Monash University Handbooks 2008

PSY4504 - Ethics and professional issues

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Dr D. Vella-Brodrick and Mr G Walker


Caulfield Second semester 2008 (Off-campus)
Caulfield Second semester 2008 (Evening)
Singapore First semester 2008 (Off-campus)
Singapore Second semester 2008 (Off-campus)


The program includes a review of the important legislation for psychologists, professional organisations for psychologists, ethics committees and codes of professional conduct. It addresses issues of privacy, confidentiality, privilege, and informed consent, professional responsibility in relation to competence, dual relationships and conflicts of interest, the role of the psychologist in court, ethical issues raised by having children as clients, ethical issues in the use of psychological tests, ethical issues in the provision of psychological services to peopl from a different cultural background, managing the suicidal client, ethical issues in reporting child abuse, the prediciton of dangerousness, ethical issues pertaining to service delivery over the internet and by email, and the ethics and responsibilities of supervision.
Students will pursue a program of readings and assignments which direct attention to ethical, legal and social issues involved in psychological practice. These issues will cover relevant legislation, APS and other codes of professional conduct for psychologists, registration requirements, and some social ramifications of psychological practice.


On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. 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;
  5. Develop decision making strategies to assist in the maintenance of ethical conduct.


Essay on a contemporary issue in professional practice (40%)
Written exercise examining ethical issues (OCDL) / Class presentation of ethical issues (on-campus) (20%)
Examination (Ethical and Legal issues) (40%)



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