Ethics and Professional Practice (PSYC6069)


This course will introduce students to the highest standards of ethical and clinical practice in clinical psychology. The course will strengthen theory-practice links by exposing students to a range of mental health presentations and ethical and professional practice issues that present in the Psychology Clinic. Students will also attend weekly case and research seminars with cases and research presented by students in senior years.
A. Ethics and Professional Practice - This component will familiarise students with relevant codes of conduct, ethical issues, and legislation pertaining to contemporary practice in clinical psychology. These wide ranging seminars will cover Psychology Board of Australia, Guardianship Tribunal and College of Clinical Psychologists of the Australian Psychological Society.
B. Clinical Observation - This component is designed to introduce students to the work of clinical psychology strengthening theory-practice links, by exposing students to a range of mental health presentations seen in the Psychology Clinic. Specific issues relevant to ethical and professional clinical practice will also be covered, including writing case notes, and dealing with difficult issues in both the therapeutic and supervisory relationship. This work may be supplemented by viewing of the clinical work of experts in the field of Clinical Psychology. Students will be required to submit a weekly clinical log with the de-identified details of patients, their presenting problem and their treatment, as observed. The course coordinator must sign logs prior to their submission.
C. Case and Research Seminars - Attendance at the case seminars introduces students to history taking, conducting a mental status examination, formulation, diagnosis and treatment. These clinical case conferences will allow students to recognise a wide range of psychiatric diagnoses, the interrelationships between medical illness and psychiatric/psychological symptomatology as well as working within a multidisciplinary framework. Students are required to attend the research seminars and are expected to attend the School Colloquium. During this semester, students will commence the process of exploring potential research areas and negotiating supervision arrangements with academic staff. The Postgraduate Coordinator (Clinical Research), using information collected from the Research Preferences form, suggest up to three academics with interests in the nominated areas. In addition, an afternoon slot will be scheduled when the Postgraduate Coordinator (Clinical Research) will be available to discuss research interests, if students wish to do so. It is expected that students spend one day per week across their first year on their research project. At the end of the first semester, it is expected that students will have agreed on a research supervisor and topic area and completed the research contract to be submitted with the preliminary research proposal form. As outlined in the Research section of the DCP/MSc Course Handbook.

Further unit of study information


4-hour seminars for 10 weeks; 2-hour clinical observations for 5 weeks; 2-hour weekly seminars


Child protection assessment; ethics clinical viva; weekly clinical log; attendance at weekly case and research seminars; research preferences form; preliminary research proposal (100%). Students must demonstrate satisfactory performance on all assessments to satisfy requirements for this unit of study.

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.