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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Health in Social Science : Counselling Studies

Postgraduate Course: Ethics in Counselling Practice (CNST11081)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Health in Social Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is designed to introduce students to key ethical issues, themes and dilemmas for counselling and psychotherapy practice. Students will learn and evaluate the philosophical bases for ethical practice and the underlying principles that inform core ethical codes and frameworks. Codes of ethics will be discussed in relation to practice issues, and understandings and theories of boundaries will be explored. Students will examine these topics by drawing on their own professional and personal experience, considering and debating hypothetical ethical dilemmas, examining the impact of their personal values and accessing recent research literature.
Course description This course aims to instill ethical awareness and promote ethical competence in postgraduate students prior to their placement work with clients.

Students undertaking the full-time Master of Counselling (Interpersonal Dialogue) and Professional Doctorate in Psychotherapy and Counselling are expected to start therapeutic work with clients at an early stage in the programme. It is therefore necessary and professionally appropriate that they undertake a course focused on ethical practice prior to beginning their work with clients. While there is an existing course called Ethics, Boundaries and Supervision, it was designed to meet the needs of part-time Postgraduate Certificate students who are not in therapeutic practice but who may be working in a variety of helping roles (e.g. teaching, nursing, voluntary work), and is therefore pitched at a more general level. Consequently there is a need for a more specific, practice-oriented course geared toward the needs of full-time students about to enter their first therapeutic relationships under supervision.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 8, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 8, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 8, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) The course involves lectures, seminars, practical group work and counselling practice sessions.
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100%
Summative assessment will consist of one assessed group project on ethical issues and ethical dilemmas (30%) plus
3,000 word essay presenting a critical discussion of ethical issues in relation to a real-life ethical dilemma (70%)
Feedback Formative feedback will be offered on an ongoing basis from peers and tutors in practice sessions.

Summative feedback will be given on the course paper via Learn.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. - Critically engage with the underlying philosophical bases and principles of ethical decision-making.
  2. - Analyse ethical issues and formulate appropriate courses of action in relation to professional codes for good practice, statutory legal requirements and organisational contexts.
  3. - Reflect critically upon their personal values and beliefs in relation to ethical, competent practice.
  4. - Critically engage with issues to do with the use of counselling supervision in ensuring and developing ethical and competent practice.
Reading List
Indicative Reading
B.A.C.P. (2002). Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy (pp. 16): British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

C.O.S.C.A. (2007). Statement of Ethics and Code of Practice (pp. 15): Confederation of Scottish Counselling Agencies.

Evans, M. (2003). Christian counsellors' views on working with gay and lesbian clients: integrating religious beliefs with counselling ethics. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 3(1), 55-60.

Feltham, C. (2007) "Ethical Agonising" from Therapy Today 18 (7) pp.4-6, Rugby, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Kotzé, E. (2013). Mo (ve) ments in the academic supervision relationship: Ethics in practice. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, (ahead-of-print), 1-7.

McLeod, J. (2013) An introduction to counselling (5th Edition). Maidenhead: Open University.

Proctor, G. (2014) Values and ethics in counselling and psychotherapy. London: Sage
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students completing this course will have enhanced their:
- capacity to analyse complex situations and relationships.
- decision making skills especially in contexts of competing imperatives and priorities.
- awareness of their personal beliefs and values in relation to professional ethical conduct.
- ability to respond with autonomy and accountability in challenging situations.
- capacity to make assessments in relation to complex situations.
- communication skills, especially in relation to emotional matters.
- self awareness and capacity to assess their skills and knowledge.
- ability to give and receive feedback.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMs Sharan Collins
Course secretaryMiss Sue Larsen
Tel: (0131 6)51 6671
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