Guest Series
September 6, 2023

Guest Series | Dr. Paul Conti: How to Understand & Assess Your Mental Health

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This is episode 1 of a 4-part special series on mental health with psychiatrist Dr. Paul Conti, M.D., who trained at Stanford School of Medicine and completed his residency at Harvard Medical School before founding his clinical practice, the Pacific Premier Group. Dr. Conti defines mental health in actionable terms and describes the foundational elements of the self, including the structure and function of the unconscious and conscious mind, which give rise to all our thoughts, behaviors and emotions. He also explains how to explore and address the root causes of anxiety, low confidence, negative internal narratives, over-thinking and how our unconscious defense mechanisms operate. This episode provides a foundational roadmap to assess your sense of self and mental health. It offers tools to reshape negative emotions, thought patterns and behaviors — either through self-exploration or with a licensed professional. The subsequent three episodes in this special series explore additional tools to further understand and improve your mental health.


  • 00:00:00 Dr. Paul Conti
  • 00:03:46 Sponsors: BetterHelp & Waking Up
  • 00:06:55 What is a Healthy Self?
  • 00:10:41 Agency & Gratitude; Empowerment & Humility
  • 00:16:13 Physical Health & Mental Health Parallels
  • 00:20:21 Structure of Self; Unconscious vs. Conscious Mind; “Iceberg”
  • 00:26:15 Defense Mechanisms; Character Structure “Nest”, Sense of Self
  • 00:31:27 Predispositions & Character Structure
  • 00:36:01 Sponsor: AG1
  • 00:37:27 Character Structure & Action States; Physical Health Parallels
  • 00:46:20 Anxiety; Understanding Excessive Anxiety
  • 00:53:12 Improving Confidence: State Dependence & Phenomenology; Narcissism
  • 00:59:44 Changing Beliefs & Internal Narratives
  • 01:06:04 Individuality & Addressing Mental Health Challenges
  • 01:11:21 Mental Health Goals & Growth
  • 01:17:32 Function of Self
  • 01:23:00 Defense Mechanisms: Projection, Displacement
  • 01:30:14 Projection, Displacement, Projective Identification
  • 01:34:50 Humor, Sarcasm, Cynicism
  • 01:40:41 Attention & Salience; Negative Internal Dialogue
  • 01:45:02 Repetition Compulsion & Defense Mechanism, Trauma
  • 01:58:55 Mirror Meditation & Self Awareness; Structure & Function of Self, “Cupboards”
  • 02:04:57 Pillars of the Mind, Agency & Gratitude, Happiness
  • 02:13:53 Generative Drive, Aggressive & Pleasure Drives
  • 02:21:33 Peace, Contentment & Delight, Generative Drive; Amplification
  • 02:24:18 Generative Drive, Amplification & Overcoming
  • 02:33:00 Over-Thinking, Procrastination, Choices
  • 02:42:20 Aggressive, Pleasure & Generative Drives, Envy
  • 02:49:46 Envy, Destruction, Mass Shootings
  • 02:55:38 Demoralization, Isolation, Low Aggressive Drive
  • 03:02:50 Demoralization, Affiliate Defense
  • 03:09:32 Strong Aggressive Drive, Competition, Generative Drive Reframing
  • 03:20:02 Cultivating a Generative Drive, Spirited Inquiry of the “Cupboards”
  • 03:26:06 Current Mental Health Care & Medications
  • 03:35:33 Role of Medicine in Exploration
  • 03:40:41 Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Social Media, Momentous, Neural Network Newsletter

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