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MPM5204 - Psychiatric ethics - Theory and practice

4 points, SCA Band 3, 0.083 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Prof Sid Bloch


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


Themes and topics will extend over a wide terrain but cover ethical aspects of the psychiatrist - patient relationship, diagnosis, confidentiality, treatment in psychiatry, resource allocation and justice, child and adolescent psychiatry, women's mental health, psychogeriatrics, forensic psychiatry. Moral theory and its applications will also be a central feature.


On completion of this unit, students will be able:

  1. To discuss the history of moral philosophy as it pertains to the discipline of psychiatry, including the salient concepts in moral philosophy which constitute a basis for ethical reasoning and are relevant to clinical practice.
  2. To discuss the many complex ethical problems that can be analysed in a systematic and disciplined manner and to demonstrate an understanding of the essence of ethical reasoning and analysis.
  3. To demonstrate the ability to learn to deal with ethical decision-making by logic and argument and to reach balanced ethical judgements through critical appraisal of competing theories.
  4. To demonstrate the ability to promote one's moral imagination, moral sensitivity and self-awareness in clinical practice and to become sensitised to ethical aspects of issues that might otherwise be regarded as purely scientific or technical.
  5. To demonstrate the confidence to face and cope with anxiety regarding difficult-to-resolve ethical dilemmas in clinical psychiatry and to become sensitive to the myriad intricate ethical problems facing psychiatrists. This selective intends the student to be guided by a sound understanding of psychiatric ethics and a sense of moral obligation, and to bring rigorous thinking to bear when faced with an ethical quandary.
  6. To demonstrate an appreciation of the value (and limitations) of codes of ethics, codes of practice and clinical guidelines.


Oral presentation of a designated topic including use of clinical examples (30%) 1500 word essay (70%)

Contact hours

Weekly seminars


MPM Year 1 units