants to the influence of the different social systems – couple relationship, family, classroom, school, community, workplace, church, country on how individuals communicate.
  • The core of the programme is the development of the participant’s own level of personal and interpersonal maturity.
  • Based on that foundation, in individual and group situations, participants will have the skills to identify the current relationship dynamics, develop an appropriate intervention programme and evaluate the outcome of the programme.
  • Participants will also be trained to provide 10 week programmes on Family Wellbeing, The Teenage Years, and Workplace Relationships for the public that can be adapted to conflict situations within a variety of social settings.

Duration and Admission

The programme will be taken part-time over 2 years. Applicants will be admitted to the course on the basis of:

  • Being over 21 years of age at the time of application.
  • Successful completion of the foundation course Certificate in Interpersonal Communication (Level 7 – 30 credits) or relevant qualifications and/or professional experience.
  • Interview ( For applicants who have not completed the foundation course)

Methods of Assessment

Continuous assessment and end of year written examinations.

Programme Content – Year 1

Development Theories & Early Relationships (5 Credits)

Jean Piaget’s Stage Theory; Erik Erikson’s model of Psychosocial Development; John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory; Daniel Stern’s work on psychological development in infancy; Frank Lake’s ‘womb as world experience’ ; D.W. Winnicott’s ‘good enough parenting.’

Young People’s Challenging Behaviours (5 Credits)

The nature, origins, creative interventions of and maintenance factors of Children’s Challenging Behaviours. Also, the development of methods of assessment, intervention and evaluation of intervention strategies.

Adults Challenging Behaviours (5 Credits)

The nature, types origins and endurance of adults’ challenging behaviours. The influence of the unconscious and sub-conscious on parents’ challenging responses. The creative intentions of parents’ defensive reactions. The impact of labelling and medication on the defensive behaviours; The effects of parents’ challenging behaviours on their own and on their children’s wellbeing: Examination of approaches to parents’ challenging responses and the development of problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills.

The Importance of Play (5 Credits)

Psychoanalytic, psychotherapeutic and behavioural understandings of play, types of play, Partan’s stages of play and playful parenting.

The Teenage Years (5 Credits)

The nature of adolescent development; Peer pressure; Communication and adolescence; ‘Persistent’ versus ‘new’ problems in living; Adolescent depression and anxiety; Understanding the nature of adolescent inner turmoil; What it takes to guide adolescents towards self-reliance; Key issues in adolescence.

Parent Mentoring and Facilitation of Parenting Courses (5 Credits)

All mentoring /training starts with self. All parenting starts with how a parent parents self; Mentoring skills. The art of public speaking; Group dynamics; Evaluation methods; The importance of supervision.

Year 2

The Contribution of Psychoanalysis to Adult Relationships (5 Credits)

The Oedipal Relationship (Feud); Projection and Introjection (Klein); The process of Individuation (Carl Jung); The Holding Environment (Winnicott); Current Thinking (Adam Phillips, Neville Symington)    

Personal and Interpersonal Relationships – The Knowledge Base (5 Credits)

This module will provide knowledge of the dynamics of relationships in the personal, family, community and work spheres. The focus will be on how all of these relationships are ultimately determined by the quality of relationship with self.

Relationships within Work Organisations (5 Credits)

Types of organisations; organisational cultures; power within organisations; change theories; the process of change; resistance to change; organisational conflict; methods of conflict resolution; the art of negotiation; types of management; staff relationships.

Evaluation of Relationships with different Social Contexts, Observational and Research Skills (5 Credits)

Assessment interviews and tools; Observation – objectivity and intersubjectivity, Methodology in the Human Sciences; Staying up to date with current thinking, accessing information.

Personal and Interpersonal Relationships – Professional training in Presentation and Facilitation Skills (5 Credits)

Group dynamics, conflict assessment and resolution, active listening; listening to inner experience and using it to communicate and facilitate communications; facilitation and presentation practice and feedback.

Professional Development Workshops (5 Credits)

Case studies, theoretical input and practice of relationship mentoring interventions in different work/social settings.

Contact Details       

Caroline Coughlan at Dr. Tony Humphrey’s office
Tel: 021 4642394 (10.00 – 4.00p.m Monday to Thursday)
Email:    tonyhumphreys1@eircom.net


The course will be offered on a part-time basis over two years. Classes will be delivered once weekly in UCC Cork and Glenview Hotel, Glen O’The Downs, Delgany, Co. Wicklow. There will be some weekend workshops. 


Next course will commence September 2016


Cork €3,100 for the academic year 2016/2017

Dublin €3,350 for the academic year 2016/2017