Substance Abuse Practicum I

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HSV 250

       Course Name: Substance Abuse Practicum I

       Credits: 4 (2 lecture; 20 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Completion of HSV 110, HSV 121, HSV 122, PSY 234, PSY 235, PSY 237 and PSY 238, each with a minimum grade of C, and consent of department coordinator.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course involves placement in an approved field to integrate and apply knowledge and skills in a clinical setting. Minimum 300 (three hundred) hours in a supervised field experience. Focus of practical experience in core functions include screening, intake, orientation, assessment, treatment planning, counseling, case management, crisis intervention, client education, referral, reports and record keeping under the direction of a Practicum Site Supervisor. Program coordinator and/or practicum faculty provides ongoing supervision, monitoring and evaluation of student progress.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of the practicum, students will demonstrate proficiency in the following Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) Counselor core functions:
  1. Demonstrate the screening processing by which a client is determined appropriate and eligible for admission to a particular program, or is referred to another counselor, agency, and/or community resource.
  2. Demonstrate the administrative intake and initial client assessment procedures for admission to an Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) program area for treatment.
  3. Conduct a program orientation for a client/patient providing information about goals, rules, services, treatment cost, and rights.
  4. Demonstrate the treatment planning process between the counselor and the client.
  5. Use special counseling skills to assist individuals, families, or groups.
  6. Conduct case management activities to bring services, agencies, resources, or people together within a planned framework of action toward the achievement of established goals.
  7. Provide planned and crisis intervention services to interrupt the progression of acute and chronic alcohol and other drug abuse/dependence.
  8. Provide information and client education to individuals and groups concerning the available services and resources for alcohol and other drug abuse dependence.
  9. Chart assessments, treatment plans, reports, progress notes, discharge summaries and other client-related data and records.
  10. Explain the appropriate professional behavior of the counselor and staff in various settings, including communicating and consulting with professionals offering client treatment/services, following the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association (IAODAPCA) and the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC).

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  • When students initially become exposed to working with clients, interacting with staff, and working within a "system", many personal and professional issues arise which can interfere with functioning effectively as an AODA counselor.
  • The school-based component of the practicum will provide an opportunity for students to work through or begin to work through the difficulties they experience as they work towards meeting the aforementioned learning objectives.
  • The difficulties students may experience at their practicum sites might be academic, intrapersonal, and/or interpersonal.  Students in this stage of their training are expected to bring topics to groups as needed to help them achieve the learning objectives.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Students will have weekly clinical supervision with an on-site supervisor, consisting of at least one one-hour session per week.
  2. Students will meet with other practicum students and the instructor at the college for an equivalent of one hour per week.
  3. Each student will meet individually with the instructor at the College as required during the practicum to review progress and discuss any issues concerning the practicum.
  4. There will be on-site meetings with the student, the college instructor, and the site supervisor to review the student's progress and any issues concerning the practicum.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Writing:  Students will be required to write for the class the equivalent of 12-15 typed pages of material that will be graded. This writing may take the form of a research or term paper, summaries of journal articles, and/or a series of shorter, analytical papers.

The instructor will determine specific reading, writing, and other assignments.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Russell-Chapin, Lori Ann and Ivey, Allen E. (2004). Your Supervised Practicum and Internship:  Field Research for Turning Theory into Action.  Belmont, CA: Cengage.

Weiss Roberts, Laura and Geppert, Cynthia. (2008). The Book of Ethics: Expert Guidance for Professionals Who Treat Addiction. Center City, MN: Hazelden. 

Substance Abuse Counseling core course texts as appropriate.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

There will be a weekly progress report completed and signed by the student, verified by the Practicum site Supervisor and provided to the instructor.

There will be mid-practicum and final practicum evaluations of the student's progress in demonstrating specific program skills.  These reports will be completed by the Practicum Site Supervisor, reviewed and signed by the student and provided to the instructor.

XI.   Other Course Information

Policies on attendance will be tailored to the practicum site and student's requirements and reviewed and approved by the student, the Practicum Site Coordinator, and the instructor.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.