This unit of study will examine the ethical factors relevant to counselling. The unit will 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

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Analyse and formulate ethical responses to dilemmas which may arise in counselling practice;  
  2. Plan and implement ethical decision-making in counselling; and  
  3. Investigate a range of ethical codes of conduct and apply ethical principles relevant to the Australia Counselling Association (ACA) and/or Psychotherapy And Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) professional Codes of Ethics.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Test on codes of conduct and ethics applications relevant to a counselling context (60min) 20%
Report Ethical self-reflection – identify and discuss one potential challenge and barrier to being an ethical counsellor. (1500 words) 45%
Presentation In-class group presentation & student-facilitated discussion on ethical dilemma to a counselling scenario drawing on theory relevant codes of ethics 35%

Required reading

Issues & ethics in the helping professions. 10th ed
Corey, G., Corey, M. S., & Corey, C. (2019).
South Melbourne, Victoria: Cengage Learning. ISBN: 9781337406291

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.