Ethics & Issues in Pastoral Counseling – EDCO 821

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 02/01/2024

Course Description

An in-depth examination of ethical and legal issues encountered by community counselors, including ethical principles, professional codes of conduct, identifying and resolving ethical dilemmas, ethical decision-making models, and laws governing the profession.

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


In a world of fluid values and concepts of right and wrong, it is essential to understand and possess a firm grasp on ethical practice and responsibility when participating in the helping professions. Ethics provide a framework to the values and standards of a given profession, defining behavior and providing expectation and accountability for those involved. It is vital for individuals pursuing a career or vocation in the helping professions to possess a clear and foundational understanding of the role of ethics and related issues.

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 Resources.

Discussions (3)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to submit a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must be at least 500 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge by including at least 2 scholarly references in current APA format. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 250 words and use at least 1 scholarly reference in current APA format. The thread and replies will be split between Modules: Weeks with the thread in one Module: Week and the replies in the following Module: Week. (CLO: A, B, C, D, E, G)

Initial Understanding of Ethics Assignment

The student must write a minimum 5-page paper in current APA format summarizing his or her understanding of the importance and role of ethics in pastoral counseling. This assignment must be completed without the benefit of the course texts. This assignment will also be used in comparison with the Concluding Understanding of Ethics Assignment at the end of this course. (CLO: A, C, D)

Concluding Understanding of Ethics Assignment

Using the previously completed Initial Understanding of Ethics Assignment, the student must complete a minimum 10-page paper addressing the differences between his or her former and concluding understanding of the importance and role of ethics in pastoral counseling. All references used must be cited in current APA format. (CLO: A, B, C, D, E)

Personal Code of Ethics Assignment

Using the course materials and texts, the student must write a comprehensive personal code of ethics defining his or her commitment to an ethical approach to their role as a pastoral counselor and practice of pastoral counseling. The paper should be 10-12 pages and must use the course texts, course materials, and at least 3 other supporting sources, including the professional Codes of Ethics as references. All references used must be cited in current APA format. (CLO: A, B, C, F)