Our History

Our Counselling Training History

“The Legacy of Orca Institute: A Journey Through Hypnotherapy and Counselling Education”

Orca Institute, a pioneer in hypnotherapy education, was established on January 3, 1986, in response to the increasing demand for a specialized hypnotherapy school in British Columbia. Conceived and meticulously structured by Sheldon Bilsker, HT, RCC, the Institute’s mission was driven by the aspiration of practitioners to attain superior standards in hypnotherapy practice.

Our educational philosophy reflects our deep-seated belief in the innate healing ability of every individual. We strongly believe that given the right tools and support, everyone possesses the potential to heal themselves. This belief permeates our teaching approach, honouring the integrity and distinctiveness of each client—an essential trait for any therapist or healer.

The journey of our students does not end with their certification. We aim to grow alongside them, supporting their continuous evolution as practitioners. Sheldon Bilsker, recognizing the growing need for counselling skills in hypnotherapy, coined the term “Counselling Hypnotherapy” in 1998. Many hypnotherapy schools quickly adopted this concept, realizing its importance in providing comprehensive hypnotherapy education. Hence, we added the Counselling Skills Diploma Program to further enhance our students’ learning. We have recently decided to add a new series of short courses that will serve to enhance and develop current skills.

Our institute’s 37-year history mirrors the transformative journeys of our students. From our inception in the Student Union Building at UBC in Vancouver, our certification program has taken various forms, adapting to different environments such as a horse farm in Kelowna, BC, the orca-inhabited Alert Bay, BC, the boat-accessible Swartz Bay island, and cities like Nanaimo, Kamloops, Toronto, Calgary, and our home base, Vancouver. Our courses have also been disseminated through other schools, expanding our reach and influence.

Innovation has been a consistent theme throughout our history. We have continually sought to incorporate cutting-edge approaches to training delivery, becoming the first hypnotherapy school to deliver programs via videotape, subsequently transitioning to CDs, DVDs, and now, an online platform. Our digital shift has enabled students across the globe to access our high-quality training, given a reliable internet connection.

As Canada’s longest-running hypnotherapy school and the only one in BC with PTIB and EQA designation, we remain unwaveringly committed to our students past, present, and future success. Our core philosophy encapsulates this commitment: our students’ success is our success. With this belief, we continue to forge ahead, nurturing the next generation of Counselling and Hypnotherapy practitioners.

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