Who are we?

Bex and I 2014webWe’re Trevor and Rebecca Silvester, a husband and wife team who formed The Quest Institute in 2001, originally to promote the use of Cognitive Hypnotherapy and NLP for people with serious illness.

Along the way we evolved into something broader by recognising that we could bring the benefits of our approach to a much wider audience by training competent and ethical practitioners, and supporting them as they built their practices.

Robert FrostWe were Police Officers for many years before finding a fascinating new way of helping people. While trainers at the Metropolitan Police Training School in Hendon, we pioneered the use of NLP and hypnosis in a unit dedicated to improving the performance of students who were failing their training. Over a three year period we developed a learning system based on NLP principles that could guarantee an improvement of 10-30% with only two and a half hours of coaching. Simultaneously I (Trevor) was establishing a hypnotherapy clinic that I ran in the evenings and weekends – it made for a busy three years!

I discovered that many of the principles I’d developed with students who were scared of exams or had poor study skills, applied just as much to members of the public with a wide variety of presenting problems – and that they could be helped quickly too. Often it comes down to us not understanding how our brains work, and how to help them work better, so we’re often left at the mercy of a mental programme that runs for a positive reason, but with a negative effect. I believe that all such programmes, from smoking to phobias, to anxiety disorders, to confidence issues can all be changed. From this emerged the approach we’ve come to call Cognitive Hypnotherapy.

When it came time for me to return to street duties we decided to plough a different furrow. I resigned and ran a full-time practice, as well as being brought in by several hypnotherapy schools to teach elements that I’d gained a reputation for – hypnotic language and the reframing of past events. Three years later Rebecca joined me and we launched Quest. We were very keen to teach a cognitive hypnotherapy course that we completely believed in, uncluttered by the tradition and dogma that I found abounded in hypnotherapy training.

We both felt there was a niche for mainstream people who wanted to train in a modern approach to hypnotherapy based on sound science. We also felt that the public wanted to go to see those kinds of people too. We’ve been proven right on both counts. We attract students from a wide range of backgrounds who attract clients from a wide range of backgrounds, and we invest our time in helping them after graduation because it’s fun to see them build something they love and believe in, and also because they’re a great advert for us. In so many ways Quest is now much more than the two of us.

Q35webWe hope you can tell that the principle of service is important to us. Our mission statement has become:

“Serving the public by creating a network of ethical and competent practitioners of Cognitive Hypnotherapy. Serving our students and members by providing cutting edge training and quality support”.

We’re committed to the evolution of Cognitive Hypnotherapy as a source of health, personal empowerment and a greater understanding of human potential. Through the provision of a professional and competent service to the public we also aim to achieve ethical prosperity for all our members.

The people who make Quest tick are:
Me 2014

Trevor Silvester: The Principal Trainer

Trevor is the founder of Cognitive Hypnotherapy and the Training Director of The Quest Institute. He is a practising Hypnotherapist with a clinic in Harley Street. He was the editor of the Hypnotherapy Journal of the National Council for Hypnotherapy for nine years, and was  their Director of Ethics and Supervision for a further five  until he stepped down in 2011.

He is a Fellow of the National Council for Hypnotherapy and in 2003 received their Researcher of the Year Award for his ground-breaking book Wordweaving: The Science of Suggestion. He was a Keynote speaker at their international conference in 2006, and in 2007 received their highest honour, the Hartland Memorial Award, for his outstanding contribution to Hypnotherapy.

Trevor has gained a reputation as one of the leading experts in the theory and practice of hypnotic language, and his integration of modern scientific discoveries into the practical aspects of therapy has made him one of the key figures in the modern therapy field. His books have gained him a worldwide audience, and students travel from all over the world to train with him.

To promote Cognitive Hypnotherapy Trevor contributes to a wide range of national magazines, and  has appeared on BBC radio on several occasions, including appearing regularly, with Rebecca,  on the Jeni Barnett show on BBC London as resident Agony Aunt and Uncle.

You can listen to him on the Steve Wright show on BBC Radio Two here: R2 Steve Wright

Sport is one of Trevor’s principal passions, both as a participant, and as a mind coach.He is a student of both Kickboxing and Wing Chun Kung Fu and has written for UltraFit, Combat and Running Fitness magazines. He races at distances up to half marathons and he and Bex practice yoga. His clients have included professional fighters (boxing and UFC), Olympic runners and TeamGB level Judoka.

