The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands

A client-responsive therapy that facilitates natural problem-solving and mind–body healing

By: Richard Hill , Ernest L. Rossi


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Size: 222 x 182mm
Pages : 304
ISBN : 9781785832468
Format: Paperback
Published: December 2017

Richard Hill and Ernest L. Rossi’s The Practitioner’s Guide to Mirroring Hands: A Client-Responsive Therapy that Facilitates Natural Problem-Solving and Mind–Body Healing describes in detail how Mirroring Hands is conducted, and explores the framework of knowledge and understanding that surrounds and supports its therapeutic process.

Foreword by Jeffrey K. Zeig, Ph.D.

Mirroring Hands is a practical therapeutic technique that can be utilized by all practitioners for the benefit of their clients. With a tranquil state of focused attention as the starting point, the practitioner invites the client to explore an issue by projecting it into their hands; with one hand representing the difficulty or disturbance, the other becomes the natural container for the opposite reflections – resolution, ease and comfort. This enables the client to engage with their deeper therapeutic self – thereby facilitating the shift into a therapeutic consciousness – and connect to the natural flow, cycles and self-organizing emergence that shift the client toward beneficial change.

In this instructive and illuminating manual, Hill and Rossi show you how Mirroring Hands enables clients to unlock their natural problem-solving and mind–body healing capacities to arrive at a resolution in a way that many other therapies might not. The authors offer expert guidance as to its client-responsive applications and differentiate seven variations of the technique in order to give the practitioner confidence and comfort in their ability to work within and around the possibilities presented while in session. Furthermore, Hill and Rossi punctuate their detailed description of how Mirroring Hands is conducted with a diverse range of illustrative casebook examples and stage-by-stage snapshots of the therapy in action: providing scripted language prompts and illustrative images of a client’s hand movement that demonstrate the processes behind the technique as it takes the client from disruption into the therapeutic; and from there to integration, resolution, and a state of well-being.

The Practitioner’s Guide to Mirroring Hands begins by tracing the emergence of the Mirroring Hands approach from its origins in Rossi’s studies and experiences with Milton H. Erickson and by presenting a transcription of an insightful discussion between Rossi and Hill as they challenge some of the established ways in which we approach psychotherapy, health, and well-being. Building upon this exchange of ideas, the authors define and demystify the nature of complex, non-linear systems and skillfully unpack the three key elements of induction to therapeutic consciousness – focused attention, curiosity, and nascent confidence – in a section dedicated to preparing the client for therapy. Hill and Rossi also supply preparatory guidance for the therapist through explanation of therapeutic dialogue’s non-directive language principles, and through exploration of the four-stage cycle – information, incubation, breakthrough and illumination, and verification – that facilitates the client’s capacity to access their natural problem-solving and mind–body healing.

The authors also take care to advocate Mirroring Hands as not only a therapeutic technique, but also an approach to practice for all practitioners engaged in solution-focused therapy. Through its enquiry into the vital elements of client-cue observation, symptom-scaling, and rapport-building inherent in the therapist–client relationship, The Practitioner’s Guide to Mirroring Hands shares a great store of wisdom and insight that will help the practitioner become more attuned to their clients’ inner worlds and communication patterns. Hill and Rossi draw on a wealth of up-to-date neuroscientific research and academic theory to help bridge the gap between therapy’s intended outcomes and its measured neurological effects, and, towards the book’s close, also open the door to the study of quantum field theory to inspire the reader’s curiosity in this fascinating topic.

An ideal progression for those engaged in mindfulness and meditation, The Practitioner’s Guide to Mirroring Hands is the first book on the subject specially written for all mental health practitioners and is suitable for students of counseling, psychotherapy, psychology, and hypnotherapy, as well as anyone in professional practice.

Contents include:


1. The History of Mirroring Hands: Ernest Rossi in Conversation with Richard Hill

2. Thinking IN the Systems of Life: Preparing the Therapeutic Mind

3. Unlocking Natural Connections: How We Begin

4. Language Principles: Client-Responsive Language

5. The Rhythms and Cycles of Life in Therapy: The Natural Foundations of Mirroring Hands

6. What Is and What Can Be: Internal Review

7. Natural, Comfortable, and Sensitive Observation: The Art of Client-Responsive Therapy

8. Holding Both Sides of the Mirror: Revealing Potential and Possibility

9. Curiosity and the Elephant in the Room: What We Miss

10. Clearing Out the Negative, Preparing for the Positive: Closing the Door

11. Symptom Scaling for Enlightenment: The Symptom is a Message

12. Improvising, Drama, and Mirroring Hands: The Flow of Client-Responsive Therapy

13. Personal Access to Your Growing Edge: Solo and Personal Use of Mirroring Hands

14. Research and Experiments: From Ravitz to Rossi

15. Down the Rabbit Hole: Quantum and the Yet-To-Be-Known

Click here to watch Richard Hill’s interview with Jeff Zeig on Mindscience TV.

