The Van Tharp Institute Super Trader Program

The ultimate program for traders who are committed to being the best.

The mission of the Super Trader program is to not only transform your trading but also your life. To accomplish that mission, you will commit to investing a substantial amount of your time, money, and effort over the next few years. Regardless of your previous trading experience, you will work together with Dr. Tharp to define specific objectives for you to meet during the program and together you will also create a customized curriculum to help you reach those objectives.

The price of the super trader program will be increasing on August 1, 2019

Our Mission

The mission of The Super Trader Program is to totally transform both your trading and your life for the better. To accomplish this mission, you must be prepared to invest in yourself in many ways. While investing in your trading education is a big step financially, we are confident that your returns will be huge when you commit to investing your time and best effort toward your program approach with an intense desire to transform into the best version of yourself. This is a process you will engage in over the next few years and does require careful consideration.

A Unique Program

Regardless of your previous trading experience, students will work with Dr. Tharp to define specific objectives to meet during the program and create a customized curriculum to help them reach those objectives. This program is unique because each student comes from a different history and also have different trading goals. Students will complete Dr. Tharp’s Super Trader lessons, attend regular workshops, and send weekly reports to Dr. Tharp describing their progress. He will also help guide you to solve all the issues that hold you back in your trading life – many students realize that these same issues are mirrored in their personal lives as well. They are what keep you from being happy for no reason at all.

The Core Of The Super Trader Program

The primary mission of the Van Tharp Institute (VTI) is to help people transform. The Super Trader Program is the most comprehensive and effective way to achieve our mission — and we are able to accept a limited number of qualified, motivated students into this program each year. Super Trader is so much more than just figuring out how to trade more profitably. In fact, most students in our Super Trader program say that their personal transformations were just as important, if not more so, than the trading/financial improvement they saw as a result of their perseverance throughout the program. We are honored to be such an important part of their transformational journeys, and that we can support their trading goals in this way. We constantly receive calls or email stating “You’ve changed my life so much… I can’t thank you enough,” Messages like this keep Van out of retirement and motivates the entire staff.

The program itself is designed around the core elements that must be mastered in order to trade at the highest levels. As Dr. Tharp’s research has proven, transforming the self, treating your trading as a business, and developing trading systems that fit you all work together to ensure success.

No matter what market you choose, or what system you are using – trading is 100% psychological. Your beliefs, mental states, and mental strategies all inform the outcome of your time in the markets. For example, at the most basic level, the task of executing a trade involves the following mental strategy:

1) Seeing the signal that requires you to enter
2) Recognizing that signal is your entry signal
3) Feeling good about it, and then…
4) Acting on it by opening a position.

If you were to change that sequence of mental events just a little, even by hesitating a little by asking yourself what could go wrong, then it is likely that you would imagine something going wrong, not feel good as a result, and then be unable to take action at the appropriate time. Notice that even the action phase of trading is psychological. Because trading is entirely psychological, any unresolved psychological issues will show up in aspects of your trading. Psychological issues are revealed in peoples’ personal life as well, but the markets are an especially expensive place to learn about these shortfalls. Out of the entire program, the psychological phase typically takes the longest time to complete.

During his 30+ years of experience as a trading coach, Dr. Tharp has also found that successful traders treat trading like a business, as opposed to a hobby – as many traders tend to do. When you view your trading as a business, it allows you to cultivate discipline and structure as well as a professional approach that fosters consistent and profitable trading. Most people who want to run a successful business know that they need a thorough business plan – and trading is no exception. A business plan acts as a guide for everything involved with that business, and this applies equally if not more to a trading business. The second phase of the Super Trader program starts to bring into focus students desires for their dream life, and integrating this with a business plan allows for intense focus and direction.

Finally, traders must use positive expectancy systems that fit them well and the appropriate market types, in order to be successful at trading. In order to achieve this facet of the program, a trader must:

  • Possess a thorough understanding of the parts of a trading system
  • The systems development process
  • What kind of systems truly do fit them
  • How different systems work in different market types
  • Demonstrate knowledge, and also the application of that knowledge, in the markets as evidenced by live trading results in order to graduate from the program.

Five steps Of The Program

Dr. Tharp has taken the core elements for successful trading and developed a five-step process for the Super Trader Program. The programs organization structure is at three levels Super Trader I, II, and III. The core elements for success are incorporated at each track of the program. To graduate from the program, you must complete all five components to Dr. Tharp’s satisfaction.

