Yes, YOU can become a Certified Hypnosis Instructor! Here’s HOW!

I received a question via email . . . one that I have received a few times so I thought I’d pass the answer here as well.

In a nutshell, YES, you can become a Certified Instructor for the Society of Experiential Trance . . . here’s how.

“Dr. Phillips, how can I get the training and Certification to become Certified Instructor for Society of Experiential Trance. I see you add people sometimes but I can’t find requirements on how I can train to be teacher for SET on the webpage or how much it costed.”

The reason you can’t find the requirements is because there is no formal trainer’s training program for the Society of Experiential Trance.

The reason you cannot find the instructor’s fees is because we do NOT charge for Certified Instructorships and their membership in the Society is gratis as long as they maintain an active status within the Society which means they fulfill certain training and community-building obligations each review period.

We don’t have a train-the-trainer program either as our instructorships are typically granted by peer nomination or by special vetting invitation for certain persons who are considered to have contributed significantly to the community at large and who are considered to have generally respected reputation.

We do wish instructors to do their part in building the membership and in enhancing the Community at large.

I know most professional societies, particularly those specializing in hypnosis, do charge their instructors and most have aggressive instructor recruitment programs. However, we are less concerned about pyramid growth schemes or accelerated membership increases than we are in building a competence-based community and engaging in generally worthwhile community-building programs (most of which are fairly non-partisan in their make up – the Community at and the Hypnosis Technique Exchange at are examples of these sort of efforts as is our peer-reviewed Journal of Experiential Trance at

We have opted for the invitation and gratis instructorship model as part of our open-community model. This is the same model that has led us to make an effort to keep membership fees down so that persons facing economic duress are still able to afford to be part of a formal hypnosis organization without skimping on competence or skill development. At least this is the model we work by at this time..

To maintain a Certified Instructorship, one is required to certify a minimum number of persons per year (either basic Hypnotist Certification or Specialist Certifications are acceptable) with provisions toward conducting certain community-building activities such as contributing to the Journal or conducting a session of the Trance Society Community‘s free webinar series or other activities.

Here’s a Helpful Hint from Hypnotic Heloise . . . before even considering pursuing appointment as a Certified Instructor for the Society of Experiential Trance, it’s a very good idea to determine if you’re actually qualified and whether or not you are competent in the skillsets requried of members . . . so . . . run, don’t walk, to the webpages at and check the lists of skillsets required for basic member hypnotist certification as well as the lists for any of the specialties you are interested in teaching. If there is something on the list you are unfamiliar with, then you had best GET FAMILIAR and most importantly GET VERY COMPETENT in those skillsets as that’s what you would be expected to teach and vette your own applicants on . . . that means an ability to explain the techniques thoroughly with demonstrations all performed with a high degree of competence from memory (sorry, but if you are unable to work without notes in order to remember an induction or process then you are not what we are looking for) as well as an ability to vette demonstrational skillset examinations by others. This is a very important point . . . most of the required skillsets are pretty straightfoward if you have general competence and a solid hypnosis education background. However, there are a few of the skillsets in the basic as well as a number of the specialties that are SET-specific.

As stated earlier, we do not conduct a train-the-trainer type program nor do we seek out new instructors based upon a fee payment. Rather, we do not have an aggressive program of recruitment as we treat the Society more like an honors society than a commercial entity. We do periodically invite new instructors to join us who we know to be competent and who we feel add particular specializations or insights to the mix to strengthen both the general competence and knowledge of members but also add variety to the Society.

New instructorships are typically granted via vetted nomination or are based upon honors invitation. The SET President (that’s me, Brian David Phillips), acting with the authority of the private honors advisory board infrequently invites persons of particular standing and competence to join the SET as a Certified Instructor. Additionally, persons who are already Certified Instructors may nominate new instructors. Ideally a nominee will have the endorsement of at least two current instructors before moving forward with vetting. We would rarely take petitions form persons who do not have nominations and in such unusual cases we would be very unlikely to consider someone who did not carry a recognized stellar reputation of some sort with them. Certainly petitioners would be expected to already have qualified for membership and two to three specialization certifications before applying for such consideration (it is rare, but certainly not impossible). Candidates for instructorship should ideally already be members of the SET for at least one year prior to nomination (although this is not a requirement for the exceptional cases) and should be considered highly competent. Along with one’s petition, a candidate should normally have the endorsement of at least two current Certified Instructors who are willing to place their reputation behind the candidate’s nomination (please do NOT assume folks will vouche for you, get permission and fair indication first as they will be contacted and asked to speak frankly), and the candidate must submit a professional biography of their hypnosis experience along with videos that demonstrate their competence in hypnosis and their competence as a hypnosis trainer. Typically, the video component of the petition would be a submission of material typically in the minimum range of four to eight hours of video of sessions and/or classroom instruction, usually at least twice that for persons who are submitting a petition without invitation or nomination. If you have particular specializations you are interested in offering, it is wise to include video footage related to those specialties as well. No, a single Youtube video is not sufficient. Seriously, if you don’t have or won’t submit video records of competence or excellence in full session work (complete unedited footage) or instructorship, it is extremely unlikely your petition would be given any reasonable weight or consideration. Please bear in mind that all video submissions for performance or qualification vetting are not returned so never submit your only copy. All submissions are kept in confidence.

Of course, there are a number of factors that go into the advisory board’s final decision as to whether or not to accept a petition or nomination for Certified Instructorship. Most are based upon competence and specialization and the like in terms of what the board feels the candidate brings to the table with them that would benefit the Society and the community at large along with their competence and instructor experience or aptitude. There are other factors that also come into play such as geographic location and the like. Since the SET does not certify folks merely because they pay a fee and prefers to strive towards a demonstrational competence model for membership and certification, it is important that we accept folks who fit into the inherent assumptions of that model.

So, you see it is very very possible for folks to become Certified Instructors with the Society of Experiential Trance.

Honestly, for competent and experienced candidates, the SET approach to granting new Certified Instructorships is very straightforward and typically very positive in outcome . . . for those who are genuinely qualified.  Honestly, we’re more than happy to welcome qualified competent instructors into the SET family.  The advisory board has leeway in decisions but that’s the general process spelled out for you. For persons who are highly skilled and experienced, there are usually no great roadblocks. For those who are less experienced or who have not yet mastered all of the required skillsets, they would be very unlikely to pass the vetting process. Of course, for inexperienced folks or those who have some competence or knowledge issues, we would strongly suggest they work on those issues by going through certification vetting for basic and a few specializations as well before attempting anything like and instructorship petition.

I hope this has been helpful.

All the best,

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Brian David Phillips, PhD, CH [] Hypnotist, Hypnotherapist, Intuitionist, Trance Wizard
President, Society of Experiential Trance
Associate Professor, NCCU, Taipei, Taiwan