Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2012 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Dianne Vella-Brodrick


Students will critically review some of the key legal, professional and ethical aspects of practising as a health psychologist. Ethical decision-making models, codes and guidelines for practice such as the APS Code of Ethics, will also be presented and applied to a range of health-related case studies. Topics to be covered include confidentiality, multiple relationships, competency, assessment and diversity. Issues relating to the context in which health psychologists work will also be discussed, particularly in relation to the mutual responsibilities of working in multidisciplinary health teams. This unit will also prepare students for their placement experience and will provide opportunities for students to discuss any professional practice issues related to their placements.


On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a good understanding of the obligations of psychologists to their clients and the profession as outlined in the APS Code of Ethics;
  2. Reflect on the purpose of legislation relating to the practice of psychology and generate practical strategies for complying with such legislation;
  3. Critically evaluate the utility of ethical decision making processes to a range of health psychology case examples;
  4. Identify the competencies of health psychologists as outlined by the APS;
  5. Specify some of the main ethical procedures for undertaking research in health psychology and reporting results:
  6. Critically evaluate the relevance and safety of psychological interventions (e.g., psychological services on the internet, physical touch):
  7. Identify and analyse the ethical issues associated with working with clients from diverse backgrounds:
  8. Develop an effective plan for managing ethical issues related to billing, advertisements and other public statements.


Essay (3000 words)(50%)
Case study (3000 words)(50%)

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Tom Whelan

Off-campus attendance requirements

Five-day on-campus workshop

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: