EDF5532 - Ethics for counsellors - 2019

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Chief examiner(s)

Zoe Morris


Zoe Morris (Clayton)
Michael Di Mattia (Term 4)

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (Flexible)
  • Second semester 2019 (Flexible)

Hong Kong



Must be enrolled in course owned by Faculty of Education.


This unit develops advanced understanding of the ethical, legal, and regulatory dimensions of professional counselling practice. Students examine the ethical foundations of the profession and gain an awareness of the critical issues and dilemmas faced by counsellors. Students learn how to resolve ethical dilemmas which are not addressed by professional codes of conduct. Themes addressed include implementing ethical principles and codes of practice, legal responsibilities, personal, social, and professional values, diversity, sensitive issues and practice, duty of care, confidentiality and privacy, referrals, dual relationships and managing boundaries, and professional relationships. Students will also consider the ethical issues of working in various contexts such as online counselling, schools, private practice, and community agencies.


Upon successful completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. describe and apply the professional, ethical, social, and legal obligations of counsellors
  2. describe and apply the ethical requirements of the societies and professional organisations in the locations in which they plan to practice
  3. describe the functions and processes of professional and legal bodies in dealing with ethical matters
  4. utilise a formal structure to demonstrate ethical decision making and argue a defensible, well informed ethical position on ethical dilemmas arising in counselling
  5. reflect upon one's own professional competencies and limits of proficiency in a range of situations.


Essay on ethical issues (4000 words, 50%)

Ethical practice case vignette (4000 words, 50%)

Workload requirements

Flexible mode offers a stand-alone online offering that allows students to learn and engage in content and assessment in a supported way. It also provides a face-to-face component over the semester to engage students with the online learning content, which students can attend if they are able and interested.

Minimum total expected workload equals 288 hours per semester comprising:

  1. Contact hours for flexible students:
    • 20 hours on campus classes, 12 hours online classes and 4 hours directed online learning over the semester, or
    • 24 hours directed online learning and 12 hours online classes over the semester
  2. Requirements for offshore Kaplan-based students:
    • one intensive block (usually from Thursday to Sunday)
    • at least 14 hours of online study per term
  3. Additional requirements (all students):
    • independent study to make up the minimum required hours per semester

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study