The WISC Integrated Step Course



WISC ISC 1 to 5
WISC ISC 6 to 12

 What is the Integrated Step Course?


This three or six month programme has been created for use in treatment or rehab settings, inpatient or out. Several models have been brought together to form a framework that can be delivered in group settings and 1 to 1’s.


Firstly the programme studies the practices and principles of the 12 Step model, this forms a major part of the course and is the backbone that the course is structured around.


Secondly, it includes tools such as node link mapping as seen in the BTEI and ITEP ‘Routes to Recovery’. It is important to stress that node link mapping, as used in ‘Routes to Recovery’ is not a new theoretical approach - it uses the same cognitive behavioural principles as motivational interviewing and relapse prevention. It also includes psychosocial models considering such areas as ‘cycles of change’ and ‘thinking patterns’ etc this includes focus on after care and relapse prevention.


Thirdly all session are based around the processes of learning as defined by Blooms Taxonomy and William Glasser.


Each Step has six levels taking the client from an introduction to the Step through to initiating peer support.


There are 11 psychosocial sessions targeted to match the step they are integrated into.


Step 2 - Exploring change.

Step 3 - Decision making.

Step 4 - Explore motivation, action, goals.

Step 5 - Mind Traps.

Step 6 - Shortcomings. 

Step 7 - Thinking Skills.

Step 8 - Communication skills.

Step 9 - Supportive networks.

Step 10 - Self awareness.

Step 11 - Prayer and Meditation.

Step 12 - Challenges for the future.

There are two manuals covering all twelve steps. This includes, in total, 72 lesson plans - 6 per Step, over 180 pages of questions in the Client Questions section, 24 Power point presentations, 32 Activity Maps and 72 Group Facilitator Prompters. In total there are 180 individual sessions that can take up to 316 hours of face to face learning.

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What are ‘The Manuals’ doing differently?


The manuals are integrating the 12 Step program with different models. i.e. it uses scientific evidenced based approaches.


The course does not make use of explanations about historical aspects of 12 step programs, that are important, but can be a barrier to early recovery.


They can be greatly enhanced by using motivational interviewing, counselling and CBT techniques.


The WISC Integrated Step Course is an approach that has been developed to include the process of learning as defined by Bloom’s Taxonomy and William Glasser.  A general description and some brief explanations of the model are below although there will be local differences.


"Taxonomy” simply means “classification”, so the taxonomy of learning objectives is an attempt to classify levels of learning and use those to enable progressive understanding of a subject.


There are six major categories. Each category can be thought of as increasing degrees of difficulty in layers one above the other. That is, the first one should be mastered before the next one can take place. We can therefore apply this to 12 Step Programmes with practical and observable outcomes. 



We can also apply the teachings of William Glasser, a well-known American psychiatrist who applied his theories to education.


He states the following.


How We Learn

10% of what we READ

20% of what we HEAR

30% of what we SEE

50% of what we SEE and HEAR

70% of what is DISCUSSED with OTHERS


95% of what we TEACH TO SOMEONE ELSE


The processes of ‘Blooms Taxonomy’ and W Glasser’s ‘How We Learn’ has been applied to each step in progressive categories, it is suggested that some, not all, of these categories be mastered by the student before moving on to the next step. Learning can be observed in changes of behaviour and student engagement. We will return to the structure of each session after some general guidance on the model being used.


Involvement in self-help groups (AA, NA, CA) is considered critical for long-term abstinence. 


During primary treatment, the goal is to expose clients to 12-step programmes so they can begin to see how they function and to feel comfortable in them. After primary treatment, frequency of meetings depends on the individual. If a client is functioning relatively well and has a good support system, attendance one to two times a week may be recommended; for those whose hold on recovery is more tenuous, daily meetings may be recommended. Clients are urged to join the groups that are most specific to their drug of choice.


Session and content format

Levels 1 and 2

Remembering and Understanding.


These levels are fairly straight forward. Explore the meaning of the Step to understand it and start to learn it from memory.


Level 3.



This is a slightly more complex level that looks at the psychosocial development of a persons recovery. Sessions include; exploring change, decision making, motivation action and goals, mind traps, shortcomings, thinking skills, communication, supportive networks, self awareness, prayer and meditation and challenges for the future. 


Level 4

Analysing - research and information gathering. (Big Book Study)


This session is where people study the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions to find the answers to the questions set in the Client Questions. You could split this over more sessions if you wish. It is vital that you offer support and supervision during this information gathering stage. It is a great idea to get peer supporters involved who can help people with reading difficulties to find answers. 


Level 5



Discuss the evaluating questions and any questions arising from the previous sessions. Again, generally, people have answered these questions on an individual basis prior to the session as homework. The point here is to judge or calculate the quality, importance and value of the Step and the person to evaluate their own step work so far: The GFP can help expand on the session if required.


Level 6. To be completed by clients who are peer supporters.



Facilitator led discussion asking members in the group how they would teach the current Step to a newcomer, what points they would highlight and how they would emphasise important points. This process is then applied to each of the 12 Steps with an aim of empowering peer leaders to facilitate new groups.

Our newly designed WISC R.I. programme has been developed for those centres that are smaller with less or part time staff.


It is a reduced intensity version of our Integrated Step Course.

WISC R.I is designed to deliver three sessions a week at two hours a session over 12 weeks and includes client homework to be completed in personal time.

What are your barriers to delivering great mutual aid?


Lack of structure?

Unable to produce or stick to a timetable?

Wondering off task?

Clients get the upper hand?

Failure to meet government strategy?

Spiralling costs?

Client or staff dissatisfaction?

Poor record keeping?

What is the solution?

With the WISC Integrated Step Course you can be assured that the solution is on hand. Staff that work in your centre will be trained in delivering a programme that can be evidenced, is professional and bridges the gap between what is currently in place and what is expected in order to win bids and gain excellent CQC ratings.

More importantly achieving the best client outcomes.

Excellent outcomes you can be proud of!

Structure your delivery!




Evidence of client progress.

Facilitated group work.

Support your




Ability to cover at short notice.


in what is being delivered.

Evidence for CQC or auditors.

Peer led recovery.