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PSY4220 - Ethical and professional issues in psychology

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Dr Dianne Vella-Brodrick


Caulfield Second semester 2007 (Day)
Caulfield Second semester 2007 (Off-campus)
Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2007 (Off-campus)
Singapore Second semester 2007 (Off-campus)
South Africa Second semester 2007 (Day)


This unit will focus on ethical, legal and professional issues related to psychological practice. Conceptual (eg theories and definitions) and practical issues (eg common ethical dilemmas and case study appraisals) will be addressed. Some of the issues to be addressed include: legislation governing psychologists, professional organisations, codes of professional conduct, and ethical issues raised by: conflicts of interest, children as clients, using psychological tests, and the provision of psychological services to a multi-cultural population, managing the suicidal client, the reporting of child abuse, and service delivery over the internet.


By completing this unit, students should be able:

  1. to understand the purpose of legislation relating to the practice of psychology and how to comply with such legislation, appreciate the role of ethics in maintaining the integrity and cohesiveness of the profession;
  2. become familiar with the ethical principles to be adhered to in psychological practice;
  3. understand the psychologist's responsibilities in relation to clients;
  4. develop an appreciation of appropriate professional behaviour in a number of potentially complex situations; and
  5. develop decision making strategies to assist in the maintenance of ethical conduct.


Essay: 30%
Class group presentation on ethical issues (on-campus) or a written exercise examining ethical issues (off-campus): 20%
Examination: 50%


PSY4200 and PSY4504