Ethics in Counselling

Ethics in Counselling

This course is an introduction to the ethical standards for the profession and the research relevant to ethical behavior of counselors and counseling psychologists in mental health, career, and school settings. Students will study important legal developments related to confidentiality, testing, research and supervision and also apply ethical and legal standards to complex cases. Emerging ethical issues and models of ethical decision making will be further examined.


Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course, students should achieve the following Learning Outcomes
1. To develop a thorough understanding of the ethical standards of ACA, ASCA, and APA and their implications for programming and service delivery.
2. To become familiar with major legal rulings that affect the work of counselors and counseling psychologists and to see the interplay between ethics and the law.
3. To understand the broader ethical principles underlying ethics codes so that students can make responsible ethical decisions about “cutting edge” or complex ethical issues.
4. To become familiar with research findings on ethical behavior of counselors, counseling psychologists, and other mental health professionals.
5. To understand the relationship between personal values, emotional stability and ethical actions as professionals.
6. To become aware of emerging ethical issues and the responsible use of technology in counseling and psychotherapy.
7. To understand how racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, and other forms of stereotyping are ethical issues.


Course Outline

  • Introduction to Professional Ethics: A Psychology and Philosophy for Professional Practice
  • A Model for Ethical Practice: Using Resources to Enhance Individual Judgment
  • Ethical Counseling in a Multicultural Society: The Promise of Justice
  • Competence to Practice: Building a Foundation for Doing Good and Avoiding Harm
  • Confidentiality: Supporting the Client’s Right to Privacy
  • Informed Consent: Affirming the Client’s Freedom of Choice
  • Sexualized Relationships With Clients, Students, Supervisees, and Research Participants: Violations of Power and Trust
  • Multiple Relationships and Boundary Issues: Risking Objectivity and Client Welfare
  • Group and Family Interventions: Unique Ethical Responsibilities
  • The Ethics of Assessment: Using Fair Procedures in Responsible Ways
  • Maximizing the Opportunity to Prevent Misconduct and Minimizing the Damage When Prevention Fails
  • Ethics in Community, College, Addiction, and Forensic Settings: Avoiding Conflicts of Interest
  • The Counselor in the School: Applying Professional Standards to the Educational Culture
  • The Ethics of Supervision and Consultation: Modeling Responsible Behavior
  • Counselors  and Therapists as Teachers and Researchers: Integrity, Science and Care
  • The Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC) Code of Ethics


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