Professional Ethics

Unit code: APC6087 | Study level: Postgraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
Footscray Park


This unit will examine contemporary professional ethical and legal issues pertaining to clinical and community psychology training and practice. The emphasis will be on learning to conduct oneself professionally and ethically, developing ethical sensitivity and learning to resolve ethical dilemmas. Professional practice issues relevant to a broad range of psychological interventions, the current APS Code of Professional Conduct, current National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce, and examples of ethical dilemmas will be presented. Cultural values and expectations in the area of mental health care will be explored, particularly as these apply to multicultural, migrant and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Given that reflective practice is essential to professionalism and ethical conduct, a significant learning focus will be on self-reflection (on one’s attitudes, motivations, values, feelings and experiences) and reflection on one’s interactions with others, including inter-professional contexts of client care.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Critically reflect on one’s own experiences, motives and values and how these may impact on one’s moral assumptions and ethical reasoning in professional practice;
  2. Analyse and apply professional ethical knowledge and the law governing the practice of psychology in Australia and the operation of the Psychology Board of Australia and of the APS Code of Ethics and Current Guidelines;
  3. Articulate the effects of cultural differences (including ethnic, gender, language and sexual orientation) on psychological work, particularly in cross- and multi-cultural practice; and
  4. Appraise inter-professional practice principles and opportunities and challenges posed by inter-professional collaboration.


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Report
Grade: 20%
Analysis of an interprofessional practice case scenario (1000 words)
Assessment type: Portfolio
Grade: 40%
Ethical autobiography and self-reflection exercise (Indicative word length: 2500 words)
Assessment type: Test
Grade: 40%
Ethical code knowledge test (Duration 60 minutes)

Required reading

Students will be provided with an up to date resources list via VU Collaborate.

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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