Using Essential Oils for Mental Health

As mental health comes to the forefront of both public and personal health efforts, providing a cost-effective, safe and efficient way to manage psychological wellbeing becomes an urgent task. The link between our nose and brain has been long established, with fragrances used to alter our state of mind for millenia. And now we can add a great deal of new research to validate and expand on those practices.

Is it possible to harness the power of olfactory stimulation in order to manage the mental challenges of our world? Perhaps not totally, but there is so much that we can do! The Tisserand Institute will address those issues in our 9-week certification course – AromaPsychology.

Next Enrollment: 2025

Eight weeks to discover the mental benefits of aroma-therapy!

This course focuses on many psychological challenges that can be alleviated with essential oils. These include anxiety, PTSD, panic, phobias, depression, S.A.D., P.D.D., sleep disturbances, brain fog, mild cognitive impairment, addictions, appetite issues and more. Each week a lesson will focus on one aspect of olfaction and mental health, synthesizing the current pool of research. 

Part diagnostic and part treatment, we also cover olfactory dysfunction (anosmia etc.) and smell training. In order to understand all of the above we begin by exploring our olfactory system and the many factors that influence what we smell and how we react to an odor. This includes neurochemicals, EEG (brain waves), MRI and cerebral blood flow.

We then go into all the many challenges listed above in the five “middle” lessons of the course. In our final lesson, we make sure you have sufficient skills to implement what you have learned.

All of our courses come with ample study materials, and unlimited question time (live Q&A and course forums), as our goal is to equip you with the knowledge to make your own decisions with confidence. 

What You Get in the Course

Access to nine (9) 60-minute pre-recorded lessons.

Four LIVE Q&A sessions and nine recorded Q&A replays. 

Each Q&A is recorded so you can catch up and rewatch as needed.

Extensive downloadable handouts and course notes with links to additional research and resources.

Access to our private online forum to ask questions and interact with Robert, the TI team, and classmates.

Ongoing access to tutors and active forums for four weeks after course completion, and access to recordings for 4 months after course.

Robert Tisserand

Robert Tisserand

Founder | Speaker | Educator

Robert Tisserand has been active in the world of essential oils more than five decades, and while he garnered a lot of attention for his efforts in the field of safety, his interest in the interplay between olfaction and the human mind is equally intertwined throughout his career.

His talk on the Essential Oils as Psychotherapeutic Agents was presented at the inaugural Psychology of Perfumery conference in 1986, and is featured in the proceedings of the conference, sold as a book: Perfumery: The Psychology and Biology of Fragrance.

Since then, Robert has continued to follow the latest developments and research, synthesizing and analyzing the results to create the most up-to-date education for both the general public and professionals.

Course Breakdown

Next Enrollment: 2025

Lesson 1 - The Fragrant Brain

How smell perception works
The brain structures & pathways involved in olfaction
The nose-to-brain route
Interpreting the neurotransmitter & brain wave data

You will be able to:

  • Describe the principle brain structures impacted when we smell
  • List three neurotransmitters & their functions
  • Explain the meaning of ‘nose-to-brain’ route
Lesson 2 - Our Sense of Smell

Why we use fragrance
Odors & mental states
The many variables influencing our smell perception
Different ways to smell & sniff, and their effects

You will be able to:

  • Give examples of different ways to sniff & their perceptual consequences 
  • Explain why we may experience the same odors differently
  • List four factors influencing smell perception
Lesson 3 - Olfactory Ability & Smell Training

Olfactory function & dysfunction (the osmias)
Diagnosis of cognitive impairment 
Quality of life impacts
Smell training

You will be able to:

  • Assess an individual’s olfactory capacity 
  • Use smell training to improve smell dysfunction
Lesson 4 - Hedonic Issues

Hedonics and the brain
Pleasant & unpleasant odors & their effects on us
Sexual function & dysfunction
Appetite & weight control

You will be able to:

  • Assess a clients olfactory preferences 
  • Use odor to help mitigate eating disorders
  • Use odor to help mitigate chemical dependence 
Lesson 5 - Mood Disorders

The various mood disorders and the depressed brain
Depression and mood elevation
Seasonal affective disorder
The inter-relationship between anosmia & depression

You will be able to:

  • Use odor to reduce the impact of depression
  • Use odor to improve mood
  • Use smell assessment as a possible indicator of mental health
Lesson 6 - Stress & Anxiety

The various anxieties and phobias
Mechanisms (GABA, HPA axis, stress hormones)
Anticipatory anxiety (medical, dental, exams)
Sedation and sleep

You will be able to:

  • Describe the relationship between stress and anxiety
  • Use odor to manage anxiety
  • Use odor to improve sleep quality
Lesson 7 - Cognition

Cognitive decline and essential oils
Mild cognitive impairment, brain fog, early dementia
Performance (mental focus, driving, work performance)

You will be able to:

