Behavioral Sciences Practicum I

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PSY 230

       Course Name: Behavioral Sciences Practicum I

       Credits: 4 (2 lecture; 15 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

HSV 110, HSV 121, PSY 107, PSY 130, PSY 235, and PSY 238, each with a minimum grade of C, or consent of department coordinator.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course provides planned and supervised field experience in human services environment. Minimum 250 (two-hundred-fifty) hours in a supervised field experience, content includes identification of practicum objectives for student, in consultation with the site supervisor and faculty supervisor. Focus is on supervised practical work experience to develop an understanding of the helping process and the role of the helping professional.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

  1. assist clients in planned therapeutic recreational, work, and learning experiences in a human services setting under supervision.
  2. take direction from and interface with staff members in a supervised field experience in human services environment.
  3. apply appropriate psychological/social theories and therapeutic approaches in a human services setting under supervision.
  4. discuss with supervisors and peers objective evaluations of a client's behavior and progress.
  5. outline the process of helping and the role of the caring helper in therapeutic settings.
  6. identify the signs of stress and burnout among helpers and describe several strategies for managing or avoiding each.

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

  1. Diverse populations and problems in agencies/organizations/hospitals
    1. Multicultural perspectives
  2. Organizational structures of agencies, hospitals and other mental health facilities
  3. Working Conditions
  4. Being a Helper
    1. Motives of the helper
    2. Goals and objectives of the helper
    3. Attributes and traits of the helper
    4. Beliefs and values of the helper
    5. Personal growth and exploration
    6. Developing a personal style and philosophy
  5. Working with Clients
    1. Value conflicts with clients
    2. Transference and counter-transference
    3. Resistant clients
  6. Benefiting from Supervision
  7. Theories, Strategies, Approaches, and Techniques
    1. Process recordings
  8. Helping Stages
  9. Managing Stress and Avoiding Burnout
  10. Difficult or Special Populations

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Methods of instruction may include seminar discussions, pertinent audio-visual presentations, reading assignments, individual meetings, and practical experience.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Each instructor will determine specific reading, writing, and other assignments.  Students are required to spend 15 hours per week in a human services setting.

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.

IX.   Instructional Materials

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

Recommended text:

Corey, Gerald and Corey, Marianne Schneider. (2010).  Becoming a Helper (6th ed .).  Belmont, CA:  Brooks Cole.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Grades are based on written assignments, meetings with supervisors, and attainment of practicum objectives.

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Each instructor will establish policies with respect to attendance, incomplete grades, etc., and include these and other course information in a written syllabus to be distributed to students early in the course.
  2. Important dates

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.