Super Trader I – Tracks 1 and 2
Super Trader II – Track 3
Super Trader III – Tracks 4 and 5

Track 1

 Requires students to have a thorough understanding of Tharp Think principles of trading. This includes the information contained in Trading Beyond The Matrix, Super Trader, and Trade Your Way to Financial

Freedom books. Students must also learn the Tharp Concepts and know all of the terms in our glossary—both of which can be found on our website: In addition to these basic tenets, students will become proficient in the basics of position sizing™ strategies by playing the Position Sizing Game, completing the Position Sizing e-Learning Course, and passing the self-test in the Definitive Guide to Position Sizing Strategies. One of the first lessons of the program involves installing these beliefs into your neurology so they become second nature to you. However, before students accomplish this, they must thoroughly understand the concepts in order to make sure that they fit them.

Track 2

Focuses on a student’s personal psychology. In order to apply for the Super Trader program, a student must have already attended the Peak Performance 101 Workshop, and students can immediately begin the Peak Performance Home Study Course if they have not done so already. Dr. Tharp has structured a set of twenty-two Super Trader lessons to take you beyond the Peak Performance Home Study Course and help students explore their psychology more thoroughly.

During this step of the program, students will attend other psychological workshops in the Peak Performance series: Peak 202, Peak 203 – The Happiness Workshop, Peak 204 – Modeling Great Trading Through Mental Strategies, Infinite Wealth and the Oneness Awakening Workshop. The next step is to complete Libby Adams’ Academy of Self-Knowledge 28-day course.

When students have completed the twenty-one psychological lessons to Dr. Tharp’s approval and can document five major issues that have changed for them through the program, a major facet of the psychological portion of their trading transformation will be complete. Does this mean that they will only have five transformations in their life? No, of course not! But, once students have documented five, students should be able to recognize future psychological issues as they come up and handle them with the skills they have learned in the first part of their journey. Certainly, other things are expected to come up as students cross over into the technical learnings in Super Trader II.

Track 3

Students work on creating their dream life and integrating it with a business handbook created for their trading business. The Blueprint for Trading Success Workshop provides a basic template for students to follow. We used to require a traditional business plan of students, but we were delighted when some Super Trader students started presenting their business plans in very personal and creative ways. We could see how much they actually enjoyed reading and completing their plans because they were rich with their dreams and plans for the future. This new business handbook format is now a requirement – students should complete this within the parameters requested, but in a way that is meaningful to them.

Track 4

This step allows you to get a full understanding of the key factors in system design. The How to Develop a Winning Trading System that Fits You Home Study Course and the corresponding in-person workshop, as well as our more advanced strategy workshops, help you create at least three systems that fit your beliefs, meet your criteria for trading them, fit different market types, and are non-correlated. Before you can begin to trade these systems with full position sizes, you need to know or estimate the SQN® score of each system in each market type before Dr. Tharp approves you trading each system.

Track 5

Teaches students how to manage your trading mistakes. Once students start tracking their mistakes and determine the R-multiple value of each one they make, they quickly learn how not to repeat those mistakes so they can meet their one-year trading objectives. Once a student has demonstrated proficiency at trading at a high-efficiency level (at least 95% in three systems) for a sustained period (more than 100 trades), they are able to graduate from the program.


To be considered a Super Trader graduate, students must complete all five tracks. In the past, this process may have taken up to six years to complete, depending on a trader’s background, commitment level, and how much time each person allocated to their Super Trader studies. We have made some changes to the program that will allow students to work at what we believe to be a much more rapid pace, with some additional guidance at the onset of the program that should remove some additional psychological hurdles and provide students with increasingly difficult lessons as they progress through the program. It is our hope that most students will now be able to complete the bulk of their work within three years, with additional time being available to students that wish to take longer.

Students really have quite a bit of freedom in this self-paced program – how quickly students move through the lessons depends upon the amount of commitment you are willing to give to your trading education. We will still allow for traders to take up to six years to complete the program, with the understanding that additional tuition will be due after the first three years of the program.

Super Trader I - The Awakening Program

Criteria for Admittance

Attendance at Peak Performance 101 Course (within the past 12 months), during which Dr. Tharp can gain a sense of a candidate’s personal responsibility, awareness, and desire to work on the most important factor in their trading — themselves.

Submission of an application and waiver, including a personal statement of commitment.

Completion of the book Trading Beyond the Matrix: The Red Pill for Traders and Investors. We request that you read the Matrix book because it will help you understand the scope of what you are getting into when you enroll in the program.

Proof that the program makes financial sense for you. Paying the tuition for the program should not result in feelings of insecurity about your finances, or inability to realize an attractive return on your Super Trader financial investment.

Statement of commitment:   To be successful in this program, you must be willing and eager to work on yourself.  The motivation to complete the lessons must come from within. The Van Tharp Institute will not prompt you to do the work. If you think there is a good chance you won’t be willing to work on yourself (what Dr. Tharp considers to be the Holy Grail), then this program is not for you. The goal of this program is for you to reach a point of transformation in which you can feel happy from within, for no reason, verses from an external source. This balance and self-understanding translates to trading better, or for that matter, improvement in any other aspects of your life.

The Van Tharp Institute’s approval.

Receipt of an initial payment.

Objectives of Super Trader I:

Complete twenty-two psychological lessons to Dr. Tharp’s satisfaction.

Document five major life transformations.

What You Will Receive in Super Trader I

All Van Tharp Institute products already on the market, plus any new products developed by VTI during your Super Trader I period. **Excludes: Super Trader II materials, products from outside vendors, certain “special” Oneness Awakening events.

Twenty-two Super Trader psychological lessons. You will receive Lesson 1 in your introductory letter, and you will access the balance of the lessons in our online collaboration portal.

Dr. Tharp’s personal consulting and coaching time: monitoring your timeline, weekly progress reports, and your Super Trader lessons.


  • Peak Performance 101—unlimited attendance
  • Peak Performance 202 and 203— unlimited attendance, with seat preference given to Super Traders who have not yet attended this course.
  • Peak Performance 204, Mental Strategies— unlimited attendance, with seat preference given to Super Traders who have not yet attended this course.
  • Infinite Wealth Workshop — unlimited attendance
  • Oneness Awakening Course — unlimited attendance
  • Blueprint and Systems Development—unlimited attendance
  • The annual Super Trader Summit, plus access to previous years’ Super Trader Summit video recordings.
  • The Super Trader Awakening Turbocharge – A custom 2-day workshop with Stuart Mooney as part of the Super Trader Summit.
  • Systems Thinking: Mastering Your Trading Maps with Matrix Thinking
    Tharp Think
  • After lesson 14, you may take Libby Adams’ Academy of Self-Knowledge 28-day course which includes her one-on-one instruction and coaching.
  • Access to the Super Trader online collaboration database (after any probation period).

A Note on Trading Workshops in Super Trader I

Students are discouraged from attending technical workshops during this phase, though you are allowed to do so. If students in Super Trader I choose to attend a technical workshop, they may pay discounted tuition of $2,000 per workshop, which is refundable up until 14 days prior to the commencement of the workshop in question. If the student cancels their attendance at a technical workshop less than 14 days from the event, their payment will not be refunded. Payments made with the intent to come to any technical workshops are outside of the program structure and no credits will be held over for later use to apply toward future tuition due, if any.

Super Trader II - The Masters Program

Criteria for Admittance

  • Completion of Super Trader I
  • Proof of commitment based on results from Super Trader I.
  • The Van Tharp Institute’s approval.
  • Receipt of payment for any tuition due.


  • Ongoing work on psychological work
  • Completion of a personal business handbook, approved by Dr. Tharp.

Special Pricing 

  • One year of ST2 is free if there is at least a year remaining in your initial time when you complete ST1 (i.e., you complete ST1 in under two years)

What You Will Receive In Super Trader II

  • Any new products developed and released by the Van Tharp Institute during your Super Trader II period (Outside vendors excluded).
  • Access to all VTI workshops— including both technical and psychological workshops (Peak Performance 202 workshop on a seating available basis.)
  • From Dr. Tharp –
    • Continued monitoring of your timeline and weekly progress reports.
    • Coaching, reviewing and approving of your integration of your dream life with the development of your business handbook.
  • Access at our facilities to recordings of VTI technical workshops – nearly all of which have been recorded.
  • Access to the Super Trader online collaboration database including Super Trader II only resources.

Completion requirements for ST2 will be the completion of all the lessons and acceptance of your trading business handbook.

Super Trader III - The Graduate Program

Dr. Tharp has restructured the program to now include a third level.

Criteria for Admittance to Super Trader III

  • Completion of Super Trader II
  • Attendance of at least one How to Develop A Winning Trading System That Fits You workshop, and therefore a thorough understanding of the basics of how to develop good systems for each of the 6 market types.
  • Attendance at several technical workshops, such as Day Trading or Trading in a Bear Market and Down Markets.
  • The Van Tharp Institute’s approval.
  • Receipt of payment for any tuition due.


