PSYC5062 Psychology Practice 1: Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues

Masters Course Unit

PSYC5062 Psychological Practice 1: Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues

Duration: Trimester One

Level: 5th year

Credit points: 3

Prerequisites: PSYC5012 Counselling, Communication and Culture

Mode(s) of delivery: On-campus

Core/elective: Core

Unit co-ordinator: Associate Professor Lynne Harris, Level 6, 11 York Street, Sydney

Email: lynne.harris@acap.edu.au

Consultation times: Tuesday: 12:30-1:30pm; Thursday: 12:30-1:30pm, other times by appointment.

Teaching staff: Associate Professor Ronnie Zuessman; Associate Professor Lynne Harris; Dr Ester Senderey-German


Introduction

This unit is one of the core coursework units for students in the Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology and the Master of Psychology (Clinical). This unit situates the identity of the professional psychologist within the ethical, legal and professional framework in which psychologists practice and introduces students to working with clients.

Unit description

This unit introduces students to fundamental areas of professional psychology practice. Students will be introduced to the identity of a professional psychologist and become familiar with the ethical, legal and professional codes and frameworks within which psychologists practice. The unit will focus on preparing students for safe practice, and will consider professional issues associated with: risk, working with individuals, couples and families, cultural groups, organisations, and the community; specific practice settings; individual and team-based service models; professional communication; and implications of private practice and business issues. Students will develop an understanding of the responsibilities that they and their supervisor have within the supervisee-supervisor relationship. The unit has a significant skills training component, where students are participant-observers in supervision sessions of other students and/or registered psychologists. The unit includes 100 hours of logged supervised practica.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • demonstrate understanding of ethical, legal, and professional codes and frameworks within which psychologists practice
  • demonstrate understanding of professional issues associated with working with individuals, couples and families, cultural groups, organisations, and the community
  • demonstrate understanding of professional issues associated with specific practice settings and with individual and team-based service models
  • demonstrate behaviour consistent with the ethical, legal and professional requirements of supervised practice
  • demonstrate skills for safe professional practice consistent with ensuring the welfare of clients
  • demonstrate skills in critical reflective practice
  • demonstrate skills in conducting intake interviews
  • demonstrate skills in managing client contact (oral and written)
  • demonstrate skills in psychological assessment and report writing appropriate to stage of development
  • demonstrate skills in psychological formulation appropriate to stage of development
  • demonstrate skills in conceptualising and planning psychological interventions appropriate to stage of development
  • demonstrate skills in psychological interventions appropriate to stage of development

Learning and teaching process

This unit requires students to:

  • attend and participate in two 1.5 hour classes scheduled weekly from Week 1 to Week 10 of trimester. The classes comprise a 1.5 hour lecture (Tuesday 5:00-6:30pm) and a 1.5 hour seminar (Thursday 5:00-6:30pm) in which a range of student-focused, active, learning activities will be incorporated. Students will be expected to prepare for each class by completing readings and other activities identified in the eLearning site. Students are expected to actively participate in class activities.
  • undertake a minimum of 100 hours of practica and clinical supervision across the trimester.
    • 20 hours of supervision (10 hours individual, 10 hours group)
    • a minimum of 40 hours of direct client contact (contact during assessment or therapy, whether individually or in a group; contact with teachers, parents, or significant others that forms part of the assessment or therapy process; observing a more experienced clinician or supervisor engaged in assessment or therapy, whether sitting in on the session or observing through a one-way screen or on a monitor as the session takes place).
    • a minimum of 40 hours of client-related activities (scoring and interpreting tests, writing reports, client-related phone calls, organising appointments).
    • maintain a log of all practica activities and clinical supervision
  • video record a minimum of six psychological consultations
  • engage in peer review (including playback of video recordings) or psychological consultations
  • fulfil rostered responsibilities for clinic intake
  • attend a three hour workshop on the WISC-IV (to be scheduled)

