1. Handbook
  2. Subjects
  3. Ethics and Professional Issues

Ethics and Professional Issues (PSYC90008)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 6.25On Campus (Parkville)

You’re viewing the 2019 Handbook:
Or view archived Handbooks


Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codePSYC90008
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject is organised around four major areas:

  • risk assessment and management;
  • theoretical foundations of ethics;
  • ethical problems and the application of ethical principles to practice, and legal and institutional regulations; and
  • codes of practice and guidelines.

The exploration, clarification and possible resolution of selected ethical dilemmas commonly faced by psychologists will be covered and may include:

  • assessing and managing client risk;
  • psychologist/client relationships (for example, confidentiality,
  • boundary violations,
  • assessment of dangerousness,
  • patient and client rights,
  • professional responsibility,
  • special groups (such as children, employer-psychologist ethical differences);
  • psychologist/institutional relationships (such as state regulation of professional practice, legal requirements, certification, mandatory reporting, guardianship, unprofessional conduct);
  • research ethics; and
  • personal ethical development.

Specific emphasis will be placed on awareness of cultural diversity and the role of culture in defining and influencing ethical practice.

Intended learning outcomes


On completion of this subject, students should:

  • Develop an understanding of the ethical codes and guidelines of the Australian Psychological Society and the Psychology Registration Board and the operation of their regulating bodies;
  • Develop an understanding of current ethical theories, including the relationship between ethics, morals, values and legal codes, as they relate to professional practice.


On completion of this subject students should be able to:  

  • Assess client risk (ie suicidality, self-harm, harm to others) and implement appropriate responses;
  • Analyse ethical issues and problems that psychologists are likely to encounter in their professional practice;
  • Explore professional issues related to working with clients or patients, other professionals, employers and employees and institutions and organisations within the context of ethical practice.


Application of Knowledge and Skills

On completion of this subject, students should:

  • Develop a personal conceptual framework for approaching ethical and professional issues.

Generic skills

Advanced information interpretation skills

Advanced analytic, integration and problem solving skills

Advanced written skills

Last updated: 3 April 2019