  • Development of three systems that work in a particular market type – approved by Dr. Tharp.
  • Evidence of knowledge and understanding of position sizing™ strategies.

100 trades completed at 95% or better efficiency. These 100 trades must include at least 10 trades from each of three approved systems, and must include consecutive trades during your defined trading period. Students are not allowed to “cherry-pick” 100 trades out of a larger number of trades.

What You Will Receive In Super Trader III

  • Any new products developed and released by the Van Tharp Institute during your Super Trader III period (Some outside vendors excluded, and products do not include live workshops)
  • Access to all VTI workshops— including both technical and psychological workshops (Peak Performance 202 workshop on a seating available basis. Workshops from outside vendors may have additional charges. In which case Super Traders will qualify for a discount.)
  • From Dr. Tharp –
    • Continued monitoring of your timeline and weekly progress reports.
    • Coaching, reviewing and approving of your business handbook and your trading systems.
    • Monitoring of your trading performance.
  • Access at our facilities to recordings of VTI technical workshops – nearly all of which have been recorded.
  • Access to the Super Trader online collaboration database including Super Trader II only resources.

This section of the program offers another year to flesh out and develop your systems. It will include support for you to accomplish all of the following:

  • Be able to understand market type well enough to develop your own systems for each market type. We will have a home study video workshop on trading in Bear Market at some point in 2018 and we have a new live Trading Sideways markets workshop.
  • Decide on three different systems that you intend to trade. When you choose these systems, you will thoroughly understand:
    • The logic behind them
    • How they will work in different market types
    • Whether they fit you
    • Why they work, and
    • When you would know that they have stopped working.
  • If you aren’t trading good systems yet, we have a Super Trader Playbook with 93 trading systems in it. These systems have been presented at prior workshops no longer taught at VTI, have come from current workshops, or are systems developed by Super Traders, etc.
  • Only Super Traders have access to this playbook.
  • You will have the opportunity to improve upon three of the systems from the playbook, with the purpose of improving each of them.
    Understand the systems given in Dr. Ken Long’s workshops, Gabriel Grammatidis’ workshops, and the Bear Market workshop. If you pick those systems, realize that Van is not an expert in those systems but the people who teach them are. Ken’s systems require that you be a systems thinker and Gabriel’s systems require you to master his pattern recognition.
  • Understand the online courses in systems and talk to Van (and others) about the limitations.

As mentioned earlier, if you have 12 months or more remaining from your original three years tuition, then Super Trader III does not have any further tuition due. If there are less than 12 months remaining upon completion of Super Trader II, then the student must pay tuition for the upcoming year prior to entering the next phase. However, once a student’s systems have been approved, there is no additional charge for the time it might take to graduate. We expect that virtually everyone should be able to complete the Super Trader III system approval requirements within the allotted year.

The purpose of Super Trader III is to become a Van Tharp Institute Super Trader Graduate. Once you have your systems approved, then you will have unlimited time to graduate. To become a graduate, students will have successfully completed Super Trader I, Super Trader II, then completed Super Trader III requirements including executing 100 trades profitably and at 95% efficiency with at least a 10% contribution to the 100 trades coming from each of the approved three systems. Most people have no idea of the power of having three non-correlated systems with good SQN® scores that work in different market types, and that they can trade at 95% efficiency or better

Exclusive Super Trader Events

The Super Trader Summit

We hold one Super Trader Summit each year that includes presentations on psychological journeys, business plans, systems, and technical innovations by Super Trader students. Guest speakers often join for presentations in person or by webinar. Everyone in Super Trader I, Super Trader II & III can attend this annual event usually held the first week in December. (Super Trader Post-Graduates who have graduated from the Super Trader program and continue trader training with the Van Tharp Institute may attend upon request.)

While we fill our workshop room to capacity currently at the Summit, we might have to turn some people away at some point in time in the future. To help minimize the chances for this, the Super Traders voted to remove the workshop room desks when that point comes and to fill the room instead with as many chairs that will fit. At some point in the coming years, however, Super Traders wishing to attend may exceed the capacity of our workshop room; therefore, attendees will be given priority in the following manner:

  1. Active Super Traders (in any of the three programs) who are presenting.
  2. Guest presenters. Active Super Trader Graduate.
  3. Active Super Trader II (with priority given to those who have been active the longest—since the start of the program or coming off of sabbatical).
  4. Active Super Trader I (with priority given to those who have been active the longest).

