PUB HLTH 5006 - Ethics in the Counselling Workplace

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2019

This course will introduce students to the key philosophical and theoretical approaches which guide current ethical practice. Areas covered include general ethical theories and approaches that can inform ethical behaviour, relevant legislation plus codes of professional conduct and ethics, as well as specific topics such as consent, confidentiality and privacy, working with vulnerable and/or marginalised populations, and some common issues and dilemmas which may arise in practice. Learning activities will include small-group workshops and role plays, online videos, as well as opportunities for individual reflection.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PUB HLTH 5006
    Course Ethics in the Counselling Workplace
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week plus 1 x 7 hr
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available to MCounsPsych, GDipCounsPsych, GCertCounsPsych students only or with approval of Program Coordinator
    Course Description This course will introduce students to the key philosophical and theoretical approaches which guide current ethical practice. Areas covered include general ethical theories and approaches that can inform ethical behaviour, relevant legislation plus codes of professional conduct and ethics, as well as specific topics such as consent, confidentiality and privacy, working with vulnerable and/or marginalised populations, and some common issues and dilemmas which may arise in practice. Learning activities will include small-group workshops and role plays, online videos, as well as opportunities for individual reflection.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Jaklin Eliott

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Jaklin Eliott
    Phone: +61 8313 3855
    Location: Room 9070, Level 9, AHMS Building, North Tce

    Student & Program Support Services Hub
    Phone: +61 8313 0273

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes


    Identify and apply the ethical theories, codes of ethics, and legislation relevant to counselling and psychotherapy.


    Recognise and critically reflect on a range of ethical issues, and ethical dilemmas in contemporary counselling practice.


    Clearly articulate the ethical basis of their own values and preferences in counselling practice.


    Recognise and respond correctly and contextually to indicators of unethical or harmful behaviour in a professional counselling role.


    Develop and demonstrate their capacity to communicate ethical concepts and justify informed clinical decisions through reference to appropriate ethical theories, models and/or principles.

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1, 2
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Recommended Resources
    The following textbooks are recommended

    Carroll, M. & Shaw, E. (2012). Ethical maturity in the helping professions. Kew, Victoria: PsychOz publications.

    Pope, K. S. & Vasquez, M. T. (2016) Ethics in Psychotherapy and Counselling, A Practical Guide. (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

    Copies of readings (relevant journal articles) will be made available via MyUni. A range of videos and YouTube clips will be recommended for students to study.

    Online Learning
    3.3.1 MyUni
    All students enrolled in a postgraduate coursework program have access to a Postgraduate Coursework Student Centre on MyUni. This course is available on MyUni at
    Please check the website regularly as it may contain announcements that are relevant to your study in the course. If you would like the opportunity to network with other students, you can use the Communication features in the site:
    Discussion Board – Users can post discussion items and reply to other posts. Note: If you would like to have a specific Discussion Board Forum created, please send your request to
    Send Email – This feature enables users to send email to fellow students.
    Group Pages – Groups enable Users to collaborate with each other. Groups usually consist of a smaller group of Users in a course or organisation, such as study groups or project groups. From a Group Page, users may send email, exchange files, enter discussion forums or enter collaboration sessions. Note: Only members of a particular Group can access the Group communication
    features (discussion forums, email, etc.). If you would like to have a specific Group Page created, please send your request to For example, Group Pages can be created to include students living in the same geographical area or students working for the same organisation. Please note that you also have access to individual MyUni sites for EACH course
    you are enrolled in. Please check the sites regularly as they may contain important announcements that are relevant to your study in the course.

    3.3.2 Access Adelaide
    Access Adelaide is the name of the online service that allows you to access
    and, in some cases, amend your records. It can be found at:

    You can log into Access Adelaide to view:
    - your enrolment details for any term
    - your academic results
    - your unofficial academic transcript
    - your personal details
    - the fees, charges and payments on your University account
    - your exam schedule
    - your graduation eligibility details.
    As a student you can:
    - change your address and telephone details (please inform the School as well)
    - change your password
    - set a password clue to help you remember your password.

    3.3.3 Student email
    It is important that you set up your student email and check it regularly. Information from your course coordinator and student administration will be sent to you at your University of Adelaide email address. It is your responsibility to check your email. You will need your student number located on your student card to log in.

    3.3.4 Computers
    Where can I use a computer in the University? Computing facilities are provided to students by the University, and there are
    several suites of computers available, including at the Barr Smith Library and in Hub Central. The University web site has a list of computer labs at:

    3.3.5 Internet access
    The University provides a free dial-up service to students without the need for a commercial ISP account. This service is available at the cost of a local call to students residing within Adelaide (please refer to your telecommunications provider for confirmation of call costs). Students residing outside these numbers can dial into the University at STD call rates ( Postgraduate Coursework students will receive a University Funded Quota of 500Mb.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be an experiential and interactive one, with twelve 3 hour sessions, plus a single 7-hour day intensive offered
    over a semester. The course will additionally require that students engage with materials presented online, undertake readings, and complete online quizzes. Sessions will be constructed as lecture/workshops and will include didactic sessions, small group, and large group discussions as well as personal reflection on ethical materials. Lecturers will use illustrations from their own work, along with structured exercises and group discussion, as a way of supporting participants to engage with the various ethical theories, clarify
    professional legal and ethical responsibilities, and develop an understanding of the ethical foundations of their own practice. The didactic and other face-to-face sessions will be supported by readings and videos, and assessment designed to assist integration of learning and development of skills.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The course comprises 3 hours every week, plus one 7-hour intensive. Sessions will be seminar/workshop format, with a mixture of
    lectures and interactive exercises, and it is compulsory for all students to attend. Essential readings or on-line video material will be set every week, and we expect that all students will have read or viewed these before each session. If students do not do the essential reading/s, they will find it difficult to follow the theory section of the session.

    Face to face lectures and practicals: 3 hours / week plus one 7 hour session
    Core/background readings: 5 hours / week
    Preparation of assignments: 4 hours / week

    Learning Activities Summary
    This course will introduce students to the key philosophical and theoretical approaches which guide current ethical practice.
    Areas covered include
    - general ethical theories and approaches that can inform ethical behaviour,
    - relevant codes of professional conduct and ethics, plus legislation
    - consent, confidentiality and privacy
    - comon ethical issues and dilemmas which may arise in practice.
    - ethical practice in working with vulnerable/marginalised populations
    The majority of sessions will include the application of theoretical perspectives in practice. Classwork will be supported by reading and reflection, including engagement with online materials and an online quiz. Written assignments will assist in the integration of theoretical and experiential perspectives, with specific focus on increasing critical appraisal of one's own ethical stance and
    decision-making, and the foundation for these.



    Ethical Practice

    Introduction to ethics and ethical thinking

    Professional codes and relevant legislation

    Mental Health Act and codes of ethics / Consent, confidentiality, and privacy

    Competent practice

    The counsellor-client relationship

    Competent practice

    Changing others / Working with GLBTQ clients

    Competent practice

    Working with Indigenous clients

    Competent practice

    Working with Culturally and linguistically diverse clients /immigrants

    Competent practice

    Risk of harm to self and others

    Ethical practice

    Working with elderly clients

    Ethical practice

    Religion and spirituality / Knowing your limits

    Ethical practice

    Ethical issues at the end of life

    Ethical practice

    Organisations and you: supervision / Self care

    Ethical problem solving

    Problem solving with ethical dilemmas

    Child-safe environments

    Child-Safe Environment Training DCSI clearances

    Specific Course Requirements
    Small Group Discovery Experience
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Assessment Task

    Assessment Type


    Learning Outcome(s) being addressed

    Class participation



    1-3, 5

    Online Quiz: Codes and legislation



    1, 4

    Essay: Knowing Yourself: Preferences and Values



    3, 5

    Essay: Written ethical analysis




    Assessment Related Requirements
    This course is based on experiential learning, specifically in engagement with others, and this is reflected in the assessment of class participation. If special circumstances arise which prevent you from attending any sessions, you should discuss these with the Course Coordinator. You may also be asked to write a summary of the missed unit content to demonstrate your familiarity with the presented material.

    Assessment instructions and marking rubric/criteria will be made available online through MyUni.
    Assessment Detail
    Class Participation: students are expected participate in class according to established group norms
    Online quiz: students are required to complete a short multiple choice online quiz assessing knowledge of legal and professional requirements pertaining to counselling practice.

    Essay Knowing Yourself: Preferences and Values 1: Students are required to complete a short quiz, and, in an essay (2500-3000 words), reflect on their own beliefs, preferences, and abilities with reference to therapeutic engagementwith a general and/or specific population, demonstrating awareness of relevant ethical, legal, personal, practical, and professional constructs.

    Essay: Written Ethical Analysis: Students will submit an essay (2500-3000 words) in which they will analyse a case-study of an ethical dilemma, using astructured analytical framework to arrive at, defend, and outline how they would implement a chosen course of action that comprises an ethically informed decision.

    Submission of Assignments
    Assignments should be submitted through the “Assignments” section of MyUni. Instructions on how to submit an assignment in this way can be found at: Assignments must be submitted by 11.59 pm on the day that they are due. (note that MyUni will accept your assignment after this time but it will be marked Late.

    All extensions for assignments must be requested, at the latest, by the last working day before the due date of submission. Extensions will generally be granted only on medical or genuine compassionate grounds. Supporting documentation must be  provided at the time a student requests an extension. Without documentation, extensions will not be granted. Late requests for extension will neither be accepted nor acknowledged.

    Only the Course Co-ordinator(s) may grant extensions.

    Supporting documentation will be required when requesting an extension. Examples of documents that are acceptable include: a  medical certificate that specifies dates of incapacity, a police report (in the case of lost computers, car & household theft etc.), a letter from a Student Counsellor, Education and Welfare Officer (EWO) or Disability Liaison Officer that provides an assessment of  compassionate circumstances, or a letter from an independent external counsellor or appropriate professional able to verify the  student’s situation. The length of any extension granted will take into account the period and severity of any incapacity or impact on the student. Extensions of more than 10 days will not be granted except in exceptional circumstances.

    Late submission
    Marks will be deducted when assignments for which no extension has been granted are handed in late.

    All assignments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits. In the case of late assignments where no  extension has been granted, 5 percentage points of the total marks possible per day will be deducted. If an assignment that is 2  days late is awarded 65% on its merits, the mark will then be reduced by 10% (5% per day for 2 days) to 55%. If that same  assignment is 4 days late, the mark will be reduced by 20% (5% per day for 4 days) to 45%, and so on.  

    The School of Public Health reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late.

    Assignments submitted after the due date may not be graded in time to be returned on the listed return dates.
    Students submitting examinable written work who request (and receive) an extension that takes them beyond the examination period are advised that there is no guarantee that their grades will be processed in time to meet usual University deadlines.

    If a student is dissatisfied with an assessment grade they should follow the Student Grievance Resolution Process Students who are not satisfied with a particular assessment result
    should raise their concerns with Course Co-ordinator(s) in the first instance. This must be done within 10 business days of the date of notification of the result. Resubmission of any assignment is subject to the agreement of the Course Co-ordinator(s) and will only be permitted for the most compelling of reasons.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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