General Course Information for PSY627A: Legal and Ethical Issues

Course: PSY627A - Legal and Ethical Issues
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to:

Course Description:

Examines the professional laws and ethics pertaining to the practice of counseling and psychotherapy, with an emphasis on the laws and ethics pertaining to the practice of professional counseling, the content of these legal and ethical codes, and the underlying principles involved.

Course Learning Outcomes:
  • Articulate relevant legal and ethical responsibilities pertaining to: scope of practice, informed consent, training in the use of assessment instruments, boundaries, dual relationships, informed consent, continuity of treatment, confidentiality, and HIPAA, within the counseling profession.
  • Assess dangerousness to self or others and recommend appropriate interventions based on ethical and legal requirements.
  • Articulate the laws pertaining to mandated reporting of suspected or known abuse (eg. child, dependent adult, elder) and dangerousness.
  • Articulate issues of therapistandapos;s cognitive, emotional or physical limitations, transference, and countertransference on the therapeutic process.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of ethical issues pertaining to diagnosis and treatment planning with respect to health insurance and managed care, as well as the importance of the initial therapeutic interview including discussion of fees, office policies, therapeutic process, confidentiality, and therapist responsibilities.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how to document clinical services, securely maintain client records and respond to client's request for records.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the importance of recognizing the needs, abilities and cultural diversity of clients.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of laws and ethical standards regarding sexual contact between therapist and client.

Students with Disabilities:
Students seeking special accommodations due to a disability must submit an application with supporting documentation, as explained under this subject heading in the General Catalog. Instructors are required to provide such accommodations if they receive written notification from the University.

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Students are expected to demonstrate writing skills in describing, analyzing and evaluating ideas and experiences. Written reports and research papers must follow specific standards regarding citations of an author's work within the text and references at the end of the paper. Students are encouraged to use the services of the University's Writing Center when preparing materials.

The following website provides information on APA, MLA, and other writing and citation styles that may be required for term papers and the like:

National University Library:
National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students. Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego Library and virtually for online or regional students. Please take advantage of Library resources:


Contact the Library:

  • (858) 541-7900 (direct line)
  • 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free)

Use the Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help

  • Recorded class presentations
  • Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more)

Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's ideas or work as one's own. Students must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. Students found plagiarizing are subject to the penalties outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of the University Catalog, which may include a failing grade for the work in question or for the entire course. The following is one of many websites that provide helpful information concerning plagiarism for both students and faculty:

Ethical behavior in the classroom is required of every student. The course will identify ethical policies and practices relevant to course topics.

Students are expected to be competent in using current technology appropriate for this discipline. Such technology may include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Use of the internet and e-mail may also be required.

Learning to work with and value diversity is essential in every class. Students are expected to exhibit an appreciation for multinational and gender diversity in the classroom.

As a diverse community of learners, students must strive to work together in a setting of civility, tolerance, and respect for each other and for the instructor. Rules of classroom behavior (which apply to online as well as onsite courses) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conflicting opinions among members of a class are to be respected and responded to in a professional manner.
  • Side conversations or other distracting behaviors are not to be engaged in during lectures, class discussions or presentations
  • There are to be no offensive comments, language, or gestures