In 2011 he was asked by Camilla Batmanghelidjh,  of the wonderful charity Kids Company, to begin working with staff and kids as their inhouse Cognitive Hypnotherapist.

Bex 2014web

Rebecca SIlvester: Operations Director

Rebecca is an NLP Master Practitioner and Cognitive Hypnotherapist with many years experience in the training field. What her title really means is that it’s her organisational and people skills that keep Quest working.

Don’t bother asking Trevor anything about dates, money, or planning, it’s Rebecca who’ll have the answer.

In addition to her role within Quest, Bex was formerly a member of the UKCHO (United Kingdom Confederation of Hypnotherapy Organisations) comittee, in her capacity as chair of that organisation’s training schools sub-committee, which assisted and advised on developing training standards and policy.


Jan Gilbertson: Office Manager

Jan is our right hand woman, and a dear friend. She makes any number of essential things happen that we have long forgotten need doing. She is likely to be your first point of contact if you ring or email. If you ring, notice how she says “Institoot”. We nearly changed our name to suit her. While you’re on, she is a graduate of Quest, so can offer a personal perspective on the training, while also being a practising Cognitive Hypnotherapist serving the Newmarket area. In her spare time she sings like an angel.

Jax and Anita

Anita and Jackie: Interview Team

Anita Mitchell and Jackie Bastin are probably going to be the first people you meet face to face in Quest, although Rebecca often helps out. We think it’s vital that you choose the right course to fulfil your needs, and we’ve found over the years that meeting potential students makes a huge difference to who we attract into Quest. We couldn’t wish for two better examples of Quest graduates to meet and greet you. They’ll put you at ease and answer all your questions, while asking a few of their own in a very informal meeting – it’s as much about you choosing us as us choosing you.

Anita (left) qualified with Quest in 2007, and has since become a great friend. She is a practising Cognitive Hypnotherapist with a clinic in Langley, Berkshire. A former black cab driver, she is now an avid Harley Davidson rider (it’s like a motor bike but slower). Jackie (right) and Trevor have been friends for over thirty years, since he served with Jackie’s husband Steve in the police at Slough. Jackie has worked as a Medical Practice Manager for many years, and trained with Quest in 2009. She now has a thriving clinic in Amersham, Bucks, and is a fellow miniature Schnauzer owner.

Sharon Corbridge: Research Manager

In 2012 we started a research project to prove the effectiveness of Cognitive Hypnotherapy. It involved recruiting and training in outcome measurement and data entry a team of Quest-trained Cognitive Hypnotherapists who were prepared to have their work measured. A wonderful bunch of people volunteered, and we now have a growing data set, and an initial report accepted for publication that shows that Cognitive Hypnotherapy has a success rate very favourably comparable to CBT. We’re the first hypnotherapists to be able to prove that our approach works. Sharon is the lovely manager of the team. She recruits and helps to induct new people wishing to join our team, liaises with us and our band of research writers, and generally keeps the show on the road. Sharon has a Masters degree in Health Psychology, qualified with us in 2010, and has a busy practice in Milton Keynes, Bucks.

Hospitality Director



Barney was a legend within Quest. He was there at the beginning and played an active part in our success all throughout the Noughties, including being the means by which several Quest students lost their dog phobias (plus using some of the techniques we teach, obviously).He had a wonderful gift for making people love him and we were bereft when he passed on in November 2010. To be honest, we couldn’t bear to take him off the page, so think of this as an ‘About Us’ page, past and present.


Fred and BettyHospitality Trainees

Anyone who follows my blog will know that, following the loss of Barney we brought Wilma, an adorable miniature Schnauzer into the company. Unfortunately we lost her after a year owing to a brain disease. Yet as one door closed somehow two more opened and we ended that same year with Fred and Betty (yes, we have pretty much exhausted the Flintstones theme now). Fred is the one with the attitude, Betty the obviously patient older sister.  They have proven themselves too fond of ripping up paper for admin to be a career path, so we’re hoping that hospitality proves their forte.