New Van Tharp Institute Workshops

Super Traders are often the first to attend new workshops unveiled during the Summit. Those are open to anyone active in any of our programs, anyone on the psychological completion plaque who is not active in our programs on a paid basis, and to the extent, there is room, regular VTI clients. Super Traders will be given priority at new workshops in the following manner:

  1. Inactive Super Traders on the psychological completion plaque (on a paid basis).
  2. Active Super Traders who respond by the cutoff date with the following priority:
    • Active Super Trader Post-Graduates (This is a continuation program for those who finish I and II).
    • Active Super Trader II (with priority given to those who have been active the longest).
    • Active Super Trader I (with priority given to those who have been active the longest).

The Super Trader TurboCharge Workshop

This is a three-day Oneness workshop designed to increase your level of consciousness. It is open to everyone who is active in one of our programs, but seating is limited to 20 Super Traders. There is an additional fee for this event but Super Traders attend at a significantly reduced rate (generally under $500).

Video Recordings of Technical Workshops

Recordings of most of our technical workshops are available for screening at the VTI office for those active in Super Trader II & III, by request.

Refunds and Sabbaticals

VTI guarantees all of our products and workshops; however, we provide no refunds and no guarantees for the Super Trader Program. Why? We have two reasons. First, you should only apply for the Super Trader Program once you are certain of the quality of our services. Most commonly, traders enroll in the program only after they have completed a home study course and attended one or more workshops. They have experienced the quality of our programs first-hand and have no doubts about the value we deliver in our training. Second, Dr. Tharp only wants to coach people who are completely committed to becoming great traders. It can be difficult to judge someone’s true level of commitment before admittance to the program. If you feel like you need to have a refund policy, the Super Trader program isn’t for you just yet—or maybe it’s not for you at all.

That being said, we know that life happens, and we try to take that into account during your participation in any of our longer-term programs. If you need to take time off from working on your trading, we make allowances for that called sabbaticals. Sabbaticals must be submitted in writing at least two weeks prior to your requested start date. Dr. Tharp will approve or disapprove all sabbaticals applications submitted.

We are always available to help you in your journey to trading success—when you do your part. When you enroll in the Super Trader Program, you commit to a significant investment of your time and money. It is then up to you how you delegate your time. If you spend your time doing other things instead of working on yourself or your systems, you are responsible for that choice and its consequences. Activities outside the focus area of commitment to the Super Trader Program are not considered an acceptable reason for taking a sabbatical.

Acceptable Reasons for Sabbatical

  • You want to stop the program, but you have not made all of your payments. The new program offers two periods when you could stop: 1) prior to the second payment for Super Trader I and 2) prior to committing to Super Trader II.
  • Serious health problem for you or an immediate family member.
  • Death in your immediate family (spouse or child).
  • A natural disaster.
  • Special circumstances with Dr. Tharp’s approval.
  • At Dr. Tharp’s recommendation.

Unacceptable Reasons for Sabbaticals

  • You want to take a vacation.
  • You have relatives visiting.
  • You want to take time off to do other programs.
  • You decide you are not committed to trading or the program. We do not allow students to take a sabbatical for this reason, but you do have two points in the program when you can de-commit from it.
  • You have one of the legitimate reasons listed above but you didn’t tell Dr. Tharp or his staff about it until the event already happened.

Pricing and Payment Structure

Super Trader I Cost and Payment Structure

Effective August 1, 2018, through August 1, 2019


Super Trader 1 Payment

The first payment of $41,250 is due prior to starting the program.
The second payment of $33,750 will be due 6 months after starting the program.
A 1% service fee will be charged on credit card payments. US residents may pay by check. Anyone can pay by wire transfer, our preferred payment choice.
Based on a three-year program the average amount is $25,000 per year.

These tuition payments cover a continuous three-year period in which to complete the program. The exact tuition due will vary based on credits you are eligible to receive, as a result of previous purchases and workshops attended. Currently, you may receive 100% credit for purchases and workshops attended within three calendar months of your proposed start date, which is typically assigned to the first of the month. Purchases outside of this timeframe will be credited at 50%, up to 10 years prior to your proposed start date.

There will be no tuition due upon entering Super Trader II, provided that you have at least 12 months remaining on the initial 3-year tuition period. If it is required for you to extend your program to complete any portion, the tuition will be calculated at the yearly rate that was in effect at the time of your initial acceptance (that’s the full tuition amount divided by three, so at a rate of $75,000 that’s $25,000.)

Effective After August 1, 2019:


1st payment $43,725

2nd payment $35,775

Yearly rate is $26,500

If you finish both Super Trader I and Super Trader II, and you still have at least 12 months remaining on the initial 3-year period, then there also will be no tuition due for Super Trader III. Again, if you have less than 12 months remaining you will be assessed tuition as described above for an additional year.