Graduate attributes

The material covered in this unit will contribute to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  1. Knowledge and understanding of core topics in psychology. These topics include abnormal psychology, biological bases of behaviour, cognition, information processing and language, learning, lifespan developmental psychology, perception, social psychology and intercultural diversity and indigenous psychology.
  2. Research methods in psychology. This attribute covers an understanding of the characteristics of the science of psychology and the different and varied research methods used by psychologists. It also includes the acquisition of practical skills in laboratory-based research and other methods, the design of studies to address psychological questions, critical analysis, the formulation of testable hypotheses, the choice of an appropriate methodology, the question of reliability and validity and their meanings and operations, the analysis of data, and the writing of reports.
  3. Critical thinking skills. The attribute includes the application of scientific method to the study of mental and behavioural problems, the examination of other modes of understanding the world and the development of other world views, and recognition of the fallacies and the biases that can affect human thinking and analysis.
  4. Values, research and professional ethics. This attribute includes the evaluation of the behaviour of psychologists in psychological research and other professional contexts and is in the context of the Australian Psychological Society “Code of Ethics” and the Australian “National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce”. Values and professional ethics must also be understood and evaluated in the context of social ethical principles and ethical conduct in legal, medical and institutional behaviour.
  5. Communication skills. Students need to learn how to communicate effectively orally in various settings (group discussion, presentations, both formal and informal) for various purposes. Written communication, in the form of written reports, should be according to professionally accepted formats. In psychology we follow the American Psychological Association structure and formatting conventions.
  6. Learning and the application of psychology. This attribute includes the application of knowledge of legislative frameworks and the application of knowledge about laws and conventions in work settings, consumer and carer participation and in the general matter of the conduct of application of psychology. It also considers how there may be variation of legislation across different areas of application. 
    Students also need to be cognisant of the need to sustain independent learning for professional and personal development over their life, in the changing social and cultural practices in society and in the practice and development of the scientific basis of psychology.

Study schedule

The schedule below presents the scheduled classes for PSYC5062. Students will also undertake*:

  1. Group supervision (1 hour/week; schedule to be provided) 
  2. Individual supervision (1 hour/week; schedule to be provided) 
  3. Direct and indirect client contact (at least 80 hours across the trimester) 
  4. WISC-IV workshop (3 hour; to be scheduled on a Friday to be announced)

*all students present a case either in Trimester 2 (PSYC5062) or Trimester 3 (PSYC5082).

Week

Tues 5-6:30

Thurs 5-6:30

1

Professional psychologist identity; APS Code of
Ethics; Psychology Board of Australia; legislation
applying to professional psychology practice

Conducting the initial interview

2

Assessment of risk; safety agreements. Recordkeeping
and professional communication with clients and other 
professionals/organisations (oral and written): ethical, legal
and professional issues

Clinic protocols and procedures: Assessment
of risk; safety agreements. Recordkeeping and
professional communication with clients and other
professionals/organisations (oral and written): ethical,
legal and professional issues

3

Supervision and clinical practice: roles, requirements and
responsibilities

The supervision process, contracts and professional practice
log book

4

Working with individuals, couples and families, and groups: ethical, legal and professional issues

Clinic operation (30 minutes) Case presentation and discussion (2 x 30 minutes)

5

Supervision and clinical practice: ethical, legal and professional issues

Clinic operation (30 minutes) Case presentation and 
discussion (2 x 30 minutes)

6

Provision of services across cultural boundaries: ethical, legal and professional issues

Clinic operation (30 minutes) Case presentations and discussions (2 x 30 minutes)

 

Mid-trimester study week

7

Peer consultation/review: ethical, legal and professional issues

Clinic operation (30 minutes) Case presentations and discussions (2 x 30 minutes)

8

Organisational context: working in teams; psychologists in private practice settings

Clinic operation (30 minutes) Case presentations and discussions (2 x 30 minutes)

9

Working with organisations and communities: ethical, legal and professional issues

Clinic operation (30 minutes) Case presentations and discussions (2 x 30 minutes)

10

Revisiting identity, the APS Code of Ethics and Ethical Guidelines

Clinic operation (30 minutes) Case presentations and discussions (2 x 30 minutes)
1000 word case study due Sunday midnight

11

End-trimester study week

12

Exam week

Assessment summary

Failure to complete the requirements of any one assessment component satisfactorily will result in a fail for the unit and may result in exclusion from the course.

