The Quest Institute – Our Story
Trevor and Rebecca Silvester, a husband and wife team formed the Quest Institute in 2000 but our origins started long before that. Here’s a brief history of how Quest came to be:
Trevor (Quest Founder) joins Thames Valley Police
In 1990 he transferred to the Metropolitan police, and a year later became a trainer at the Metropolitan Police Training School in Hendon. While there he became the head of a unit dedicated to helping students who were failing the course. He pioneered the use of NLP and hypnosis to improve their performance and over a three year period 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, he established a hypnotherapy clinic that he ran in the evenings and weekends – it made for a busy three years! When he left the police in 1998 to become a full-time hypnotherapist, Bex continued the work in that unit, and became qualified in NLP and hypnotherapy also.
The Quest Training centre is founded
Trevor was working as a trainer for other schools, but was quickly frustrated by the traditional framework, so, in 2000 he and Bex decided to combine their skills and launch the Quest Institute to teach the approach that Trevor had evolved – Cognitive Hypnotherapy. The first course launched at Regents University in April 2000 with a class of 10.
Trevor Publishes ground breaking Wordweaving Book winning ‘Researcher of the year’ title
Hypnotic suggestion is a core feature of our approach and has always been a particular fascination for Trevor. Launching the Diploma course gave him the opportunity to reverse engineer how he shaped the spontaneous suggestions he gave to his clients, and from that, Wordweaving emerged. A book seemed the ideal teaching tool, and since 2003 it’s been reprinted on multiple occasions. It won Trevor the prize of Researcher of the Year, awarded by the National Council for Hypnotherapy that same year.
First Master Practitioner Course
Students were keen to deepen their knowledge within the Quest framework, so the Master Practitioner course was born, open only to Quest graduates. Its overall purpose has always remained the same, despite it being the subject of regular revisions. We’ve always been inspired by Bruce Lee’s aspiration to ‘Be like water.’ We want graduates to understand the principles that underpin any technique and cause them to work. By doing so they can let go of fixed ways of working, and flow with the client through the therapy process. It inspires a deep simplicity in their approach, and a perfect platform for their creativity as therapists.
Trevor is the Keynote Speaker at the NCH conference
This coincided with the publication of Trevor’s second book, The Question is the Answer, which described the core framework of Cognitive Hypnotherapy.
As keynote speaker he was able to bring our approach to a larger audience of our peers.
Cognitive Hypnotherapy: What’s that about and how can I use it? published
This book completed the trilogy of titles which capture the essence of how we work. You can find out more about the books and purchase them here.
QCH Therapy research project launched
We were aware that CBT had gained a great deal of popularity because of its ability to point at research undertaken to prove its effectiveness. We were also aware of the dearth of research within hypnotherapy. We decided to test our method by comparing it with the other major talk therapies used within the NHS – including CBT. We used outcome measures used by doctors by which clients/patients self-assess their progress. It was a huge undertaking…
Quest became an Institute, confirming it’s expert status
We had called ourselves an Institute since the beginning, without realising that it was a protected term, only to be used with the permission of Companies House. Thankfully, somebody reported us for this, which caused us to have to make a case for our suitability – bearing in mind we were told that ‘institutes are organisations that typically undertake research at the highest level or are professional bodies of the highest standing.’ Long story short, we were successful, and became an Institute for real! We remain grateful to whoever reported us. A full blog article about it is here: https://www.questinstitute.co.uk/were-an-institute/
Research study published Mental Health Review Journal
This was huge! After years of work by an exceptional group of people, our pilot study was published and… drum roll… it showed that with clients suffering from anxiety and depression, in an average of six sessions, 71% reported themselves recovered, compared to 42% of people using other IAPT therapies (such as CBT). The conclusion of the report was “QCH may offer a brief effective treatment for clients with clinically significant levels of anxiety and/or depression, widening client choice”. To the best of our knowledge, we remain the only hypnotherapy school who has its own research demonstrating the effectiveness of what it teaches, and what its graduates achieve.
With the publication of our research project, we realised that we needed to be able to grow Cognitive Hypnotherapy as a distinct brand, separate to traditional hypnotherapy, so to that end we launched the Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy Practitioners Association, which was formed as a Community Interest Company (CIC) so that all money remained within it for the benefit of its members. It’s purpose is to build public recognition of QCH and what it can do to help, to support its members in achieving ethical prosperity, and to grow our community’s competence by being a resource for ongoing learning and professional development.
It is now a thriving member services organisation with a brilliant Qwikipedia full of therapy resources, a My Quest Hub, where the public can find things to help them with a wide range of issues, and a Therapist Finder so the public can find the right member for them. It hosts for three free CPD webinars per year, along with a whole day of teaching, and runs a Questival where the whole tribe of Quest can gather and enjoy each other’s company within a day of learning. And there’s more, but we don’t want to be too boasty.
Quest delivers the training online, opening up globally for the first time.
We strongly believe that in every challenge lies an opportunity. The pandemic proved it. Within a month Trevor had translated the course into a purely online format, and it ran successfully, with great reviews. It made us appreciate the benefits of an online platform, so in 2021, Q43 launched as a hybrid package. Students now have the freedom to watch the theoretical aspects of the course as many times as they need, in the comfort of their own home, and then come together for five weekends – either online or in-person to practice their skills. It means that people who were unable to physically attend can now graduate, as well as people from abroad. It really helps us to build a global brand. The future is very exciting, and it feels a long way from that class of ten in a small room at Regents. Onward.