Alumni in the Spotlight

Rajani Levis (M.S., Counseling, '05)

Rajani Venkatraman Levis, MFT, PPS, CTS is a writer, counselor-educator, psychotherapist and community builder. As a bicultural, multilingual woman of color, she skillfully navigates the intersections of trauma, with race, culture, class and other facets of diversity in her writing, teaching and psychotherapy practice.

Born and raised in India, Rajani earned an undergraduate degree in business from her home country and a master’s degree in counseling (2005) from San Francisco State University, with a dual specialization in marriage and family therapy, as well as school counseling. She first encountered EMDR therapy as a client, and then did her basic training in 2011. She quickly went on to become certified in EMDR and became an EMDRIA Approved Consultant in 2015. In 2016, Rajani authored the chapter, "Placing Culture at the Heart of EMDR therapy," and coauthored (with Laura Siniego) "An Integrative Framework for EMDR Therapy as an Anti-oppression Endeavor" for the Springer book "Cultural Competence and Healing Culturally-Based Trauma with EMDR Therapy: Innovative Strategies and Protocols."

As a global citizen, who is also a California licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified trauma specialist, Rajani is dedicated to creative possibilities for therapists as agents of social change. She co-founded the San Francisco-South Bay EMDR Regional network and has been instrumental in creating diverse opportunities for EMDR therapists to pursue advanced training. Rajani envisions culturally congruent EMDR therapy as the art and science of building bridges between cultures, and was recently appointed as a director of the board of the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA).

In 2005, Rajani won the CAMFT Educational Foundation Grant for her proposal to create a daylong event titled, "The Business of Psychotherapy." More than 150 participants came together to benefit from multiple workshops, a private-practice panel, resources, giveaways and community-building activities. Out of this, emerged the "Talking About Therapy" website, which creates community support for therapists in private practice around the world.

In addition to advocating for therapists to build sustainable sources of income, Rajani is a published writer on topics related to EMDR therapy, cultural sensitivity and trauma. Featured on Huff Post and the Therapist magazine, she is a regular contributor to Psyched Magazine. She is a two-time winner of the Psyched "Editor's Choice Award" for her insightful and nuanced take on psychotherapy and the human condition.

Rajani is grateful for the ways in which her education at SF State nurtured her clinical skills, while also spurring her towards professional leadership positions. It is this combination that has helped her to advocate for the profession while engaging in an educator role for a professional audience. In April, Rajani will be co-presenting "From Quicksand to Terra Firma: An EMDR Therapy Paradigm Shift from Vicarious Resilience to Vicarious Trauma" at the EMDR Canada conference in Banff, Canada. She will also be presenting "Resilient Client, Resilient Therapist" at the 2017 California Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Conference in San Jose, Calif., along with her co-author and dear friend Laura Siniego, MFT.

You can visit Rajani's website for more information about her private practice. If you’re a fellow therapist, entrepreneur and change-maker, visit Talking About Therapy for tons of free resources and information about how therapists can “Build Community, not Competition.”