Ep. 17: Healing Your Relationship With Food Through Storytelling - Dr. Anita Johnston

Healing Your Relationship With Food Through Storytelling - Dr. Anita Johnston

Fables, folk tales and legends have always played a crucial role in the life and work of psychologist Anita Johnston. As a child, growing up in a mulitcultural extended family on the island of Guam, she was nurtured by strong women who taught important values and lessons about life through the stories they told and the songs they sang. Her mother, an American who married a Chamorro man, was a librarian whose personal library was filled with legends of ancient peoples, accounts of early Spanish explorers, and heroic tales from World War II, including those about her paternal grandmother who led the underground resistance movement during the Japanese occupation of Guam. It was also the traditional tales told by the Chamorro and Filipina women who cared for Dr. Johnston and her six siblings that gave her a sense of the power of stories to enlighten and instill change. 

Her interest in female psychology and the role of women in contemporary society sprang from her experience as a contestant in the Miss Universe contest when she was 18 years old. Her observations of what society dictated as feminine beauty and power, as opposed to the lessons learned from the women in her family, was a driving force in her decision to become a psychologist. After getting her B.A. and M.A. in psychology, she received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1980.  She combines her training as a psychologist with storytelling to teach complex concepts about disordered eating and body image issues.

Anita Johnston, Ph.D., is a Depth Psychologist and author of Eating in the Light of the Moon, which has been published in six languages.  She is the co-creator of the online course, Light of the Moon Café, which is an interactive “workbook” and women’s support circle for Eating in the Light of the Moon.

She has been working in the field of women’s issues and disordered eating for over 35 years and is currently the Clinical Director of ‘Ai Pono Hawaii which has a residential treatment program in Maui, and outpatient eating disorder programs in Honolulu and the Big Island of Hawaii.

Dr. Johnston provides individual consultations online, and conducts Soul Hunger workshops and professional trainings around the world, using metaphor and storytelling, along with her training as a clinical psychologist, to address the complex issues that underlie struggles with eating and body image. 


“In order to heal her disordered eating, a woman must embrace the darkness that precedes the renewal.” 

 – Dr. Anita Johnston

This Week on the Every Body Podcast: 

  • A story with a metaphor on body image
  • How metaphors and storytelling affect your brain 
  • The biggest changes Dr. Johnston has seen in 35 years working with eating disorders 
  • Why she works with metaphors and myth 
  • How to figure out the symbolic meaning of your food cravings
  • The phases of the feminine principle and archetypal energies available to everyone 

Food & Metaphor Guide: http://lightofthemooncafe.com

Connect with Dr. Anita Johnston: 


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Daria Matza