Click here to watch Shrink Rap Radio #585 The Mirroring Hands Therapeutic Technique with Richard Hill.

‘Positive change is not just about words’ by Richard Hill.

SOP 15: Richard Hill and Mirroring Hands.

Picture for author Richard Hill

Richard Hill

Richard Hill, M.A., M.Ed., M.B.M.Sc., D.P.C., is acknowledged internationally as an expert in human dynamics, communication, the brain, and the mind. He is an international lecturer and keynote speaker on the topics of neuroscience and psychosocial genomics, has developed special training courses for suicide prevention, and is the originator of the Curiosity Approach. As well as giving lectures to the psychological profession in Australia and the rest of the world, Richard has a strong ongoing engagement with the coaching and business community.

Click here to view/join Richard Hill's Facebook Mirroring Hands' group.

Listen to Richard on the Therapycast Podcast.

Picture for author Ernest L. Rossi

Ernest L. Rossi

Ernest L. Rossi, Ph.D., held a diploma in clinical psychology and was the recipient of three lifetime achievement awards for outstanding contributions to the field of psychotherapy. He was a Jungian analyst, the science editor of Psychological Perspectives, and the author, co-author, or editor of more than 50 professional books and more than 170 peer-reviewed scientific papers in the areas of neuroscience, psychotherapy, dreams, and therapeutic hypnosis, many of which have been translated into a dozen languages. Ernest was internationally recognized as a polymath, a gifted psychotherapist, and a teacher of innovative approaches to facilitating the creative process.


  1. Wow, what an amazing book, the partnership of the authors is fantastic. I have been a fan of Ernest Rossi for many years and he is still as sharp and focused as ever. The theory of using our hands as extensions of our unconscious mind and the tools to demonstrate healing is very powerful. I cannot recommend this book enough.
  2. Picasso once remarked that “art is the elimination of the unnecessary.” Ernest L. Rossi's Mirroring Hands method is brilliant in its simplicity and elimination of the unnecessary, yet is complex beyond belief in the results it can engender. This method can eliminate any resistance you may encounter in the change process and can evoke deep inner wisdom, often in a very short time.

    Richard Hill has facilitated and expanded this guide to using Mirroring Hands in such a way that makes it accessible for all.
  3. In The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands, Richard Hill and Ernest L. Rossi honor the wisdom of the courageous people who come to us seeking healing. They offer deep wisdom about the inherent health that lies within our clients and the support we can provide to allow that health to come forward. A wonderful contribution!
  4. I love The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands. Integral and easily digestible, with clinical applications that are both accessible and well grounded in science, it cares about how we learn.

    The explanation of systems is of great value and the interpretation of “all by itself” phenomena as emergent properties - as compared to the overly simplistic “involuntary” or “nonconscious” - is a powerful concept that I will include in my clinical teaching from now on.

    In many ways The  Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands sets a new standard for texts in psychobiological care. I will buy copies as gifts and will cite and recommend it whenever I teach. 
  5. Within the crucible of a technique Hill and Rossi call Mirroring Hands, The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands shares a storehouse of practical insight, scientific theory, and clinical wisdom. In the process they challenge accepted assumptions and synthesize complex principles, all the while encouraging clinicians to learn to listen to their inner voice.

    The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands is a warm and fascinating adventure in which you get to know two explorers of the mind and learn about the history of psychotherapy while gaining practical knowledge. You may not agree with everything the authors say, but I suspect that you willrespect and enjoy their unique blend of complexity, depth, and self-insight - so often missing from contemporary discussions. 
  6. Ernest L. Rossi has been one of the most influential voices among those who strive to understand the mechanisms of physical and emotional healing. His work reflects a complex and unique blend of many different sciences, from mathematics to genetics to neurobiology. Richard Hill brings a fresh enthusiasm and his own substantial expertise in psychotherapy, neuroscience, and creative problem-solving to the mix. The result is this book's dynamic elaboration of an innovative approach that is at once simple and challenging.

    Therapists would do well to read The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands and expand their views on the ways in which the client's inner resources can be mobilized in the service of change.
  7. The Mirroring Hands technique can be extremely useful. Kudos to Richard Hill and Ernest L. Rossi for providing such an excellent guide to its use and application.
  8. What a fascinating book! Starting as an easy read, it gently descends to deep levels. Richard Hill brings straightforward clarity to Ernest L. Rossi's genius, and their combined work brings contemporary insight into ideas pioneered by my father, Milton H. Erickson. 

