Education | Professional Seminar in Counseling Psychology
G600 | 5508 | 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 ethical issues in the practice of counseling
psychology. As counseling psychologists are trained to fulfill
various roles --- as educators, psychotherapists, test administrators,
consultants, and researchers --- adherence to ethical guidelines
become crucial to professional development and to the consumers' view
of them in the public eye. We will devote this semester to an
intensive study of ethical issues, morality, legal issues, and to
Again in the spirit of creating a climate of collegiality and
collaboration, this course will continue to address programmatic
issues here in our program at IU and to encourage student input to
changes within the program.
1. To learn the Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct and apply this
content to hypothetical and actual case studies.
2. To learn about and practice ethical decision-making processes.
3. To learn about legal issues related to the practice of psychology
4. To continue to learn about program requirements and contribute to
ongoing changes in the doctoral program.
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.
Beginning January 29, students are expected to bring to class 3 or 4
typewritten comments or questions related to the reading assigned that
week. These comments/questions are to be turned in each week and will
provide the stimuli for the week's discussions. There will be seven
classes devoted to discussing these readings, and the submitted
comments/questions will be worth 5 points each, totaling 35 points in
The remaining points for the class will be for the paper and
presentation on an ethical dilemma (35 and 30 points, respectively).
In the paper, the student is expected to describe in detail an actual
case that reflected one or more dilemmas in ethical decision-making.
Students may interview counseling psychology students, school
psychology students, faculty members in the program, or practicing
psychologists --- anyone who has encountered an ethical dilemmas in
the practice of counseling or psychotherapy. Students may use their
own cases. The description should also include how the dilemma or
breach was resolved. The student should also provide a discussion in
the paper on (a) what the ethical dilemmas/breaches are (in lay
terms), (b) which of the ethical principles are called into question;
(c) the contextual factors that influenced the dilemma or breach, and
(d) how the dilemma or breach could have been prevented.
In the presentation, the student will assume leadership in the class
by use the case as an opportunity to teach one's peers. He/she may
decide to start the class with a discussion of contextual factors that
can complicate a "diagnosis" of ethical issues, and then facilitate a
discussion about how professionals ought to deal with these issues.
The presentation of the case will always occur, however, the order in
which the student chooses to present is a matter of choice and
Let me present an illustration. In rural settings, there may be very
few mental health practitioners, and the ones who reside in these
communities may also be very closely tied with members of the
community. Issues of dual roles can become quite complex. The
student who presents a case of a breach of ethics that related to
these circumstances may use this as an opportunity to help their peers
delve more deeply into the particular circumstances and conditions of
professionals who practice in rural settings.
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).
Course Outline and Readings
January 9 Overview of Class
A Working Draft of the Revised Ethical Principles
Reading: American Psychological Association (APA) Ethical Principles
of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, pp. 441-466 in Koocher &
January 16 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday
January 23 Discussion of the Working Draft
Koocher & Keith-Spiegel, chapter 1-3
January 30 On Being Ethical; Enforcement of the Code, and Knowing
Reading: Koocher & Keith-Spiegel, chapters 4-7
February 6 Admissions Committee Meeting; NO CLASS
February 13 Admissions Committee Meeting; NO CLASS
February 20 Ethical Obligations in Psychotherapy, Privacy,
Confidentiality, and Record Keeping, Psychological Assessment
Legal Issues in the Practice of Psychology (handouts)
Koocher & Keith-Spiegel, 8-12
February 27 Multiple Role Relationships and Conflicts of Interest,
Attraction, Romance, and Sexual Intimacies, Money Matters and Managed
Care, Psychologists in the Marketplace, and Presenting Psychology to
Koocher & Keith-Spiegel, 13-15
March 6 Relationships with Colleagues, Supervisees, and Employees,
Ethical Dilemmas in Work Settings, and Psychologists in the Legal
Koocher & Keither-Spiegel, 16-17
March 13 SPRING BREAK
March 20 Psychologists as Teachers and Scholarly Publication
Readings: 1996 issue of The Counseling Psychologist on Virtue Ethics
(copies available on reserve in School of Education Library)
March 27 Discussion of 1996 Issue of The Counseling Psychologist
April 3 A meeting with counseling faculty (either on this date or
April 10 See above
April 17 Case Presentations
April 24 Case Presentations