At the end of Super Trader III, you will not be required to pay additional tuition as long as you have met all previous requirements, and each of the three systems have been approved by Dr. Tharp. All students will likely have additional work they need to complete for graduation, that may continue after the initial three-year period. For example, one of your systems may be designed to work in a long-term capacity – in this scenario, it could take some time for this system to produce trade results. Graduation will occur in the future, but it’s not necessary to pay tuition while the action of your system is happening. However, once your tuition timeframe has come to a close, you will not be able to attend workshops or other VTI programs as you had while actively studying within your program. There are certain instances where special arrangements can be made in this regard, at the discretion of Dr. Tharp.

Super Trader III Program Cost

If you complete the full program in three years there is no additional cost for Super Trader III. If a student has used most of their three years completing Super Trader I and II, then the tuition for Super Trader III will be assessed at the yearly rate at the time they enrolled – for example, the cost would be $25,000 for students enrolling in the program prior to January  31,  2019 if and only if they had less than 12 months remaining on their original time prior to entering Super Trader III.

Super Trader I Extensions

On very rare occasions, some students have not put forth the effort it takes to achieve real results and see quantifiable progress on their lessons. In the unlikely event that a student remains in Super Trader I throughout the three year tuition period, options available to them will depend on what they have accomplished to date.

If a student has finished five or fewer lessons, they will not be offered an extension to complete the rest of the lessons, and by extension, will be unable to move on to Super Trader II.

If a student has finished five lessons to Van’s satisfaction, and they hold a desire to continue in the program, Van may approve an extension on a year-by-year basis, for up to three years. Tuition will be assessed based upon the yearly rate at the time the student entered the program. After making that payment, you will be “charged” $2,000 per month until you finish Super Trader I. If you finish in less than ten months, then any money “leftover” from your extension payment will be credited toward your Super Trader II cost.

FAQs With Dr. Tharp

Is your objective for Super Traders to be able to trade great systems at 95% efficiency?

Trading great systems at 95% efficiency is one of the requirements for graduation, but it’s not the objective of the program. The objective of the program is massive personal transformation and hopefully, a big shift in consciousness. We’d like for each Super Trader eventually to score consistently 80+ on the happiness test and students who have completed Super Trader I frequently do score that high consistently. When you achieve this sort of transformation, anything is possible, including being able to trade great systems at better than 95% efficiency.

Can anyone join the Super Trader program?

The program is not a good fit for everyone. From a practical standpoint, you need to have sufficient capital for the program to make financial sense. In addition, because of the intense psychological nature of the program, you must believe that you are totally responsible for your trading results and be eager to work on yourself. That’s why attendance at either the Peak Performance 101 Workshop (which focuses on trader psychology) or the Oneness Awakening Workshop (which focuses on spiritual development) is a prerequisite for the program. Dr. Tharp wants to assess your receptivity to certain ideas. If you are not receptive to what we teach in those workshops, then the program will not be a good fit for you.

The program is a lot of work and some of it is very, very challenging. We look for total commitment. Totally committed people seem to always reach their objectives regardless of obstacles.

What kind of money do I need for the Super Trader Program to make financial sense?

If you have $200,000 or more to trade, then this program can make a lot of sense. You could easily save the cost of the program by learning simply how to avoid a few large losses. Furthermore, it’s our intention that you would be able to recoup the total cost of the program within a few years.

If you have $50,000 to $100,000, then this program probably doesn’t make financial sense. Instead, take the time to learn about, and achieve, financial freedom. However, we look at each application and may decide on a case-by-case basis to allow the student to enter if there are extenuating circumstances.

Why don’t you let students attend technical workshops during the first part of the program (Super Trader I)?

During Super Trader 1, we want you to focus on first things first. Doing systems work or trading before you are psychologically ready means you will take more time to finish the program. If you normally spend 20 hours a week on your psychological work, attending one workshop (about 24 in-class hours over three days—not to mention travel time!) will “cost” more than a week’s worth of work from your psychological assignments. Not only will that lengthen the time it takes you to finish the Super Trader I requirements, you’ll find your trading will continue to suffer because you are developing systems that contain all of the biases that you have not yet overcome. We have had several students enter the Super Trader program, attend lots of technical workshops, procrastinate or totally avoid the psychological assignments, and then wonder why they can’t trade very well. If you are truly committed to becoming a Super Trader in every sense of the term, then you have to do your psychological work first.

