Joanne (Annie) Simmons, PhD, LMFT

Adjunct Faculty Member

Through over three decades of working with people and hearing their feedback, I've happily come to embrace these important style characteristics of myself as a therapist / educator:  collaborative, informal, empathetic, challenging as well as supportive, encouraging, educational, and celebratory.    As we begin to work together, we will discuss the application of each of these specific qualities in terms of your particular style and needs.

I specialize in individual and relationship psychotherapy about adult issues.   I have over 30 years experience as an adult educator and more than six years experience as a crisis counselor and psycho-therapist.   In addition to my PhD in teaching / learning / assessment from Syracuse (NY) University, I am a graduate of the psychotherapy LMFT (relational) and LPCC (individual) licensing programs at Adler Graduate School / MN.  

I especially focus on Adult Life Span Issues such as life stage transitions, enhancing / ending relationships, grief / lost / depression, chronic illness issues, alternative family structures (e.g.  divorced / blended families / GLBTQ families, single parenting, etc), diversity issues in relationships, and personal growth. . 

Client feedback over many years has consistently emphasized that they appreciate these aspects of my style as a therapist: informal, interactive, informative, and inspiring.   Clients comment on my easy rapport, strong encouragement, practicial and helpful explanations, insightful and throught-provoking questions, and clearly organized, goal-directed framework for therapy

I integrate complementary approaches and holistic techniques to offer a highly personalized type of psychotherapy, tailored to each client.   With compassion and understanding, I work with each individual and couple to help them build on their strengths and attain the personal growth they are committed to accomplishing.  

My own 'life journey' started in southeastern Minnesota in Austin / Rochester / Winona as the oldest child in a middle-class, 1950 - 60s style family.   My parents built our home after my dad returned from the war, and we were taught that such practical initiative, resourcefulness, and collaboration with family / neighbors were important habits.  As a family, we grew up valuing all types of learning and volunteering, went camping and traveling by car, and were immersed in Scouting experiences, extended family activities, nature / gardening, and genealogy.   I earned undergrad degrees in English / social sciences / religion at a Catholic women's college as the complex political events of the late 1960 - 70s raged.

Then came two fascinating years living and teaching in Bogota Colombia, five more enjoyable years in upstate New York studying for my PhD at Syracuse University  (GO ORANGE !), and finally, many years living in West Michigan and working as a Michigan State University professor / writer / consultant in many different aspects of educational reform and diversity.    (i must confess that it's only an accident that I ended up at two such BASKETBALL-CRAZY places !)

In my 'civilian life' now, I enjoy family life with my partner, adult son and step-children, and two affectionate cat brothers.   In my non-working time, my family and I relax with healthy foodie and exercise habits, films and other art / culture, photography, social justice activism, low-key non-tourist style travel, reading / writing, and nature experiences / gardening.   These hobbies, my extended family in Rochester MN, and personal friends give me a rich, interesting life with many rewards outside the office as well very much enjoying what I do in the office as a therapist / educator / writer.


PhD - Teacher Education/Program Development + Assessment from Syracuse University Syracuse, NY

MA - Adlerian Psychology and Psychotherapy from Adler Graduate School, Richfield, MN

Email address:
Mobile Phone: 
Professional Membership: 
  • MN Associate of Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Minnesota Women in Psychology
  • National Certification as a Discernment Counselor
Professional Practice: 

Center for Relation/ Individual Therapies

7831 East Bush Lake Road, Suite 200-C

Bloomington, MN 55438

Areas of Interest: 
  • Mid-age issues
  • Diversity issues - Race/Ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and cognitive styles
  • Therapist identity/ reflection/ decision-making/ growth tools
  • Social issues, particularly from social justic perspectives
  • Discernment Counseling
  • Chronic illness issues
What I like about Adler Graduate School: 
  • Small size and community feeling of the school
  • Adlerian perspectives
  • Social justice values in action
  • emphasis and opportunities for participation