In Session with “Never Have I Ever”

What’s a-poppin? Join Dr. Sam and Dr. Fran this week at Sherman Oaks High School as they break down Netflix’s hit series, Never Have I Ever. Follow 15-year-old Devi Vishwakumar as she navigates grief, trauma, friendships, family and romance.

Drs. Sam and Fran help to explain why Devi’s legs may have “given out.” Spoiler alert: No Ben, she’s not faking it! The doctors also discuss traumatic grief and examine how Devi attempts to contend with the loss of her father, which includes getting attacked by a wild animal and trying to “bone” the hottest guy in school, “Paxton friggin Hall friggin Yoshida.” Maybe not the best coping mechanisms.

In honor of BIPOC/Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, we discuss disparities in mental health in underrepresented groups. Specifically, we discuss mental health in the South Asian American population through the lens of Devi. We also briefly share information about the diversity, or lack thereof, of psychologists in the U.S. workforce.

Finally, we break down the portrayal of teenagers in therapy—something with which both docs are very familiar. Can therapists really be as cool as Dr. Ryan? And should you ask your therapist to buy you a thong or alcohol? Listen to this week’s episode to find out. Girl, bye.  

Glossary of Terms

Functional rehabilitation approach– treatment approach that focuses on building independent management of symptoms and returning the person to their original level of activity

Psychosomatic–  a physical disorder that is caused by or influenced by emotional factors

Bereavement– experiencing the death of a loved one

Trauma reminder– something that reminds a person about a traumatic event they experienced (e.g., hearing sirens that reminds someone of their family member being rushed to the hospital)

Loss reminder– something that reminds a person about the death of a loved one (e.g., a belonging that belonged to the person who died, being around family members of the person who died)

Positive reminiscing– focusing on good memories and the good things about the relationship with the person who died

Avoidance– a coping strategy that involves efforts to ignore a stressor; often considered maladaptive or unhelpful

Alliance rupture– periods where are breakdowns in the therapeutic alliance or relationship

Grief facilitation– helping someone cope with their grief  (such as by participating in positive reminiscing or sharing comforting spiritual beliefs)


Happy Minority/BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month! And Disability Pride Month! Click the links to learn more about these important awareness initiatives.

Learn more about Conversion Disorder/Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder symptoms and treatment

Check out this fact sheet from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) on traumatic grief in children

If you’re interested in learning more about evidence-based treatments for childhood traumatic grief, click here

Watch actress, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Devi) and creator, Mindy Kaling discuss the portrayal of Hinduism and South Asian/Indian culture in “Never Have I Ever”

Want to read more about representation in the psychology workforce? Check out this data tool and Executive Summary from the American Psychological Association