module specification

PY7175 - Professional and Ethical Issues (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Professional and Ethical Issues
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 200
178 hours Guided independent study
22 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 100%   In-Class Small Group Presentation (20 mins)
Attendance Requirement 0%   Attendance 80%
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

The module aims to develop students’ understanding of key ethical and professional standards, principles, frameworks and policies relevant to their training and practice, and their capacity to apply this in an effective and critically reflective manner to inform their work and decision making. It also aims to develop students’ critical understanding of a number of aspects of contemporary professional practice, such as use of supervision, multi-disciplinary working, record keeping, psychological testing and psychopharmacology.


HPC and BPS standards of conduct, performance and ethics
• Applying ethical principles to reasoning and decision making in practice
• Multidisciplinary team working
• Record keeping, correspondence and report writing
• The use and interpretation of psychological tests
• The role and impact of psychopharmacology and other interventions on psychological work with clients LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The learning and teaching strategy employs a number of methods to support achievement of the module’s learning outcomes. Lectures, supplementary reading and Weblearn resources are used to promote students’ understanding of core concepts, principles and practices. Problem based student centred learning and exercises are used to develop skills in their reflective application to relevant professional contexts and scenarios. In all aspects of the module, teaching and learning seeks to promote a sense of ethical integrity and commitment to high standards of professional practice and client care.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will:
1. Have a critical appreciation of key ethical and professional standards, principles, frameworks, and policies relevant to their training and practice
2. Be able to reflect on and effectively apply ethical and professional principles and evidence to assist reasoning, decision making and action in complex professional situations and contexts
3. Show a critical understanding of the roles of different health care professionals and service structures found in contemporary care settings, and how to work effectively with these as a counselling psychologist
4. Have a nuanced understanding of the use of psychological tests in assessment, outcome and service evaluation, and be able to critically consider their utility and interpretation from a counselling psychology perspective
5. Have a critical understanding of the role and impact of psychopharmacology and other interventions in psychological work with clients and be able to evaluate their role and relevance.

Assessment strategy

i) In-class Small Group presentation
Students will be allocated into small groups by the module leader at the beginning of the module. In these small groups, there will be an assessed task of generating a ‘case composite’ that brings together (anonymously) the ethically-related issues that are clinically relevant. The group must present the case composite to class in 5 minutes, and then use the remaining five minutes to present the ways in which those ethical issues would be addressed and worked with, and the considerations or dilemmas made sense of and managed.  There will then be ten minutes for the class to ask questions to which the small group will be expected to respond. All members of the group will be expected to participate actively in the presentation and Q&A.
Their presentation and answers should seek to demonstrate an ability to effectively apply professional and ethical knowledge, thinking and reasoning in relation to relevant practice situations. (Learning outcomes 1 – 5)

ii) Attendance
Students are expected to attend all timetabled sessions for the module.  Although there may be occasions when circumstances prevent trainees from attending (e.g., illness), a minimum of 80% attendance is required overall to demonstrate adequate engagement with the module.


Bond, T. (2009). Standards and ethics for counselling in action. London: Sage.
British Psychological Society, Code of ethics and conduct,
Health Professions Council, Standards of conduct, performance and ethics,
Health Professions Council, Standards of proficiency for practitioner psychologists,


British Psychological Society, Division of Counselling Psychology Professional Practice Guidelines,
Carrol, M. (2001). Counselling supervision: Theory, skills and practice. London: Sage.
Doctor, R. (2003). Dangerous patients: A psychodynamic approach to risk assessment and management. London: Karnac Books.
Hammersley, D. (1995). Counselling people on prescribed drugs. London: Sage.
Van Scoyoc, S. (2004). Counselling psychology and psychological testing: Professional issues. Counselling Psychology Review, 19(4), 225-239