Course taster

Putting the approaches together

Each of the five approaches proposes a definition of ethical behaviour. However, there are disagreements about the five approaches (Johnson, 2007), with commentators disagreeing on the correct approach. There is disagreement about what constitutes the 'common good' and about the definition of harm. Equally, the five approaches have not necessarily provided clear answers to the question of what is ethical. However, each approach offers useful guidance with which to determine an appropriate and ethical course of action in a particular circumstance. Interestingly, the different approaches often lead to similar answers.


There is a considerable difference between choosing a personal code of ethics and living your life according to its tenets, and following a code of ethics because it is a requirement of your association or accrediting board. As we are learning in this module, being a clinical supervisor carries the responsibility of demonstrating good judgment and exemplary behaviour. Ideally, a clinical supervisor practices ethical behaviour in all of his or her affairs.

This assignment is a collaborative and problem-based learning activity. Working in pairs with another student in the module, you will build two hypothetical codes:

A - A suggested code of ethics for daily living.

B - A suggested code of ethics for clinical supervision.

1 - Using the university email service (Unimail), contact at least one student from our group with whom you will work.

2 - Exchange contact information.

3 - Arrange a discussion via Skype, WhatsApp, or other instant messaging app that provides online text and video chat services. If you do not have access to this technology, you may use email or telephone.

4 - When you 'meet' online, discuss the five approaches to ethical standards.

5 - In your discussion, suggest:
- a minimum of two core values, ethical principles or standards that you both believe are basic, essential ethical codes for daily living
- at least three suggested standards of ethical behaviour for clinical supervisors.