Episode 348: ChatGPT for Mental Health and Productivity – My Best Tips

Like most of the world, I have been obsessed with AI tools such as ChatGPT. However, I think they are more than a gimmick. I have been using them every single day to help improve my work and personal life. In this episode, I walk you through the ways that I use ChatGPT and other AI models and I also provide you with some ideas about how you can use them to improve your own life and mental health.

As always, you can send me questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode348

This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp – if you are in a position where you put yourself last and other first, you may be at risk of burnout. Get the help and perspective that you need from a licensed professional at betterhelp.com/duff for 10% off.


I’ve been using large language model AI programs like ChatGPT and Google Bard every single day, and I’ve found that they are changing the way I think. In this episode, I want to share with you the ways in which I personally use these AI programs and also suggest some ways that they could support you in your life and mental health.

So, what are ChatGPT and Google Bard? They are two primary tools that I use, and they are both free. To explain how they work, I will open ChatGPT and ask it to explain.

“ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence language model that can engage in conversations with users to answer their questions, provide information, or simply chat. It is a computer program that has been trained on vast amounts of text data to understand natural language and generate responses that are relevant and appropriate to the input it receives. It can also complete tasks such as language translation, summarizing text, or even generating new content based on specific prompts. ChatGPT is designed to be an intelligent and helpful assistant that can provide quick and accurate information on a wide variety of topics, and is available 24/7 to anyone with an internet connection.”

One of the main differences between these tools is that Bard is connected to the internet. In my experience, it’s not quite as strong as ChatGPT, but the ability to actually access the internet in real time and provide you with local results and current information is very powerful.

When using ChatGPT, keep in mind a few things:

  • The more information you give it, the better.
  • If you didn’t get a result that you like, let it know and ask it to try another way.
  • It keeps track of all information within a given session. You can go back to these sessions later on and continue. Therefore, you can build it into whatever type of tool you want. Bard clears its chat after each use.
  • You can give it a personality and name if you’d like.

Now, let’s talk about how I have been using these AI programs. One way that I’ve been using it is for research assistance. I’m currently writing my next book and I’m always working on podcast outlines. One of the things that I want to be sure to do is integrate actual clinical research. For my book, I have asked it questions like “What are the primary medications that are used as mood stabilizers?” or “Generate a table of the most common postpartum mental health difficulties with symptoms and prevalence rates.”

I have also used it to ask specific questions like, “Is there any research that suggests people with PTSD have physiological changes in the brain?” The best part is you don’t just have to take its word. You can ask it to provide citations for its claims. It’s also a good idea to go verify the primary literature.

Another way that I’ve been using ChatGPT is for report writing. It’s super helpful in a variety of ways. I almost always have ChatGPT up when I am working on a neuropsychological assessment report. I can copy and paste all of a patient’s medications and ask it to tell me the generic name, brand name, mechanism of action, any cognitive side effects, and any interactions with the other meds on the list. I can also have it summarize or restate medical information for me.

For example, if there is an imaging report or other diagnostic report that I may not be familiar with, I can paste it in and ask it to explain it to me. When it comes to conclusions and determining possible conditions, it can also be helpful. I am obviously going to be the one driving the clinical interpretation and conclusions, but it’s a good way to make sure I’m not missing anything.

I have also found that ChatGPT is a great partner to brainstorm and explore ideas with. For example, I had a situation recently where I was listening to a podcast where a neuroscientist was talking about using psychedelics to open up critical periods of development. She mentioned that the other way is through deprivation. Then I had a therapy patient go on a silent meditation retreat where they were basically deprived of not only speech but social interaction. I thought there could be a connection.

So, I asked it if it could think of any connection between the two and it came up with some ideas. From there, I was able to learn more about mice studies that they have done to investigate reopening critical periods of development. From there, I went down a bit of a rabbit hole of asking it more information like whether it could summarize some studies, how it is that researchers measure the number of synapses in a brain etc.

I’m telling you, it’s a quick way to learn a lot, especially if you have some existing expertise in a subject. It’s a great tool for transforming information as well. I use it all the time now for the podcast. For example, I will paste in the detailed outline that I write for each episode and ask it to turn it into paragraph format, so it reads more like a transcript.

I can also have it take pieces of info and write a blog post for me. The blog posts can require more direction to get the tone and length right, but they also serve as a great starting point for going in and making your own adjustments. Most of these tools can create tables, code, and probably other methods of outputting data as well. So, if you ask it some questions, you can then tell it to compile that information into a table or create a bulleted list of the primary points.

