Professional Ethics : Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 632

Professional Ethics (Revision 3)


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Delivery Mode: Paced study; online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Graduate Studies

Prerequisite: GCAP 631, GCAP 633 or by permission.

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

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GCAP 632 Professional Ethics addresses personal and professional ethical issues in counselling. The perspectives of different ethical theories will be used to highlight commonalities and differences. Students will reflect critically on both personal and collective worldviews/values and will explore the impact of those perspectives on counselling processes and contexts. Basic ethical issues in counsellor-client relationships will be addressed, as well as supervision, technology, social justice, and relational ethics. The role of regulatory and collegial professional associations in enhancing the quality of counselling services and protecting the public from unethical and incompetent practices will be presented. The content of the course will integrate knowledge, practical skills, and student self-awareness.


  • Lesson 1: Introduction to Professional Ethics
  • Lesson 2: Law and the Legal System
  • Lesson 3: Professional Regulation
  • Lesson 4: Culture and Social Justice
  • Lesson 5: Ethical Decision-Making
  • Lesson 6: Informed Consent
  • Lesson 7: Confidentiality
  • Lesson 8: Ethical Issues When Counselling Families and Couples
  • Lesson 9: Professional Boundaries
  • Lesson 10: Competence and Self-Care
  • Lesson 11: Legal and Ethical Issues in Counsellor Supervision
  • Lesson 12: The Ethical Use of Technology
  • Lesson 13: Relational Ethics

Course Evaluation

To receive credit for GCAP 632, students must submit all of the course assignments. The passing grade for the course is B- (70%). The weighting of assignments is as follows.

Course Activity Weight
Participation in Online Discussions 20%
Assignment 1: Ethics Autobiography 15%
Assignment 2: Personal Edublog 15%
Assignment 3: Integrative Essay (Part I, II, and III) 25%
Assignment 4: Website Update 5%
Assignment 5: Ethics Exam 20%
Total 100%

Course Materials


Truscott, D. & Crook, K. H. (2013). Ethics for the practice of psychology in Canada: revised and expanded version. Edmonton, Canada.

Other Materials

All other materials are available to students online.

Other Information

Students with a disability, who require academic accommodation, need to register with the Access to Students with Disabilities Centre at Athabasca University. Notification of the need for academic accommodation must normally be provided to the program office no later than fourteen (14) days prior to the first day of class. It is the student's responsibility to register with the Disability Centre to request academic accommodation if required and to notify the instructor that such accommodation has been requested. Every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate individual student needs. However, because GCAP courses are paced, all student are required to participate weekly in the online discussion forums. There are also several courses where online exams are required.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, January 2019.

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