Type

Weighting

Word Count

Submission Week

Case study

Professional, ethical and legal issues associated with
a case.

Learning outcomes: a, d, c, f, j, k, l

30%

1000

10

Examination

1 hour - Short answer exam assessing student responses
to case studies and ethical dilemmas

Learning outcomes: a, b, c

70%

1 hour

12

Log book of professional practice*

Learning outcomes: a - l

0%

 

 

12

 

Supervisor's report. Mid-placement and end-placement
review*

Learning outcomes: a, b, c

0%

 

 

12

 

*This assessment marked as ungraded pass or ungraded fail and does not contribute to the graded component of the assessment which is based on the response to a class study and the one hour exam.

Learning outcomes and core capabilities/attributes

The course is designed to develop eight core professional capabilities:

  1. understanding the discipline of psychology
  2. ethical, legal and professional aspects of psychology practice
  3. psychological assessment and measurement
  4. psychological intervention strategies
  5. research and evaluation for psychology practice
  6. communication and interpersonal skills for psychology practice
  7. psychology practice in cross-cultural context
  8. psychology practice across the lifespan

The matrix below shows the map of learning outcomes for this unit to core attributes.

Learning outcome

Core capability/Attribute

a. demonstrate understanding of ethical, legal,
and professional codes and frameworks within
which psychologists practice

  • ethical, legal and professional aspects of psychology practice

b. demonstrate understanding of professional issues associated
with working with individuals, couples and families, cultural
groups, organisations, and the community

  • ethical, legal and professional aspects of psychology practice
  • psychology practice in a cross-cultural context
  • psychology practice across the lifespan

c. demonstrate understanding of professional issues associated
with specific practice settings and with individual and team-based service models

  • psychological interventions strategies

d. demonstrate behaviour consistent with the ethical, legal and
professional requirements of supervised practice

  • ethical, legal and professional aspects of psychology practice
  • psychology practice in a cross-cultural context
  • psychology practice across the lifespan

e. demonstrate skills for safe professional practice consistent with
ensuring the welfare of clients

  • ethical, legal and professional aspects of psychology practice
  • psychology practice in a cross-cultural context
  • psychology practice across the lifespan

f. demonstrate skills in critical reflective practice

  • ethical, legal and professional aspects of psychology practice
  • psychology practice in a cross-cultural context
  • psychology practice across the lifespan

g. demonstrate skills in conducting intake interviews

  1. psychological assessment and measurement
  2. communication and interpersonal skills for psychology practice

h. demonstrate skills in managing client contact (oral and written)

  • ethical, legal and professional aspects of psychology practice
  • communication and interpersonal skills for psychology practice

i. demonstrate skills in psychological assessment and report writing appropriate to stage of development

  • psychological assessment and measurement
  • communication and interpersonal skills for psychology practice

j. demonstrate skills in psychological formulation appropriate to stage of development

  1. psychological assessment and measurement
  2. psychological intervention strategies

k. demonstrate skills in conceptualising and planning psychological interventions appropriate to stage development

  • psychological assessment and measurement
  • psychological intervention strategies

l. demonstrate skills in providing psychological interventions appropriate to stage of development

  • psychological intervention strategies

Special provisions

Attendance at scheduled classes is required. Students are expected to prepare for, and contribute to each scheduled class.

Recommended text

Allen, A., & Love, A. (2010). Ethical practice in psychology: Reflections from the creators of the APS Code of Ethics. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. [includes APS Code of Ethics [2007] as an appendix]

Corey, G., Corey, M., & Callanan, P. (2011). Issues and ethics in the helping professions (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson/Brooks-Cole.

Falendar, C., & Shafranske, E. (2012). Getting the most out of clinical training and supervision: A guide for practicum students and interns. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

APS Ethical Guidelines

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 http://currentstudents.acap.edu.au/assets/Managing-My-Course/A-Z-Policies/Academic-Misconduct-Policy.pdf for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.

Disclaimer

This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it throughout the trimester. Your lecturer will advise when there are updates on the site and also when readings are available for class discussion.