COUN5171 Ethical Decision-making

Graduate Diploma Level Unit

Duration: One trimester

Level: 1st year

Credit points: 8 (out of a total of 96 points)

Prerequisites: None

Mode(s) of delivery: On Campus and Blended Delivery

Core/elective: Core

Unit description

In this unit students learn to identify and apply ethical practice skills and comply with legal responsibilities inherent in providing counselling services to clients.  The unit draws on students’ self-awareness of their  ethical values, beliefs and behaviour to consider how these influence counselling practice.   Students will develop appropriate ethical interventions on matters of safety for clients and others, such as  self-harm, suicidality, family violence, discrimination and victimization; and engage with sociological theories of power,  culture, gender, age and disability, to  critically evaluate how these impact upon professional practice.

Students will conduct a practice session in which they apply skills in ethical decision making and ethical practice, and will research a real world ethical breach in counselling and psychotherapy, analyse the social, ethical, professional and legal issues demonstrated in this breach and recommend appropriate interventions based on professional codes of ethics and relevant policy and legislation.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the unit students will be able to:

a)       describe, identify and apply ethical practice skills and comply with legal responsibilities inherent in providing counselling services to clients

b)       identify safety issues for clients and others e.g. self-harm, suicide, domestic violence, discrimination and victimization;  and develop appropriate ethical interventions

c)       identify and analyse ethical, legal and sociological issues, including power,  culture, gender, age and disability

d)       develop self-awareness of their  ethical values, beliefs and behaviour, and the influence of these on counselling practice

e)       analyse ethical and legal principles and values in relation to a real world ethical breach

f)        analyse how power and influence impact upon professional relationships

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 12 hours per week.

Assignment summary

Please refer to the document available here


The required text book for this unit  can be found by viewing the School of Counselling textbook list by selecting the course and trimester at the following link:

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. This includes plagiarism of any nature. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism in order to ensure that you do not engage in it. Please refer to for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


Unit information may be subject to change prior to the teaching trimester commencing.  Once term has commenced please review the Unit Outline in your class space to ensure your trimester study plan is correct.