Episode 132: Learned Helplessness with Christine Sefein

Is it possible that the over-politicization of classroom education could be contributing in some way to the epidemic of mental health problems amongst teens and young adults? Clinical Psychologist, and child of Egyptian immigrants, Christine Sefein thinks we should not ignore this possibility. The modern vogue for activism that kids are learning focuses on the “systemic,” and actually valorizes victimhood. We are framing things for them within a problematic oppressor vs. oppressed framework. To a young person, when confronted with ideas that present a “really big, really bad” world, these problems can seem so big that they are powerless to confront them. This perpetual victim/hero complex could be leading to nihilism and hopelessness in a generation of students. Christine and I share a candid conversation about the basic principals of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that are being ignored or even contradicted in education. We discuss building gratitude cultures, the value of anxiety, and understanding the importance of “exposure therapy” when facing even the horror of performance anxiety!


Christine Sefein, LMFT(Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist), specialises in grief and trauma work and has held positions such as Clinical Director of OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center and Clinical Supervisor of the Interpersonal Violence programs at California Lutheran University. She has worked most extensively with grieving adults and children in a variety of communities and settings including dual-diagnoses residential facilities, intensive outpatient treatment, homeless shelters and in private practice. Christine was a full time Teaching Faculty in the Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology program at Antioch University Los Angeles until 2021. She currently works as a diversity training consultant, public speaker, parental rights advocate in K-12 education.

Contact info: csefein@christinesefeinmft.com

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