Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling – COUC 501

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 09/05/2023

Course Description

This course introduces students to concepts regarding ethical and legal issues encountered by licensed professional counselors and marriage and family therapists, including ethical principles, professional codes of ethics, identifying and resolving ethical dilemmas, ethical decision-making models, and legalities of the profession. Current issues in therapeutic practice in a variety of professional settings are explored.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Developing excellence in the field of professional counseling requires a thorough understanding of current professional, ethical, and legal issues related to counselors functioning in a variety of settings. A focus on learning how to systematically evaluate ethical issues from both a biblical and clinical perspective is critical and will enable the student to develop a solid foundation for facing the complex and challenging ethical issues that await him/her in the field of counseling.

Method of Instruction: This 8 week course is delivered in a digital asynchronous format, with Canvas® as the primary instructional delivery method. Students complete one module per week over the duration of the course. 


Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Advising Acknowledgement Quiz

Video Discussions (2)

For Video Discussions, the student will create and upload a 3–5-minute video in response to the prompt. Each video must demonstrate course related knowledge and assertions must be supported by at least one outside scholarly resource. The student will reply to a peer or a question posted by the professor in a 2–3-minute video. Reply must be supported by at least 1 scholarly resource. (CLOs: A, B, E, F, G, H)

Benchmark Attitudes and Beliefs Reflection Paper Assignment

The student will complete a self-reflective paper evaluating their responses from the Attitudes and Beliefs Inventory. The paper should be 5 – 7pages, (excluding title page, abstract, and reference page), written in APA format, including a title page, abstract, introduction, body, conclusion, and references. The paper should be well thought out and demonstrate critical thinking, self-evaluation, and practical application. (CLOs: A, B, D, F, H)

Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the Turnitin plagiarism tool.

Benchmark Ethical Vignette Paper Assignment

The student will view the ethical vignette that discusses relevant topics to the counseling field. After watching the vignette in the assigned module, the student will write a 3-5-page paper. The paper must include at least 4 references and be in current APA format. (CLOs: A, B, E, G)

Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the Turnitin plagiarism tool.

Spiritual Integration Video Blog Assignment

The student will complete a self-reflective video blog evaluating the interaction between their personal or spiritual beliefs and counseling ethical principles. The video blog should be 5-6 minutes in length, APA format, and must include at least three scholarly resources.(CLOs: A, H)

Benchmark Ethical Dilemma Presentation Assignment

The student will review the ACA ethical decision-making model and apply it to a case. The presentation should be approximately 10-15 slides (excluding title slide, reference slide), written in APA format and must include at least 6-8 references. (CLOs: A, B, E, G)

Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the Turnitin plagiarism tool. 

Quizzes (17)

There are 17 quizzes that cover the reading and study material for each assigned module/week. Each quiz consists of 10 multiple-choice questions. 16 quizzes will have a time limit of 20 minutes and will be open-book/open-notes.  The Professional Values quiz have a time limit of 60 minutes and will be open-book/open-notes. Students will have one allowed attempt for each quiz. 


The student will review the resources listed in the quiz instructions. 

Once the student has reviewed these resources, they will have 30 minutes to take the 20 question quiz. This is an open book quiz.

Quiz: Dispositions Reflection

This Dispositions Reflection quiz will ask you to rate yourself on the nine dispositions required for this program by our accrediting bodies using the following scale:

  • Exceeds expectations – I believe I do this exceptionally well.
  • Clearly meets expectations – I believe I am able to do this in an appropriate way as expected for graduate students at my current position in the program.
  • Adequately meets expectations – I believe I do this but could use improvement and growth in this dispositional area.
  • Does not meet expectations – I believe I do not do this well and could use improvement.

You can review the Dispositions material located in the Learn sections of Module 1: Week 1 and Module 8: Week 8. We ask that you answer these questions in an open and honest way. There are no “correct” answers for the rating questions quiz, simply answer them honestly and you will receive full credit.

The final question on the quiz is a self-reflection essay question, where you will specifically identify the following:

  1. One dispositional area in which you believe you need to improve
  2. One step you will take to improve in the above-mentioned area