  • Administer a simple memory test
  • Use odor to improve work performance & mental focus 
  • Use odor to manage the symptoms of brain fog or cognitive decline
Lesson 8 - Memory & Odor Association

Memory enhancement using essential oils
Memory, odors and sleep
Creating olfactory associations
Fear, threat, PTSP

You will be able to:

  • Create an association between a positive feeling and an odor
  • Use odor associations to reduce the impact of PTSD or negative associations
  • Work with, or modify, a client’s existing odor associations
Lesson 9 - Practical Skills

Cross-modal considerations
Odor mixtures and their impact
Blending for psychological effects
Psychological wellness tests

You will be able to:

  • Use other modalities in conjunction with aroma-therapy
  • Create appropriate products as vehicles for therapy
  • Listen to a client actively and empathetically 
  • Understand the limitations of practice


A message from our Student Manager, Shane Carper:

 When You Complete the Course

Based on weekly course assessments and a final exam, you will be issued a Certificate of Completion by the Tisserand Institute. Your certificate is signed by Robert Tisserand and issued by the leaders of evidence-based instruction. It demonstrates your knowledge of the safe and effective use of essential oils, and your dedication to the safety of your clients.


What previous students say about Tisserand Institute:

The extraordinary expertise of R. Tisserand in EO. Explanations are clear, based on facts and clinical facts. Wonderful courses. ~ Laure Mattia
Thank you for such a wonderful and informative class! I have learned an abundance of wonderful information to not only help me to help others, but also to be able share my newly attained knowledge to help others better understand EO safety. I’m hoping for more of these in the future as I expand my knowledge of Aromatherapy! Thank you again! Blessings to all! ~ Lisa Macy
I wanted to thank you so much for this class! It was wonderfully organized and I looked forward to it every week. I really appreciate all your efforts to bring essential oil safety awareness to everyone. I am constantly referring to your book in my store and recommend it to all of my students. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am really looking forward to future classes! ~ Natalie Hajdu-Voakes
I appreciate that the information is video recorded as well as written and that the material is so well organized. I also appreciate that Hana is quick to reply to emails and support us in our learning. ~ Laurie Myers
I enjoyed the way Hana and Robert interact to make sure the material is understood. ~ Debra Gildernew
I want to thank you for this course. I feel so confident having your institute as my education platform. I’m a beginner but with your amazing education, it won’t be long before I’m a pro!
The prompt response to our questions is fantastic. The presentations each week are very educational, they address my concerns about safety, and the overall format is brilliant!
I really enjoyed the course! Hope to take another in the future. Thank you both! ~ Carol Friberg

This is a rare opportunity to study with one of the world’s leading experts on essential oils – don’t miss this chance! Let Robert Tisserand guide you in using essential oils with guidelines based on clinical trials and scientific research.

Ready to get started?


Will there be notes for me to review?
Yes. Each lesson comes with printable handouts of the slides used in the lesson, and additional lesson notes. These are sent to you before each lesson and are for you to keep and refer to at any time.
I am a certified aromatherapist. Will I learn anything new?
Many of our students have commented that our courses helped them grasp what they learned elsewhere in more detail, or complemented their previous education. Some of our students are lifelong learners, and some are teachers.
I am new to essential oils. Is this course for me?
We will let one of our previous students answer this one:

“The information presented is appropriate for all levels, and although I am just beginning my aromatherapy journey it all makes sense.”

Will there be assessments or exams? What kind?

Each weekly lesson is followed by a multiple choice quiz, and there is a summary test at the end of each course. Passing both the weekly quizzes and the final tests is a requirement for certification.

You will be given enough time to prepare for the test as well as three attempts to pass. 

Will I be able to ask questions?

Absolutely! In addition to the live Q&A sessions, you can post your questions in the dedicated student forums where the tutor and the TI team will address them. 

What if I cannot participate on a live session?

All of our live sessions are recorded and are posted on the learning platform within 24 hours so you can watch them, or rewatch as needed during the course. 

How long will I have access to the recordings?

You will have access to all the videos for at least four weeks after the last lesson (see course description for clarification as this changes for individual courses). All the printable materials (notes, handouts, charts, etc.) are of course yours to keep for reference forever.

Do you offer continuing education credits?

Because we have students from all over the world and of many professions we are not able to offer credits for specific organizations – there are simply too many. However, we issue a confirmation of CE hours gained on the course that you can apply with your professional organization and will be happy to assist with any additional documentation.

At the moment, we are an Approved Continuing Education Provider with NAHA. 

What if I fall behind or cannot attend classes?
We have found that running classes on specific dates works best to help you finish a program. You join a class of students, and learn along with them. Many students help each other with queries, and of course our tutors are there too. That said, if you miss a few classes you should be still able to comfortably jump right back in and if you do fall behind you can request extra time. Of course this cannot be indefinite, but we do our best to help you get your certificate.