Super Trader 1 candidates can still attend technical workshops – for a fee and some have done so.

What does it take to graduate from the program?

There are now two distinct levels of achievement for the program: completion and graduation. Completing the 22 psychological lessons and documenting five major transformational changes in your life as part of Super Trader 1 elevates you to “completion” status. This phase has usually helped people achieve the objective of massive personal transformation. People who complete Super Trader 1 tend to say that what happened to them during this phase is priceless.

After completing Super Trader 1, however, you are still nowhere near graduating the program. To become a graduate, a Super Trader has to create a business handbook and have actively traded three approved trading systems at a very high efficiency level.

If I complete the program, will I be able to trade other people’s money?

What you learn in the program could help you trade other people’s money and help you manage your clients. I have not structured the program, however, to teach you how to set up a money management business. Our emphasis is on your psychology and efficient, mistake-free trading – which would certainly benefit anyone who wants to manage other people’s money – which some of my former Super Traders have gone on to do.

I have read that Dr. Tharp invests his money with Super Trader graduates. Is that true?

No, not anymore. I trade my own retirement funds but I no longer place money with others.

Is it a disadvantage to go through the program if I live outside the US?

About half of the people in the Super Trader program right now live overseas. Recently, we have had seven Super Traders from Australia, six from various countries in Asia, one from South America, and a number more from Europe.

We take several measures to ease the burden of long-distance travel on our international Super Traders. First, much of the information exchange for the program can be done by email and Skype. We also have an online collaboration website for the Super Traders, which is always available, regardless of location. Libby Adams’ Academy of Self-Knowledge 28-day course is done by Skype.

Second, because frequent travel to the US can be a hardship for our international Super Traders, we almost always present workshops in pairs so one trip here allows attendance at two workshops. Also, we hold Super Trader-only workshops in conjunction with the Super Trader Summit which always falls in the first week of December.

Finally, we typically present two or three workshops once each year in Asia and in Europe.

What are the most common commitment-point obstacles in the program?

When people are working on their personal issues, they run into obstacles. Many are not willing to work through the obstacles and instead they dance around them. And thus, they could take years of working on their own to do what could be done in one year with a coach and a structured program. We now give our candidates three years, but if psychological obstacles stop them, then they won’t progress until they break through the resistance they are experiencing. The most common obstacle to progress is people trying to escape from resisting certain issues rather than being willing to feel certain feelings and go through whatever comes up for them.

What if something happens and someone can’t continue the program?

See the section on sabbaticals, which includes details on the two opportunities you have to leave the program, should something major arise.

What percentage of the program requires tasks, activities, efforts, etc. that only Dr. Tharp can do?

Right now there are several workshops that only Dr. Tharp does (101, Oneness, Systems Thinking, Mental Strategies and Infinite Wealth, but we are looking to make sure we have backups from him for these workshops in the future.

Dr. Tharp and one of his ST1 graduates are the only ones who can score the lessons.   However, we are looking forward to training several staff members to do that in the future.

What if something happens to Dr. Tharp while I’m in the program?

There are risks to everything, and this is a risk you would be taking. In the event that something happened to me, you could simply stop payments if you felt disadvantaged by continuing the program. My company has been working actively to provide a lot of structure to the program and have others start helping me with the Super Traders so they could continue in the program if anything happened to me in the near term.

Since Dr. Tharp is nearing retirement age, how can I be sure that Dr. Tharp will be committed to the program for another 4 to 6 years and won’t decide to retire?

First, I own the business and because the company has no mandatory retirement age, I don’t have any requirement to retire.

Furthermore, I have no desires to retire. I have the freedom to do only what I love to do so I feel like I’m already living the ultimate retirement. All aspects of the business that I don’t want to be involved in have been handled by a very capable staff for a number of years already.

Most of our Super Traders who have completed the first half of the program would argue that the benefits of the twenty-two lessons alone are well worth the price for the entire program. You get all that in just the first one to three years.

Have any participants had problems with Van’s emphasis on Oneness?

We still emphasize the oneness blessing because that simply seems to accelerate transformations.   But this is an optional part of the program designed to improve your experience in the program.

Dr. Tharp no longer advocates the Oneness University program.   Instead he recommends Sri Vidya (A Siddha Yoga program done through Stuart Money who presents at the Supertrader Summit).   You can also qualify for this program by going to a 3-4 day workshop in India.  However, this is not a required part of the program at all.  It is designed to help you transform faster but it totally optional.