I mentioned this a bit already in terms of summarizing research, but ChatGPT is really good at summarizing information. You can direct it to a webpage and ask it to summarize or pull out key points from whatever is there. Or you can paste in information. For certain commonly accessible information, like the plots to books or movies, you can also just ask it to tell you about it.

The other day, I wanted to know more about the term Catch-22, so I asked it and it told me it was from the book. I asked it for more context and it told me that it’s from a particular scene from the book. When I pushed it more, it provided some relevant quotes from the book that illustrated the way the term was described.

For those that are content creators, ChatGPT is an obvious tool to help out. It can help you generate content or ideas for content. I have been playing around with asking it to create a carousel post on Instagram about a given topic. Often, I won’t use the actual copy that it creates, but it will give me the framework that I need to make my own.

But if you were someone who owns a mom and pop shop and you’re just looking to have a better online presence, you could totally just go with what ChatGPT spits out, and you will have a lot of ready-made content. It can also write captions, find influencers for you to reach out to, discuss strategy for social media, and probably many other applications I’m not even thinking of. For these purposes, I would probably tell it what function to play. I would describe my company and tell it to act as my social media manager.

The last thing that I will mention about my own favorite uses for ChatGPT is that it makes a great platform to have fun and play games. Since it’s an AI, the options are almost limitless. Obviously, at the moment, it’s not generating video or visuals within the app, so you can’t have a full graphic experience, but you can totally have it run you through text-based games.

I had it run me through a scenario about being on a space station that was abandoned. I’ve also had it make a more standardized rule set similar to Dungeons and Dragons where it rolls dice to determine combat, you have statistics, and there are items that you can put in your inventory. It’s pretty great because it’s not rigid. For example, in the space station scenario, there was an alien lifeform I was trying to capture that was attracted to heat, so I asked it if there were any chemicals that could be used to create an exothermic reaction. It took what I was thinking and integrated it into the story.

I have also had it give me trivia questions to answer. I’m sure it could play blackjack or dice games. As long as you keep working with it, I’m sure there are all sorts of fun ways that you could make up games together. Overall, I just think that it’s important to not be afraid of these new technologies. They can definitely help to enhance the work that we do and can save us a lot of time in the process.

Let’s discuss some of the limitations of ChatGPT. Firstly, it has a static data set compared to internet access, which means that it may not always provide the most up-to-date or accurate information. Additionally, there are character limits, although there are ways to work around this.

Sometimes ChatGPT also provides suggestions that are not entirely accurate. For example, it may suggest that it can perform a certain task, such as maintaining a daily journal or providing reminders, when it cannot. However, if you are aware of its limitations, you can call it out and it will acknowledge its mistake.

Despite these limitations, there are many ways that ChatGPT can help with mental health. For instance, you could use it as a platform for journaling, either by using it once or returning to the same chat whenever you want to journal. You could even ask it questions about your journal entries.

ChatGPT can also assist in teaching mindfulness and meditation, guiding you through breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. You can even generate custom guided meditation scripts based on specific locations or themes. If you prefer, you can use voice synthesizer AI to have the scripts read out loud to you.

Furthermore, ChatGPT can help with goal planning and cognitive-behavioral techniques, such as identifying negative thoughts and cognitive distortions. You can use it as a virtual support group, though some modifications may be necessary. It can also be used for inner child work or as an educational tool for learning more about mental health issues.

  • If you are looking to make changes in your life, ChatGPT can help with job applications, resume writing, and cover letters. This can be particularly helpful if you are someone who is feeling stuck and needs to make a change. For example, if you are unhappy in your current job, you can use ChatGPT to help you with your job search. You can feed it information about the type of job you are looking for, and it can help you find job openings that match your qualifications.

Once you have found a job that you are interested in, you can use ChatGPT to help you write your resume and cover letter. This can be especially helpful if you are someone who struggles with writing. You can give ChatGPT the job description and ask it to generate a resume and cover letter for you. You can then edit and refine the document to make it your own.

In addition to job applications, ChatGPT can also help you with other life changes. For example, if you are trying to start a new hobby or learn a new skill, you can use ChatGPT to help you find resources and information. You can ask it questions like “What are some beginner-friendly resources for learning to paint?” or “Can you recommend some online courses for learning to code?”

Overall, ChatGPT is a powerful tool that can help you in many different areas of your life. Whether you are looking to improve your mental health, learn a new skill, or make a change in your career, ChatGPT can help you get there. While it is not a replacement for real human interaction, it can be a helpful tool to have in your arsenal.

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