Your Recovery

WISC - Integrated Step Course

Have you heard of WISC? You probably have, without even realising.

Have you heard of WISC? You probably have, without even realising. Especially if you know about or have been through our residential rehab programme.

WISC stands for Isle of (W)ight, (I)ntegrated (S)tep (C)ourse, because it was developed in the Isle of Wight by John Elford. You can find out more about John in his Meet The Team blog. WISC also stands for ‘Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’, which John says represents what addiction is, and is why the logo includes the imagery it does.

In addition to developing the Integrated Step Course, John also developed our staff induction process and other elements of training. He spent a year with us delivering staff supervision as the programme became established. He still has a hand in the training of all our new staff and we still use his resources today.

‘There were many drivers for the development of the programme, mostly seeing poor attempts at trying to run programmes by others,’ says John. 

‘The main idea behind WISC was the introduction of an evidence based teaching methodology so that progress is structured and there are logical pathways that increase knowledge and understanding. This structure also makes the programme easy to run as if a member of staff is off for any reason, another can easily jump in and run sessions with the lesson plans provided.’ 

What does the programme involve?

  • Study of the practices and principles of the 12-step recovery model (this forms a major part of the course and is the backbone)

  • Tool development such as node link mapping (these use the same cognitive behavioural principles such as motivational interviewing and relapse prevention)

  • Uses psychosocial models considering ‘cycles of change’ and ‘thinking patterns’ (this area focuses on after-care and relapse prevention)

  • All sessions are based around the processes of learning defined by Blooms Taxonomy and William Glasser

Not many organisations in the UK currently use the programme, but John has recently been approached by some major players in the addiction arena which will lead to some exciting developments - we’ll bring you news on this when John does!

John says: ‘When looking back on the development of the programme and the future of it, I’m most proud of the Recovery Connections team. Your results, your standards and what you deliver is exceptional. I’m proud to be an integral part of what you do.’ 


There are many milestones when putting together such a programme - it’s hard graft to put them together in a way that everyone can understand and utilise! 


The WISC programme comes under the umbrella of Get into Recovery where the team is developing some great ideas - you can read about its wonderful alcohol-free hotel, find the international symposium next year, who they are building relationships with and read a bit about the books John has written that have incredibly sold about 20,000 worldwide. 


Thanks so much to John for collaborating with us on this blog. You can find out more about the WISC programme over on or speaking to your Keyworker. 

By : Recovery Connections