Bethany  Simmons

Bethany Simmons, PhD, LMFT-S, LPC, AAMFT Approved Supervisor

Assistant Professor, Master of Science in Counseling Psychology (MFT)
(805) 493-3898
Bell House (#4250)


Coming from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Dr. Simmons brings several areas of focus and expertise, namely systemic/cybernetic and social constructionist oriented clinical work and supervision.  She has a passion for mentoring students and inspiring new leaders in the field of MFT.  While at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, she was the Director of Clinical Services, the Director of Juvenile Drug Court, and core faculty, teaching both masters and doctoral courses.  She has served as both a committee member and chair of doctoral dissertations.  She is a Louisiana Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Board Approved Supervisor (LMFT-S #1127), Licensed Professional Counselor (#3766), and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and Mentor.  Dr. Simmons was elected Secretary and Chair of Professional Development for the Louisiana Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (LAMFT) Executive Board from 2011-2013.  Dr. Simmons received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a Minor in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State University.  She earned her master’s degree and doctorate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Dr. Simmons has been an invited presenter to international, state, and local conferences and workshops on topics such as juvenile drug courts, Motivational Interviewing skills, dropout and truancy prevention, Marriage and Family Therapy ethics, and suicide prevention.  In addition, she has presented on topics such as engendering hope by focusing on resources, resiliency, and solutions to construct success with clients in crisis, engaging mandated clients in treatment, Solution Focused Brief Therapy, sexual abuse, and navigating complex systems in treatment.  Her current research is focused around effective ways to engage involuntary clients in treatment, family treatment for juvenile substance use, preserving systemic family therapy legacies, epistemological issues in family therapy, and teaching systemic process.

Dr. Simmons also has experience working in adult and juvenile inpatient psychiatric hospitals, intensive outpatient programs, and private practice clinical settings. She works with a diverse clientele seeking assistance with a range of life’s challenges. She believes in the potential and abilities of all human beings and their relationships, approaching therapy with hopefulness, resourcefulness, respect, and creativity.


University of Louisiana at Monroe                                                                                      Monroe, LA

  •    Ph.D,  Marriage and Family Therapy, 2010
  •    COAMFTE Accredited Program
    • Dissertation Title: Family Therapy Legacies and the Patterns that Connect: Transcending the Modern/Postmodern Dichotomy in Family Therapy

University of Louisiana at Monroe                                                                                          Monroe, LA

  • M.A., Marriage and Family Therapy, 2006
  • COAMFTE and CACREP Accredited Program

Penn State University                                                                                                    University Park, PA

  • B.A., Psychology, 2003                                                                             
  • Minor, Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS)                                       
  • Graduated “WITH HIGH DISTINCTION” in the top 4 percent of the graduating class

Areas of Interest

  • Marriage and Family Therapy education.
  • Marriage and Family Therapy theory as it relates to practice.
  • Supervision and mentoring Marriage and Family Therapy students/interns.
  • Underserved/diverse populations.
  • Culture as a systemic concept.
  • Valuing, honoring, and expanding systemic legacies and practices.
  • Systemic ideas on the societal level that incorporates social constructionist perspectives.
  • Family-based juvenile drug court programs.
  • The use of self and human connection in therapy and the therapeutic relationship.
  • Utilizing a resource-oriented/strength-based approach with people in crisis.
  • Therapy practices with substance abuse in families, suicidal clients, and the geriatric population.
  • Self-reflexivity and the influence of epistemology on therapy practices.

Simmons, B. (2013). Respecting diverse professional perspectives in a collaborative team environment. Louisiana Diversity Council, 2nd Quarter Newsletter,

Simmons, B. (Submitted). Family therapy legacies and the patterns that connect: Transcending the modern/postmodern dichotomy in family therapy.

Simmons, B., Mason, N. & Sutton, J. (In Progress).  The “12 Steps” to Engaging Court Mandated Families in Treatment:  Turning “Unwilling” Clients into “Willing” Clients.

Simmons, B., Sutton, J., & Ray, W. (In Progress). Training students to work with involuntary clients.

Sutton, J., Simmons, B., Mason, N., & Ray, W. (In Progress). Practicing and teaching “thinking process” to new systemic therapists in training.

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