PSYC552-22D (HAM)

Professional Issues in Psychology ABA

20 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Psychology


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Paper Description

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This 20 point course provides the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills about issues related to the professional practice in Psychology and more specifically, in applied behaviour analysis. Its emphasis will be on what constitutes ethical and professional conduct. It provides 45 hours of the academic course work required by the BACB (Behavior Analyst Certification Board) for Board Certified Behaviour Analysts (BCBA).

Specifically it covers all of the ethics and professional conduct content of the 5th edition task list (E 1 - E10, 45 hours). The new ethics items introduced in 2022 (Sections 1 - 6) are also included.

In addition it provides some content specific to the New Zealand context, including issues concerning cultural competence and understanding the place of the Treaty of Waitangi in the professional practice of psychology in NZ, and various Acts of Parliament related to the practice of Psychology, such as the Health Practitioners Competency act (HPCA) and relevant sections of child welfare and other legislation.

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Paper Structure

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The material for this course for on-campus students and those attending in real time will be covered on three ways: The students will be pointed to appropriate readings that will inform their practice, these issues will be discussed in regular meetings, and there will be tutorials and workshops specifically designated for covering specific topics.

Students in the NET course who cannot attend in real time may take the course as a self-paced course via Moodle.

Students who have completed the course will have developed an depth understanding of ethical principles and other professional issues in the practice of behavioural psychology, including cultural competency requirements and familiarity with relevant ethical codes and guidelines.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • transition from academic knowledge to professional practice

    by demonstrating an understanding of ethical and professional practice, and of professional and legal issues specifically relevant to NZ (e.g. The Treaty of Waitangi, bi-cultural and multi-cultural issues in NZ, HPCA Act (2003)) or to the country in which the student resides.

    Linked to the following assessments:
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Knowledge and competencies will be assessed via the completion of weekly tasks. These are assessed on a pass / fail basis.
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Weekly tasks
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Recommended Readings

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Online Support

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Other information of importance to all students can be accessed on the School of Psychology Psych Café at
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This 20 point paper is equivalent to 8.5 hours per week over 24 weeks.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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This paper is linked to Psyc551, and Psyc553, for those enrolled in the internship programme: PGDipPracPsych(ABA). The content of Psych551 is integrated with the content of Psych552, and taught together during the Monday teaching and tutorial sessions. For exact timing of each topic please refer to the respective moodle page.
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Restricted papers: PSYC542, PSYC722

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