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Team Brainstorm



The term signature pedagogy emerged out of research conducted by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching that aimed to explore pedagogies and practices within professional education. The research—in medicine, law, engineering, teacher education, nursing, and the clergy—increased the visibility of discipline-specific forms of teaching and learning that were characteristic of professional education and which socialized developing practitioners into their fields.

A signature pedagogy suggests that educational approaches within fields of studies are “both the aim and the method of teaching.” As such, these pedagogies are “pervasive, routine and habitual” and are easily identifiable as the educational method—specific and distinctive to that discipline. “Signature” to professional addiction counseling is teaching and learning that focuses on preparation for competent practice.

Often-cited examples of discipline-based signature pedagogies include the case method approach of law education, which emphasizes skills in “thinking like a lawyer,” and the well-known performance in-action approach of clinical rounds within medical school training.

The general objectives of the New York School in professional education for social work may be defined as follows: • to familiarize students with the subject matter of the field of social work: its facts, concepts, formulation of experience, and established procedures; • to stimulate the thinking of students in regard to purpose, goals, meanings—in general, the philosophy of the field; and • to develop in students facility and precision in the application of knowledge and philosophy to practical situations. Why is field education (practicums and internships) important? Since the early days of addiction counselor training, students have been required to perform as counseling paraprofessionals (typically in a practicum setting) while gaining knowledge and skills about the profession and its core values. Practicum experiences are essential in helping the emerging practitioner apply knowledge and connect theory to social work practice. Students often identify field education (practicum and internship) as the most important aspect of their training.

There are three critical and overlapping skills as fundamental for practitioner competence: to think, to perform, and to act with integrity. These three skills are taught/discussed in the classroom and practiced/mastered in the field. Teaching and learning involves the integration of knowledge and skills coupled with a depth of understanding about “what it means to perform.” The pedagogical focus must emphasize that the developing practitioner “come to understand in order to act, and they must act in order to serve.” In recognizing service as an important construct, not only are the actions of the practitioner purposeful but the focus and practices of professional pedagogies support this understanding.

To act with integrity—intersects with thinking and performing and involves the development of practitioner judgment. Acting with integrity encompasses a moral, ethical, personal, and social responsibility regarding the performance of one’s practice actions. Thus, educational emphasis moves beyond attainment of conceptual and theoretical knowledge and toward the development and application of practical knowledge skills regarding one’s reasoned and responsible actions.

Lastly, a comprehensive educational program must incorporate socializing students into the ways, practices, and habits of the discipline. In doing so, field education helps shape the emerging practitioner’s future actions and behaviors, as well as facilitate understanding about values and constructs within the discipline.

Why should our organization become a field practice site? Field instruction is the means to help the aspiring addiction counselors experience and test the professional self. A trained addiction counselor is something more than a person who has acquired certain distinctive knowledge and experience, it is a professional who understands themselves and their clients, in such a way to help them find recovery.

Law Firm

“Addiction counseling is the responsible, conscious, disciplined use of self in a therapeutic relationship Implicit in this is a continuing evaluation regarding the nature of the relationship between counselor and client and its effect on both the individual and on the counselor themselves. This evaluation provides the basic for the professional judgment which the worker must constantly make, and which determines the direction of his/her activities.”

You and your organization play a key role in shaping the future direction of our profession. Our counselors, our direct care staff, our recovery support staff- these people are the future of our profession. The ability of our profession to help people RECOVER from addiction and to SAVE LIVES is dependent of competent practice. Competent practice necessitates that emerging practitioners recognize—through self- awareness, critical reflexivity, and analytical thinking—that how they make use of who they are is an integral component of one’s practical and purposeful action. This only happens through MENTORSHIP, MODELING, AND APPRENTICESHIP. Mentoring, modeling, and apprenticeship experiences are what socialize newcomers to the profession. These interactions help the developing student gain understanding of professional practice through the ways in which educators behave and respond in the teaching-learning encounters. Collaborative and relational processes within the teaching-learning encounter are experienced as empowering and facilitative of practical understanding. “Modeling also assists in overall professional functioning and in the development of a professional self.”

