Dr. Christian Conte joins Chris to share life lessons on knowing yourself, stepping towards conflict, facing wounds, emptying your cup, understanding, and walking through anger with non-attachment.
Dr. Christian Conte is one of the country’s most accomplished mental health specialists in the field of anger and emotional management. A familiar figure on TV and radio, he is also a prolific writer, powerful communicator, and sought-after media expert. He was co-host of Coaching Bad and The Secret Life of Kids, and was the resident therapist for Family Therapy. Dr. Conte produces daily Emotional Management Minutes for over 300 radio stations, as well as hosting his own weekly show in Pittsburgh. He discussed his prison outreach in the TEDx talk, “Why I Chose to Go to Prison.’ His latest book, “Walking Through Anger” is out now. For more info, please visit, Dr.ChristianConte.com
Life Lessons: Knowing Thyself, Stepping Towards Conflict
Recall two defining moments which sparked him into helping others, Dr. Conte recounts a moment with his dad, and one with his mom. Inquiring with his Earth-scientist father about learning geology, his dad shared, ‘If you’re going to live on this one planet your entire, don’t you think you should get to know it?’ Dr. Conte would extrapolate that inward, into fully knowing himself psychologically. The other defining moment came when his mom told him never to sit back and watch a fight, but to always break it up.
“I will step toward conflict, not away from it. I spent a career—more than 21 years of clinical counseling experience—where I confront conflict head-on, but I do it in a way that avoids or circumvents people’s fight or flight responses. So, it’s not about charging in aggressively or using size. It’s about connecting with people and trying to make a genuine change.” – Dr. Christian Conte
For more Dr. Christian Conte on ‘Walking Through Anger’, and healing conflict, tune into Ep. 111 of the Metta Hour
Yield Theory: Facing Wounds & Understanding (13:00)
Offering advice on dealing with conflict, Dr. Conte shares his Yield Theory outlined in his book Walking Through Anger. Developed and refined since 1998, Yield Theory is a way to meet people where they are, circumvent their fight-or-flight response, and speak in ways that are actually heard. Dr. Conte likens it to rather than trying to drive an erratic driver off the road; instead, yielding to them at first, getting in their passenger seat so you see their view out the windshield, and from there, safely helping guide the wheel.
“There are two kinds of people in the world: people who have issues; and dead people. If you’re not dead, you have issues. That’s life. That has radically changed the way I participate in life. My first thought when people do something is, ‘There’s something that lead to that.’ Explaining behavior does not excuse it or make it ok, but explaining it does help us understand.” – Dr. Christian Conte
Face inner feelings head on, as Dale Borglum explores anger and the way of tantra, on Ep. 53 of Healing at the Edge
Walking Through Anger: Non-Attachment, Ram Dass, & Emptying Our Cups (23:52)
A Zen story shared by Dr. Conte, elucidating the power in emptying our cups, inspires Chris to share a memory about how the death of his teacher, Ram Dass, pointed to where he was still deeply attached to physical form. From this lens, Chris invites Dr. Conte to illuminate the nuanced path of non-attachment. Noting the three poisons depicted in Buddhism—greed, hate, and delusion—Dr. Conte offers perspective on how we can overcome rallying anger and hatred, trading those for humility and curiosity.
“It’s powerful to empty our cups. We’re really convinced that we have the answers. We’re really convinced that our way of thinking is the right way. And I think my experience has taught me that there are lots of different paths.” – Dr. Christian Conte
Join Chris’ root teacher, Ram Dass, as he lays out the path of non-attachment, accepting how it all is, on Ep. 144 of Here & Now
Source images via Christian Conte and @Mehaniq