Education | Professional Seminar in Counseling Psychology
G600 | 6211 | Dr. Chalmer Thompson
The pro-seminar is a two-semester course required of all entering
doctoral students. In this spring semester, the course provides an
examination of legal, moral, and ethical issues related to the
practice of counseling psychologists. As counseling psychologists
are trained to fulfill various roles --- as educators,
psychotherapists, test administrators, consultants, and researchers --
- adherence to legal codes and ethical guidelines becomes crucial to
professional development and to the consumersí view of us as
influential change agents. We will devote this semester to an
intensive study of ethical issues, morality, legal issues, and to
In the spirit of creating a climate of collegiality and
collaboration, this course will also continue to address programmatic
issues here in our program at IU and to encourage student input to
changes within the program.
To learn the Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct and apply this
content to hypothetical and actual case studies.
To learn about and practice moral and ethical decision-making
To learn about legal issues related to the practice of psychology
To continue to learn about program requirements and contribute to
ongoing changes in the doctoral program, particularly as these have
an impact of ethically sound professional practices
Doherty, W. J. (1995). Soul searching: Why psychotherapy must
promote moral responsibility. New York: Basic.
Koocher, G. P. & Keith-Spiegel, P. (1998). Ethics in psychology:
Professional standards and cases, 2nd edition. New York: Oxford.
Students are expected to complete reading assignments each week and
to bring in any comments or questions about these readings during
class. This request to bring in comments or questions is not a
requirement of the course, but, in my estimation, can help guide us
through some rather dense reading material.
In addition to covering valuable information on ethics and legal
issues in counseling psychology specifically and psychology in
general, we also will engage in a great deal of interactive exercises
to focus on moral and ethical decision-making. I plan to prepare
case scenarios fairly regularly during the semester based on actual
situations, and that reflect some of the real complexities inherent
in making decisions on what to do. Moreover, I encourage students to
examine not only the ethics related to decision-making, but the moral
implications as well. I believe this gets left out this type of
instruction too often, leaving students and future professionals
somewhat in the dark when it comes to certain cases. I think the
readings are quite good for this course, but I also encourage you to
bring in any newspaper or anecdotal accounts of situations that would
make for fruitful classroom discussion.
Fifty percent (50%) of your grade will be based on your participation
in class and the extent to which you are willing to struggle with the
issues. Hence, your performance in role-plays is perhaps not as
relevant, at least initially, as your ability to struggle with and
work through some of the issues being discussed. I want you to feel
a great deal of freedom in how you approach the scenarios and role-
plays because I am asking you to do something that I donít think
youíve ever been asked to do before. Rather than articulating a plan
in writing or verbally, Iím asking you also to try working through
difficult dilemmas experientially. I will provide details about my
observation of your performance at some point midway in the semester
(on March 5th) and again at the end of the semester.
The other 50% of your grade will be based on your performance on a
final exam that will resemble the ethics section of the qualifying
examination. (This idea was presented by one your peers). This exam
will be given on the final day of class. I will provide more
information about this exam in the coming weeks.
Students will be evaluated on the quality of their work. A normal
curve will be used (e.g., 90-100 = A; 80-89 = B; 70-79 = C; 60-60 =
D; below 60 = F).