What is my ROI?

One of the most beneficial aspects of field education is the ability to convert interns to long-term employees. The main perk of an employer converting their intern to full-time hires is evident in employee retention rates.

After one year, internal interns are 16% more likely to be retained than external interns. Furthermore, internal interns are 32% more likely to be retained than new hires who lack internship experience. Although the gaps narrow somewhat at the five-year mark, they are still substantial: Internal interns are 9% more likely to be retained than external interns and 15% more likely to be retained than those with no internship experience. Employee recruitment and retention has become one of the main challenges to operating quality addiction programs. Being affiliated with quality education programs gives to access to emerging professions and gives your organization and competitive “leg up” in attracting the best and brightest of our profession.

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Source: 2021 Internship & Co-Op Survey Report, National Association of Colleges and Employers

What do we need to do to become a field practice site?

Make field education an essential part of your service delivery model. Integrated practicum and internships into your program design as teaching and learning opportunities for the students and your clients. Students should support and strengthen your program design and service delivery, not supplement licensed training clinical professionals.


Incorporate a paid internship. To obtain and LCDC students must complete a 300 hour practicum and 4000 internship hours. This equates to 2.5 years of full time work. Practicum students are mostly observers who may participate along site the field educator or other clinicians to gain an understanding of the profession and the essential functions (12 core function) of addiction counseling. LCDC-I on the other hand can provide progressive more advanced counseling and clinical services that benefit not only the client, but the business. As such, it is a common practice for LCDC-I positions to be paid positions.

Have available field educators. you must have accessible field educators (clinicians) who are passionate and sincere and who personify care and concern, providing relational congruence that facilitates student understanding of professional use of self. How we engage and what we do as field educators—through genuineness, spontaneity, and congruency—mirror how emerging counselors transfer knowledge and understanding to their own practice behaviors.

Provide ongoing clinical supervision. Addiction counseling students seek personal and professional fulfillment from their educational experiences. Providing meaningful exchanges, or “purposeful learning conversations,” facilitate the developmental and socialization processes about what being a practitioner means. Structured conversations and purposeful dialogue, as well as written and verbal feedback, help foster awareness and provide students with a sense of who they are as developing practitioners. These exchanges help students to “come into their own” regarding how they think about knowledge as applied to their potential actions. Knowledge is not just accumulated but integrated in useful and critically reflective ways that support emerging practitioners’ understanding of who they are and how these skills are transferred to practice encounters. Transformative experiences and clinical interactions that challenge and facilitate critical thinking help in developing confidence to make self-determined judgments about behavioral and practice actions. Thus, knowledge for practice, gained through and by the processes within the clinical encounter, becomes an integrated aspect of one’s practical understanding.

Nurturing personal and professional growth. The relational investment between the field educator and their students is most influential in determining how students understand their emerging professional identities. Educators who were perceived as mentors and role models, and who viewed their relationships with their students similarly, best helped students understand how one’s use of self was implemented for practice. Educators who relate to students in this way facilitate understanding of how emerging practitioners can apply knowledge, skills, and awareness as integrative elements that assist them in making informed judgments and practical decisions. These relational interactions help practitioners integrate their personal and professional identities.

How do we become an affiliated internship/field education practice site?

To become an affiliated practice site. Review the attached information guide and affiliation agreement. Completed our student request form and submit via email. The director will review your application and schedule a conference call. If you would like to talk with the Director before submitting an application, please email

How do I request practicum students and/or LCDC-Interns?

To request practicum students or seek eligible LCDC-Interns, please complete the linked request form. In addition to our students, we will post LCDC-I paid positions on of job board. You can also request that we post other positions as well by emailing We do not guarantee the quality of the education, experience or training of non IAE students and alumni.

We hope that you will give strong consideration to being a part of shaping how individuals, families and our communities prevent, treat and recovery from addiction. We look forward to hearing from you.


Information Guide:
Practicum Expectations

Agency Affiliation Agreement

Student Request Form:
New Agency Request

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