Essays by Rajani

A few essays that I wrote in the hope that it would support the therapists who come after me. I hope you find this helpful.

Your comments and feedback are always warmly welcomed!

An Open Letter to White Allies

Come join me in some emotional labor!

I want to offer a reflection to White allies and it feels particularly challenging to do so. There is a reason these are called “difficult dialogs” and it is particularly onerous to me that the burden of initiating these conversations typically falls upon the person of Color. This task also involves significant emotional labor on my part and I have been hesitant to take on that task.  Click to read more…

On Simple Practice Blog Now!

Being a therapist requires plumbing the depths of our own human experience!

This essay highlights that when we consciously choose to welcome our difficult and uncomfortable feelings, we can feel more deeply connected to and enlivened by the resilience that allows our courageous clients to come to therapy. And sometimes, just like in therapy, as we embrace our shared humanity, fear abates and loathing can become transformed into self-compassion.

Encountering Fear and Loathing in the Therapist's Psyche

Author: Rajani Venkatraman Levis, MFT

It is 7pm on a Friday night. Thousands of people are unwinding over cocktails in crowded bars and restaurants all over San Francisco, but I’m in my bathtub, chin on my knees, tears streaming down my face.

I feel hopeless, powerless, deflated and incompetent. I question my ability to be effective in the face of what feels like insurmountable obstacles.

I ask myself, “How on earth can one hour a week ever make a difference to a client whose entire life is falling apart?” and, “How do I help this client step back from the precipice of suicide and find a reason to embrace life, when life is so challenging, so complex, and such a struggle from day-to-day?”

When I turn on the cold faucet to adjust the temperature, my feelings of overwhelm and helplessness threatens to drown me.

On Huffington Post Now!

Here’s the ugly truth (and Beyonce’s Lemonade has us all talking about it):

Affairs happen!

This essay highlights the possibilities for healing from an affair through combining couples therapy with a type of therapy called EMDR, that can be tremendously helpful for both partners in the process of affair recovery.

Is There a Happily Ever After After the Affair?

Co-authors: Rajani Venkatraman Levis, MFT
& Robert Solley, Ph.D.
Contributor: Traci Ruble MFT.

Essays on Diversity

Beyond Diversity Small Talk and Non-Sequiturs

A lot of people tell me that given our current sociopolitical environment, conversations about diversity feel too fraught to engage in. As an immigrant woman of color, and a therapist as well as a counselor-educator, I can tell you that I engage in, witness and co-create these conversations on an ongoing basis. Read more…

Saving Your Humanity: Not Just Another Item on your Multicultural To-do List!!

As an immigrant Woman of Color*, who is also a therapist, I live and work at the intersection of race, class, culture, gender, immigration and trauma. The themes of racism, discrimination and microaggressions tend to be front and center in my professional life, as much as they are in my personal life. Read more…

Stopping Gun Violence in the U.S. Starts with Us!

“Us vs. Them” is the poison this American culture is pumping out and ingesting on every level of our society and we are all ill from it. The longing to belong is wired into our cells, yet on multiple levels of our society we actively leave people out. The growing “us” vs. “them” mentality correlates to the increase in gun violence as well. Read more…

Essays For Therapists

California Victim Compensation Program 101

How often have you wished that you could help a client in crisis who really needed the services but just didn’t have the money to pay? California Victim Compensation 101 gives you the skinny on an important resource.

Dancing Naked on the Bridge

Dancing Naked on the Bridge is a case study that was published in the third volume of the Praeger Handbook of Community Mental Health. It is an essay about culture shock and vicarious trauma.


Want to make the most of the required 3000 hours of supervised experience, especially the post-Masters’ internship phase?

Three experienced therapists break it down in a way you won’t forget!


Essays In Therapist Magazine

Five Journeys, One Destination ~ Part 1

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

Martin Buber’s famous quote formed the inspiration for five therapists to come together and share travel stories of their own unique journey to licensure.

Slow to load, but well worth the wait!

Five Journeys, One Destination ~ Part 2

Here, in part 2, we learn more about the final step in the licensing process. We hope that by reading the range of answers on timing, study methods, challenges, tips, tricks and strategies, you will be inspired and encouraged onward in the examination phase of the licensing process.

Loads faster than Part 1, but you might want to read them in order!

Five Journeys, One Destination ~ Part 3

In this concluding section, the five travelers invite us into what is hallowed ground many prelicensees – their own private practice. Come join our intrepid travelers as they discover that the integration of one’s personal and professional identity is the next phase of this journey.

“There is only one journey, the journey inside yourself!”  ~ Rilke

EMDR: Is it Really All That? - A 3 part series

Part 1: Why Choose EMDR Therapy

A three part series co-authored by Rajani Levis, MFT & Veronika Gold, MFT

You’ve heard the buzz about EMDR therapy and now your clients are asking about it. How do you make a decision about EMDR as an adjunctive treatment?

Part 2: How does EMDR work?

A three part series co-authored by Rajani Levis, MFT & Veronika Gold, MFT

EMDR therapy is grounded in the Adaptive Information Processing Model. EMDR therapy supports the client in adaptively storing the past traumatic experiences and clearing the distress associated with the trauma.


How does adjunctive EMDR therapy work?

A three part series co-authored by Rajani Levis, MFT & Veronika Gold, MFT

There are many ways to structure adjunctive EMDR treatment.  Depending on scheduling, insurance, fee and other factors, here are some ways in which sessions can be structured.

EMDR Therapy and the Hero's Journey

Part 1: EMDR Therapy and the Hero’s Journey

A three part series co-authored by Rajani Levis & Dr. Jamie Marich

There are moments in life when we truly feel like the hero of our own story; a moment that captures our essence; a moment that allows us to stand center stage and bask in adulation; a moment that feels simply “perfect.” And then, there are all those other moments, hours, days, months and even years…

Read More…

Part 2: EMDR Therapy and the Hero’s Journey Part 2: The EMDR Origin Story?

A three part series co-authored by Rajani Levis & Dr. Jamie Marich

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself” ― Joseph Campbell Click to view Part 1 of this series. In our troubled world when we feel scared and uncertain, each of us longs for a hero: someone who will usher in positive change, who will help us…

Read more…


EMDR therapy and the Hero’s Journey Part 3

A three part series co-authored by Rajani Levis & Dr. Jamie Marich

Once dismissed as a fringe, new age-y therapy, EMDR therapy is now more likely to be described using phrases like cutting edge and essential in the treatment of trauma-related disorders. Since 2010, EMDR therapy has appeared…

Read more…