Stephanie Booco, M.A. '12 M.A. in Counseling: Specialization in Forensic Psychology

Read about Stephanie Booco, M.A. '12, 
a registered psychotherapist in Denver.

Read about Stephanie Booco, M.A. '12,
a registered psychotherapist in Denver.

Stephanie Booco graduated from Adler University in 2012 with a Master of Counseling degree, specializing in Forensic Psychology. A registered psychotherapist with the state of Colorado, Stephanie works as a clinical evaluator for the National Institute for Change and Boulder Community Hospital in Boulder, Colorado.

Q: Tell us about your work.
Stephanie: I currently work as a clinical evaluator for the National Institute for Change. This agency focuses on assisting individuals in shaping a more prosocial lifestyle by focusing on client strengths and utilizing said strengths to develop areas of growth via specialized treatment planning and intervention. My role requires I complete clinical interviews with individuals involved in various aspects of the legal system and provide the referral source with a current clinical picture of the client and treatment recommendations.

I also conduct clinical intakes at Boulder Community Hospital in the Emergency Department (ED). My primary duty is to assess individuals brought to the ED with suspected mental health issues and connect the patient to the indicated level of care. The Hospital focuses on patient safety, as well as developing a culture of health and well being in the community.

Q: What is your impact on the individuals or communities with whom you work?
Stephanie: Both positions focus on safety, be it patient safety at the Hospital, or community safety in the work at the National Institute for Change. Additionally, both positions have a strong focus on strength-based approaches to treatment and assisting clients in learning the skills necessary to increase their ability to live independently and function safely in the community. One of the most important aspects of both positions is the focus on connecting those we serve with resources they may not otherwise know of or have access to. Both the Institute and Hospital are community-oriented and foster cultures of socially-responsible practice.

Q: How did your Adler University experience affect where you are today?
Stephanie: I would not be where I am today, personally or professionally, if it were not for Adler. A quote read at New Student Orientation my first year has stuck with me and epitomizes the Adler experience - Oliver Wendell Holmes was quoted as saying, "Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."

I walked into Adler with one worldview, and graduated with a significantly expanded and diverse worldview; I don’t know where else I would have had the opportunity to develop in such a way. The formal education I earned at Adler was critical, however, it was the experiential process of applying what I learned and interacting with my peers, mentors, and professors in the classroom, during practicum and internship, and off campus that is priceless. I’m deeply grateful to have had an opportunity to be a part of Adler and to sum it up, Adler was a definite “game changer” for me.

Q: Was there a particular Adler faculty member or experience as a student that has most influenced you, and why?
Stephanie: I was fortunate enough to be influenced by a variety of individuals. I’m proud to say the Forensic cohort I graduated with could be characterized by strong work ethics and camaraderie – we constantly supported and pushed each other to perform at a higher level. We were a close-knit group that bound together during stressful times (e.g. CQE, NCE exam times) and I’m happy to report many of us remain in touch to this day. My forensic colleagues taught me a variety of things, but most notably, they taught me grit, an important trait to have in this profession.

The faculty in the Forensic and Police Departments, primarily Dr. Karen Koch, Dr. Douglas Craig, and Dr. Coralie Castro-Craig were key mentors for me. They taught me more than I can outline here - they were excellent role models who taught as much through how they held themselves as they did during lecture. I strive to be more like the polished, knowledgeable professionals these people are everyday.

Q: What career accomplishment have you found most fulfilling, or considered your greatest professional accomplishment?
Stephanie: I consider my greatest professional accomplishment to be my ability to give back to my community in a socially-responsible and culturally-aware way. The most fulfilling work, thus far, has been the opportunity to work with individuals enmeshed in the legal system, specifically doing group and individual therapy with individuals on parole whom had spent a significant portion of their lives incarcerated. I’ve also been fortunate enough to work in a jail setting, doing risk assessments and providing brief therapy. Both experiences, although difficult, were immensely rewarding in that these individuals allowed me to witness their stories and accompany them on their journey of self-growth.

Q: What is the single most important piece of career advice you can give someone in your field?
Stephanie: Steve Jobs stated it best, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Dr. Koch echoed this sentiment of “staying the course” to my cohort when she would notice us begin to stress or get ahead of ourselves. In retrospect, I realize how much truth there is to this idea. Trust that things will work out, even when your career takes you in directions you didn’t anticipate - you’ll be better for it.

Q: What advice can you give a student just joining Adler University?
Stephanie: Know you are in good hands and be confident that you have what it takes to successfully complete the rigorous program requirements. Expect to be pushed out of your comfort zone and learn to thrive in those moments. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself during the program, the experiences you’ll share with the people in your program will be lifelong memories!