GUEST SERIES | Dr. Paul Conti: How to Build and Maintain Healthy Relationships


Huberman Lab

This is episode 3 of a 4-part special series on mental health with Dr. Paul Conti, M.D., a psychiatrist who did his medical training at Stanford School of Medicine and residency at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of the book, “Trauma: The Invisible Epidemic.” Dr. Conti explains how to find, develop and strengthen healthy relationships — including romantic relationships, work and colleague relationships, and friendships. He explains a roadmap of the conscious and unconscious mind that can allow anyone to navigate conflicts better and set healthy boundaries in relationships. We also discuss common features of unhealthy relationships and clinically supported tools for dealing with relationship insecurity, excessive anxiety, past traumas, manipulation and abuse. Dr. Conti explains how, in healthy relationships, there emerges a dynamic of the mutually generative “us” and how to continually improve that dynamic. The next episode in this special series explores true self-care, which can be cultivated through a process of building self-awareness along with other important practices.

For the full show notes, visit

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Waking Up:

Eight Sleep:



(00:00:00) Build Healthy Relationships

(00:02:04) Sponsors: BetterHelp & Waking Up

(00:05:01) Healthiest Self in Relationships

(00:10:51) Structure & Function of Self

(00:15:44) Relationships, Levels of Emergence

(00:22:48) Generative Drive in Relationships

(00:35:00) Sponsor: AG1

(00:36:26) Generative Drive, Aggressive Drive, Pleasure Drive

(00:45:16) Romantic Relationships & Matched Generative Drives, Trauma Bonds

(00:53:05) Generative Drive Expression, Libido, Giving & Taking

(01:04:29) Sponsor: Eight Sleep

(01:05:50) Generative Drive in Partnerships

(01:11:16) Libido, Avoidance & Working through Barriers

(01:18:02) Repeating Bad Relationship Patterns, Repetition Compulsion

(01:29:23) Narcissism, Dependence, Attachment Insecurity

(01:34:10) Abusive Relationships, Demoralization

(01:39:37) Oppressors, Darkness, Hope & Change

(01:48:08) Work Relationships, Oppression & Accountability

(01:53:53) Jealousy vs. Envy, Narcissism

(01:59:13) Power Dynamics in Relationships

(02:05:54) Giving vs. Taking in Relationships

(02:09:39) Transactions & Relationships; Family & Generative Drive; Flexibility

(02:19:47) Relationships & Kindergarten

(02:23:04) Anxiety in Relationships, Communication

(02:31:32) The “Magic Bridge of the Us”

(02:37:09) Mentalization, Getting into Another’s Mindset; Navigating Conflict

(02:46:51) Healthy Boundaries

(02:52:08) Self-Awareness, Mentalization

(02:55:28) “Broken Compass” & Self Inquiry, “Map” Analogy

(03:02:25) Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Social Media, Momentous, Neural Network Newsletter

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac


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