This unit (APT5070) of study will examine the social and ethical factors relevant to counselling. Factors to be considered include gender, ethnicity, class, occupation, and age. Implications of social context for counselling practice such as the assumptions that client and counsellor bring to counselling as a function of their social background, power relationships in the counsellor-client dyad, blaming the victim versus empowerment will also be addressed. The unit will also address ethical issues in counselling, ethical principles and ethical dilemmas: the philosophical basis of ethical principles; client rights and responsibilities, counsellor rights and responsibilities and referrals from an ethical perspective.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Appraise the ethical principles relevant to the client-counsellor relationship.  
  2. Critically review the impact of social context factors on the counselling process and counsellor decision-making and ethical stance.  
  3. Formulate and justify response to ethical dilemmas appropriately which may arise in counselling practise.  
  4. Plan and implement ethical decision-making in the assessment counselling work.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Presentation Class presentation on an ethical dilemma (15mins) 20%
Essay Ethical self-reflection - challenges and barriers to being an ethical counsellor (2000 words) 30%
Test Multiple-choice ethical knowledge test - 90mins duration 50%

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