What percentage of students who have completed the Super Trader program go on to graduate and meet the criteria of trading at 95% efficiency in 100 trades over three systems?

This question is a little difficult to answer because an official “graduation” like we have now was not part of the program a few years back.

For a long time, Super Traders were allowed to just attend all of our workshops for two years and work with me to solve any issues they felt they needed to address. They determined what they wanted and needed from the program. There was neither an official completion point nor a graduate status like we have today. People were happy with two years of exposure to our programs and my coaching.

In about 2008, I started adding Super Trader lessons and completion requirements for them to the program. In 2009, we developed the separate ideas of completion and then a level of achievement beyond simply “doing all the lessons” to complete the program. One year later, we came up with the strong criteria for graduation and that’s what you read about now.

Since 2009, we have had 67 Super Traders officially complete Super Trader 1. Some people get to that point and are very happy with their transformed lives and trade on their own or go on to other projects. For example, one person is writing a novel, another is focused on developing a food business – though both still trade. Others want to achieve the level of trading required for Super Trader graduation. Since 2013, we have 11 names on the “Super Trader Graduate” plaque in our training room. More are added each year.

What percentage of students has failed to complete to the Super Trader training because of the 95% efficient trade criterion?

First, the 95% efficient trade criterion is not the overall objective of the program. The overall objective is a massive transformation. I make that clear in Trading Beyond the Matrix.

Second, this question assumes that 95% trading efficiency is a stumbling block, but it’s not. Personal issues are the stumbling block. By the time candidates have documented five significant transformations, overcoming trading mistakes are truly minor problems. Overcoming mistakes typically is a huge issue, however, for traders who haven’t made the kind of massive transformation expected in Super Trader I.

Third, most of the people who completed the program but didn’t graduate seemed to just stop doing Super Trader work after the two-year program in the past or after finishing Super Trader 1 now. Those who stopped, for the most part have been very happy with their accomplishments. For example, a local real estate businessman went through the old program and said he was the only developer among his regional peers who did not go bankrupt in 2008/2009. He credits the survival and growth of his business to what he learned in the Super Trader program. Even though he never completed the entire psychological portion of the program, he came back to our offices two years later to explore creating a program like Super Trader 1 for people in professions outside trading. His story says a lot to us about the effectiveness of the program for helping people transform their lives.

Of those Super Traders whose business plans and systems I have approved, probably 70% of them reach graduation. There’s been only one person that the specific 95% efficiency criteria proved to be the identifiable roadblock for graduation. He had met all of the graduation criteria in less than 18 months – except for the 95% trading efficiency. He then decided to withdraw from the program and just trade his own way at that point. He’s probably doing much better than he ever could have without having done all of the Super Trader work.

How many Super Trader graduates have maintained that 95% level of efficiency after graduating?

After graduation, Super Traders no longer have to turn in any results. Because they have graduated from the program, however, these traders understand the importance of high efficiency trading and they also have the knowledge about how to resolve any trading problems that come up. Trading successfully is an exercise in internal control and they have already tackled far more challenging tasks simply by completing Super Trader 1 and meeting the graduation criteria.

If I’m interested in the Super Trader program, what do I need to do?

The first step is to attend a Peak Performance 101 Workshop or Oneness Awakening Workshop. Usually, during a lunch at these workshops, I meet with anyone who is interested to talk about the Super Trader program. If you are still interested after that, then you would complete a commitment statement and the application. We look for the depth of your commitment, the strength of your discipline, and your willingness to do the psychological work that ensures your success in this program. In addition, the program should make financial sense for you.

If you meet the entry criteria and you are ready to start, we will look for an upcoming month with an open slot. We only accept two new candidates into the program each month, so space is limited. As a result, you may be accepted but have to wait a few months before officially starting the program.

What if I have more questions, can I just email them to you?

I meet with people who are interested in the Super Trader program during the workshops and answer all their questions at that time. People truly committed to personal transformation and trading excellence will find a way to attend either Peak 101 or the Oneness Workshop to get their questions answered. Also, you may call or email my office and a VTI team member will be happy to help get your questions answered.

Thank You

We look forward to meeting you at an upcoming Oneness Awakening or Peak Performance 101 workshop.

Links to Additional Resources

Article: What is a Super Trader? by Van K. Tharp Ph.D


Thank You

Thank you for your interest in the Super Trader Program. If you have additional questions, we are ready to help by phone (919-466-0043) or by email ([email protected]).

Your next step is to register for Peak Performance 101.

We look forward to your questions and wish you the very best in your trading endeavors.

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