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Susan F. Branco, PhD



Susan F. Branco, PhD, LPC (VA), NCC, ACS, BC-TMH


I am a transracial and transnational adoptee from Bogotá, Colombia, South America. I am an advocate for increased adoption related research and training within counselor education and am passionate about improving mental health outcomes for transracially adopted persons. I currently serve as an Associate Professor at Palo Alto University in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate degree program.

I am a licensed professional counselor and an approved supervisor in Virginia. I am also a Board Certified Counselor (NCC), an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS), and Board Certified Telemental-Health provider (BC-TMH). I completed my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Human Services and Rehabilitation Counseling respectively from the George Washington University. Earlier in my career I worked in community mental health, prenatal clinics, and with immigrant populations. After I completed post graduate training in Marriage and Family Therapy which included a yearlong clinical practicum under live supervision, I opened an independent practice specializing in working with adults, children, and families connected to adoption and foster care. It was my clinical and advocacy work with transracial and transnational adoptee communities that inspired my interest to complete a doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Supervision from Virginia Tech. I also maintain clinical counseling skills by volunteering as a pro bono clinical mental health counseling for the Arlington Free Clinic.



I previously served in brick-and-mortar institutions as a Clinical Assistant Professor overseeing a clinical mental health counseling training clinic, a Director of Clinical Training, and Department Chair prior to my work as an online counselor educator. Currently, I serve as an Associate Professor in the Counseling Department at Palo Alto University.


Teaching Philosophy

My goals for the digital classroom are to offer an inclusive space and welcoming learning environment for both new and advanced learners. This is achieved by maintaining transparency, authenticity, facilitating respectful discourse, meeting students where they are as learners, and offering various modes of learning. I really enjoy teaching. I am deeply mindful of the diverse and varied backgrounds of the learners in my classroom and am genuine in meaningful self-disclosure to share my diverse background and racial/ethnic/ and heritage. This diversity invigorates my efforts to continuously develop and refine teaching methods and techniques.


Courses Taught
  • Research Methods in Counseling

  • Assessment in Counseling

  • Counselor Helping Skills

  • Family Systems Counseling

  • Couples Counseling

  • Introduction to Crisis Counseling

  • Ethics and Legal Issues in Counseling

  • Evaluation and Treatment of Trauma Disorders

  • Counseling Practicum and Internship



I maintain the Approved Clinical Supervisor credential so that I may continuously grow in clinical supervision skills. I deeply value the professional counseling field and am excited for its future. I utilize several supervisory models to include Interpersonal Process Recall when reviewing audio and video recordings and the Discrimination Model. I also work towards consistent cultural responsivity in supervision just as I do in counseling and teaching to support supervisees in their professional growth. I learn from my collaborations with supervisees and always find inspiration in their work. Please connect with me if you are interested in receiving virtual supervision.

Paper Abstract

Awards, Fellowships, & Scholarships

  • Comadrazgo/Comadrazga Award, Association of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 2022

  • Outstanding Leadership Award, International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors, 2021

  • Excellence in Counselor Education and Supervision, Bridging the Gap Award National Board of Certified Counselors Foundation, 2019

  • Excellence in Multicultural Teaching Award, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 2018                           

  • Pastoral Counseling Department, Loyola University Maryland, Certificate of Appreciation, 2017                  

  • National Board of Certified Counselors, Center for Credentialing and Education Professional Development Award, 2016

  • Virginia Tech Graduate Assistantship, 2013-2015                               

  • Minority Fellowship Program Doctoral Fellow, National Board of Certified Counselors, 2014                                                 

  • Virginia Tech Outstanding Counselor Education Student, 2013-2014

  • Virginia Tech Alumni Scholarship, National Capital Region Chapter, 2013                

  • Graduate Student Fellowship, Virginia Counselors Association Foundation, 2012     

  • Rehabilitation Services Administration Grant Recipient, 1995, 1996, 1997

  • Columbian Women’s Scholarship, The George Washington University, 1995

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