Professional Training & Certification

Instructor Training and Certification
Can anyone join a training? Are there prerequisites to apply?

We encourage anyone who is interested to apply for training. All applicants must consent to and pass a background check prior to admission, and The Safety Team reserves the right to reject or dismiss candidates for safety concerns or any other reason.

What can I do with an ESD/TESD certification?

With either ESD or TESD professional certification, you can bring these programs back to your local community. Professional opportunities have increased as Empowerment Self-Defense gains recognition and momentum around the world. People qualified to offer ESD are employed by colleges, NGOs, social service organizations, and law enforcement agencies, and increasing requests from schools, colleges, businesses, organizations and individuals are supporting a growing number of ESD contractors and organizations. ESD  is also a great complementary offering for professional educators, guidance counselors, physical education teachers, as well as health, sex and consent educators.

Mental health professionals have the opportunity to add a powerful new modality to their toolbox that has potential to qualify for third-party funding. Vermont currently runs a model program where federal victim assistance funds cover TESD therapy for survivors of sexual assault or other interpersonal violence.

What’s the difference between ESD and TESD certification?
ESD, or Empowerment Self-Defense Certification, enables graduates to offer workshops, courses and/or private tutoring in Empowerment Self-Defense to anyone age 12 and up. TST’s ESD certification includes thorough neuroscience-based training in trauma informed guidelines.This includes information about how to prevent, recognize and respond to trauma activation should it occur, which is crucial to the responsible provision of ESD courses. However, ESD certification does not equip graduates to provide therapy.

TESD, or Therapeutic Empowerment Self-Defense Certification, is designed specifically to deliver trauma treatment to survivors of sexual assault or other interpersonal violence. TESD training and certification is provided primarily for licensed therapists, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists or other health care providers who would like to offer an extraordinarily effective new modality that promotes especially rapid healing. We also certify people with complementary backgrounds who will work in partnership with a mental health provider to deliver TESD.

How long are ESD and TESD certification courses?

We offer a 4 day certification course for ESD, which is designed for health and wellness professionals,  social service staff, human resource professionals, middle school/high school/college educator, guidance counselors, fitness instructors, and martial arts instructors. More information can be found here.

We also offer a 4 day certification program for TESD, which is an integrated mind-body treatment for trauma recovery.  This program is designed for mental health professionals, allied health professionals,  , guidance counselors or other educators who have some background training in trauma and trauma recovery. Continuing education credits are available. Details are here.

What does certification cost?

Each 4-day certification course includes consultation/mentoring once the course is completed. Total cost for each certification course is $1500 for ESD and $2000 for TESD. Thanks to a generous donation from the Canaday Family Charitable Trust for 2023 and 2024, the cost is significantly reduced for Vermont and out-of-state residents. Space is limited.

Are there continuing education and/or recertification requirements after the initial training?

Yes.  We want each new instructor to be delivering up to date and effective trainings.

I’d like to sign up with a colleague. Is there a discount for multiple registrants?

Yes, we actually encourage people to sign up with a professional colleague as it facilitates implementing the programs after the training.  Contact Genie@TheSafetyTeam.Org for current pricing.

Next TESD Training Session

May 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th

Next ESD Training Sessions

Third weekend of the month   starting June 16th, July 20th, August 17th and September 22nd


Recently I participated in the Therapeutic Empowerment Self Defense (TESD) training in my role as a psychologist. This program combines individual therapeutic sessions and small group empowerment self defense sessions for women who have experienced assaults. I have been treating trauma for many years and found this approach to be unique and excellent. TESD incorporates both the mind and body to integrate/reprocess trauma experiences by having the women learn about traume and practice empowerment self-defense techniques. The training mirrors what participants will experience. A key component is the “challenge/sharing by choice” component. All participants share and engage when, how and if they want. This is vital as some trauma treatments incorporate sharing of the trauma event and many are not able or ready to do this. TESD gives participants choice and timing based on their readiness. Personally, I already feel more empowered and safer in the world and can’t wait to extend this to other women! Thank you Safety Team for your careful, fun shepherding of our group of clinicians through this very important training. I encourage all mental health clinicians to explore TESD!

— Krista

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