Subversive Science: Isabella Constantino on NXIVM’s Tourettes Study (Part 1)

Subversive Science: Isabella Constantino on NXIVM’s Tourettes Study (Part 1)

This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp.

NXIVM’s timeline unfolds like a (horror) film with its own subplots. One of the cult’s best known smaller mythologies was its ability to cure Tourette's Syndrome, which is a condition in the nervous system that causes tics like sudden and uncontrollable movements or vocal outbursts. It should be noted that while there are certainly various treatments for managing TS, there is still no known cure. 

This explains why today’s guest, Isabella Constantino, was attracted to NXIVM and the extraordinary results they were boasting about with their TS study. Ultimately, Constantino wound up postponing her last semester of college and moving to Albany in order to engrain herself in the study and to pursue personal growth, both of which she did for a total of three years before finally escaping. Now, she’s spent half a decade recovering her “sense of self” and navigating life post-NXIVM. 

But how did NXIVM actually approach this “scientific” study, and what abusive methods did they apply from their typical conditioning in order to combat Tourette’s? Lastly, did any of their techniques actually help with TS, and if so, at what cost? 


For more about Isabella Constanto, check out her site, Instagram, and Facebook: 





Please note, this series includes details of sexual abuse. Listener discretion is strongly advised. If you, or someone who know, is a survivor of sexual assault, abuse, grooming, child abuse, or human trafficking, RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline offers support at 800.656.HOPE (4673).



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Executive Producers: Sarah Edmondson & Anthony Ames

Production Partner: Citizens of Sound

Producer: Will Retherford

Senior Producer: Jess Tardy

Writer: Mathias Rosenzweig

Theme Song: “Cultivated” by Jon Bryant co-written with Nygel Asselin