Course Description

Counts towards the HG DiplomaThis new course is designed to stimulate thinking about the ethical dilemmas and professional difficulties you may encounter when working with people suffering emotional distress.

It gives you sound principles to remember and realistic guidelines to follow whenever difficult ethical situations arise.

Whilst primarily designed for counsellors and psychotherapists, the course can be completed by anyone interested in thinking more clearly about ethical matters, including social workers, occupational therapists, mental health workers, medical and legal professionals.  The guidance offered is not a list of static ‘rules’ but a framework of interlocking ideas and insights through which it is possible to create clear and reasonable codes of professional conduct to help ensure we act ethically. The course discussions raise important considerations and give you valuable insights about the evolution of ethical behaviour and the nature of ethical problems.

Why this course is needed

We live in a world that, despite technological progress, seems to have lost its moral compass. It should go without saying that all therapists should act ethically with their patients, but some don’t. The consequences of this can prove distressing and even damaging for the client involved, and, for the practitioner, can mean anything from public censure, suspension from practice, or full-scale striking off.

So, in addition to following guidelines and a code of practice, therapists need to develop a sound inner intuition of what the right thing to do is in any particular circumstance. However, developing this intuition requires us to escape from our mental pigeon-holes so that we can develop richer patterns of thought, through consideration of a wide range of potential pitfalls and ethical dilemmas, to draw upon and return to throughout our professional lives.

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What you will explore

  • The foundations of ethics
  • Ethics and human nature
  • The difference between ethics, morals and the law
  • The reason ethical dilemmas arise
  • The HG Code of Ethics
  • Examples of modern ethical quandaries
  • Living in a ‘victim culture’ that’s obsessed with blaming
  • Why ethical behaviour is socially conditioned
  • The importance of learning from mistakes
  • Why relying on systems can inhibit flexibility of thought and behaviour
  • Why organisational rigidity drives bureaucracies to behave unethically
  • What determines our individual nature, character and mental health
  • The assumptions we make that get in the way of ethical decision making
  • Typical case histories dealt with by the HGI's Registration and Professional Standards Committee
  • Ethics: needs and wants
  • Ethics, tribalism and political correctness
  • Our inbuilt range of moral emotional responses
  • The illusion of shared perceptions
  • Three ethical safeguards arising from the Human Givens approach
  • The importance of spare capacity when helping others
  • The danger of patients putting therapists on a pedestal
  • Why technology, using artificial intelligence, raises ethical questions

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Course format

  •   24 Videos 
  •   30 Quizzes 
  •   1 Text 
  •   6 hrs 

This online ethics course is delivered by four distinguished Fellows of the HGI, Sue Saunders, Ian Thomson, Ivan Tyrrell and Denise Winn – their discussions provide much food for thought and draw on real case histories that have come before the HGI’s Registration and Professional Standards Committee.

As with all our online courses, you are required to answer multiple-choice questions designed to add to your knowledge and deepen your understanding: an enjoyable, thought-provoking part of the learning process.

Once you have completed the course, you will receive a CPD certificate, which counts towards the Human Givens Diploma.

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Diploma-linked Certificate

When you successfully complete the course, you will be awarded a CPD Certificate by HG College and The Human Givens Institute (equivalent to 6 hours of continuing professional development).

'Good Practice: Ethics for the caring professions' is also a required module of Part 1 of the Human Givens Diploma, so by successfully completing this online course you will also have completed a part of this highly respected qualification.

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Co-Founder of the human givens approach Ivan Tyrrell

Ivan Tyrrell is an English writer, lecturer and psychologist, who worked for many years as a psychotherapist (specialising in brief therapy for depression, trauma and anxiety). His frustration at the poor state of psychotherapeutic practice in the UK in the 1990s led him to found the European Therapy Studies Institute and to the publication of new research and information about depression, psychosis, hypnosis, addiction and trauma treatment in a series of best-selling books written with his co-founder of the human givens approach, Joe Griffin. He has had a life-long interest in the nature of perception and consciousness.

Course curriculum

    1. Welcome

    1. 1. The nature of ethical problems (Part 1, section 1)

    2. – multiple choice questions (set 1)

    3. – multiple choice questions (set 2)

    4. Ethics and Human Nature: The limits of tolerance (Part 1, Section 2)

    5. – multiple choice questions (set 1)

    6. – multiple choice questions (set 2)

    1. Ethical Foundations

    2. 1. Ethical Foundations (Part 2, section 1)

    3. – multiple choice questions (set 1)

    4. – multiple choice questions (set 2)

    5. 2. Ethical Foundations (Part 2, section 2)

    6. – multiple choice questions (set 1)

    7. 3. Ethical Foundations (Part 2, section 3)

    8. – multiple choice questions (set 1)

    9. 4. Ethical Foundations (Part 2, section 4)

    10. – multiple choice questions (set 1)

    11. 5. Ethical Foundations (Part 2, section 5)

    12. – multiple choice questions (set 1)

    13. - multiple choice questions (set 2)

    1. Code of Conduct for practitioners

    2. 1. Practitioners Code of Conduct (Part 3, section 1)

    3. - multiple choice questions (set 1)

    4. 2. Practitioners Code of Conduct (Part 3, section 2)

    5. - multiple choice questions (set 1)

    6. 3. Practitioners Code of Conduct (Part 3, section 3)

    7. - multiple choice questions (set 1)

    8. 4. Practitioners Code of Conduct (Part 3, section 4)

    9. - multiple choice questions (set 1)

    10. 5. Practitioners Code of Conduct (Part 3, section 5)

    11. - multiple choice questions (set 1)

    12. 6. Practitioners Code of Conduct (Part 3, section 6)

    13. - multiple choice questions (set 1)

    14. - multiple choice questions (set 2)

    1. Physical contact

    2. Physical contact – Outcome

    3. Inappropriate public behaviour

    4. Inappropriate public behaviour – Considerations

    5. Different agendas

    6. Different agendas – Considerations

    7. Dependency

    8. Dependency – Outcome

    9. Boundary issues

    10. Boundary issues – Considerations

    11. Confidentiality

    12. Confidentiality – Considerations

    13. Whose information is it?

    14. Whose information is it? – Considerations

    15. Expressed suicidal intent

    16. Expressed suicidal intent – Considerations

    17. Disclosure of historic abuse

    18. Disclosure of historic abuse – Considerations

    19. Serious Past Crime

    20. Serious Past Crime – Outcome

    21. Lesser crimes and confidentiality

    22. Lesser crimes and confidentiality – Considerations

    23. ‘Tipping off’

    24. ‘Tipping off’ – Considerations

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