HBM091: Hypnosis of Hunger

Producer Bethany Denton found a box in her basement storage room with two old cassette tapes inside. It took her a moment to realize what they were.

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Content Note:

Descriptions of disordered eating

Bethany has been fat her whole life, even when she was a kid. She ate hidden stashes of food when she felt anxious. By the time she was eleven years old, Bethany’s parents worried she would have health problems as as an adult, and they thought weight-loss hypnotherapy could help. The hypnotherapist tried to guide Bethany’s subconscious mind into making choices that would help her lose weight, like developing the ability to control her hunger with an imaginary dial in her mind. The hypnotherapist had Bethany visualize her favorite greasy, salty potato chips covered in vomit.  She had Bethany visualize her ideal, thin body, and affirmed that this ideal body was “who you really are.”  The therapist recorded their sessions and gave them to Bethany on cassette tapes.  She was supposed to use them to relax.

Fifteen years later, Bethany never lost the weight, never achieved that ideal body. But she doesn't really eat potato chips anymore either.

For information about treatment for disordered eating, visit The Emily Program.


Bethany Denton produced this episode and Jeff Emtman edited it. Here Be Monsters is part of KCRW’s Independent Producer Project, edited by Nick White and managed by Kristen Lepore.

Music: The Black Spot

Do you have questions about how the show is made? Ever wonder how Jeff and Bethany work together? Who the hell is this “Nick White” guy? Give us a call, and we’ll answer it in an upcoming mailbag episode. Call us at (765) 374 - 5263 or email us a voice memo.

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HBM027: Balancing Act

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For thousands of years, Western Medicine thought it had itself figured out. Everything came in fours. There were four sensations, four fluids in the body, four kinds of people, and four elements making up the world. They were all related. There wasn’t one without the other. Everything was a balancing act, and it was called Humorism.

In recent history, vaccines, sterilization, and other modern treatments have pushed Humorism out of the picture. But traditions ingrained in culture, science, and religion for thousands of years don’t just vanish. While few people still eat lemons to balance their yellow bile, or willingly drain their blood at the barber shop, elements of Humorism still play into modern society. They can be hard to see, but trust us, they’re here.

Music from: Lucky Dragons ||| Nym ||| The Black Spot

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