    The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands will inspire ongoing discoveries by others and carry this important work intotomorrow.
  9. The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands is a wonderful update of Rossi's Moving Hands work.

    The Mirroring Hands approach is an elegant, rapid, and effective way to guide a client to meaningful changes, and is rooted in the Ericksonian tradition of working in the present - trusting that clients already know and have an internal sense of what will realistically work for them. Furthermore, the connecting of the Mirroring Hands approach to modern neuroscience is an added gift in this book.
  10. Have you ever wondered how to help a client access their unconscious? Building on the work of Milton H. Erickson, Ernest L. Rossi developed Mirroring Hands to do just that, and, along with Richard Hill, he has now brought it to you. Not only do Hill and Rossi give clear step-by-step instructions for how to use Mirroring Hands, but they also lay out the framework for understanding the dynamic power of this tool.

    The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands is a well-rounded resource full of practical applications and illustrative casebook studies. Readers will find themselves both informed and empowered by this guide. 
  11. Providing extensive research background for the theories on which the Mirroring Hands technique is based, The  Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands is an outstanding manual accomplished with precision and clarity. It takes readers on a journey through neurophysiological and genomic discoveries and offers intriguing speculations on quantum influences which may give readers a glimpse of the inevitable future of psychotherapy.
  12. In reading The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands, I am quite simply stunned by the depth, care, research, and complexity the authors have expertly and very generously provided: the stage-by-stage approach to the Mirroring Hands process, and the attention to detail, is worthy of praise in itself.

    One of the truly empowering aspects of the therapeutic relationship is when both client and therapist find themselves on the precipice of “not knowing” where they should point their combined focus in the therapeutic endeavour. The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands will provide you, at this most crucial of times, with a refreshingly new way of grappling with what to do next by showing you how to powerfully open up an exploration of your client's inner world and story.

    The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands is grounded in well-respected theories of creativity, and it is helpful to see them referenced, as is the merging of the process with approaches such as person-centred therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. The foundations of Mirroring Hands are discussed by delving into how it relates to the body's natural rhythmic states, which helps you understand the “natural” basis of the process, while guidance on how to make use of observation of client cues will help the practitioner become more astute to their clients' communication patterns. Indeed, what you will learn about in The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands in terms of the complexity and power of communication will enrich your work greatly. Words can often be a poor conveyor of what is happening deep within us, but this book offers you a rich way of “hearing” more of what your client is “saying”.

    The inclusion of some of the most up-to-date brain research is a tremendous leap in the quality of texts available to therapists in the field, and this information is vital to understand as, in the process of therapy, clients really do go through more neurological changes than can be witnessed, or is realised. This book offers you a top-class education in this area: providing a fresh look at the mind-brain relationship, the relationship of that with therapy, and that of the client-therapist connection. I particularly appreciate the notion presented of therapeutic consciousness, and the therapists need to engage with this idea and unlock its power through the three steps presented. The real powerhouse behind the change process - language - is presented in an intricate breakdown of how the moulding of words creates dynamic shifts in clients. Helping you to absorb this are practical visual diagrams so that you can become familiar with the processes and ideas of Mirroring Hands. This is also supported with an abundance of casebook examples of actual sessions so that you can see how the process works with real clients presenting their concerns. The book also shows you how to use Mirroring Hands to help yourself with a variety of your own life challenges.

    You will also discover some of the finest recollections around the development of today's well-used hypnotherapeutic cues, such as the ideosensory or ideodynamic response. The book introduces the notion of the quantum level of human experience, and why people have the problems they do, and also delves deeply into the development of Milton H. Erickson's work first hand through Rossi's tremendously generous gifts to Richard Hill via their discussions. It is indeed rare to be able to delve into the remarkable mind of Ernest L. Rossi, and an even more special and profound delight that this book also provides additional insight into the innermost thoughts of the legend that is Milton H. Erickson. In saying that, it is also profoundly comforting to read Richard Hill's words of encouragement to each practitioner to be their own best self.

    The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands will challenge you, and it should. The only sure-fire way to improve as a therapist is to deepen your own understandings through engaging with the depth of learning that can be obtained in a book of this magnitude. Complex systems, non-linear systems, chaos theory, order and disorder, self-organisation: these are all concerns that are vital in deepening the therapist's connection, at an intellectual level, of the processes their client is engaging in as they unveil their problems and challenges as the therapeutic process unfolds. Gaining this knowledge from The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands will offer you a succinct philosophical awareness behind your communication with clients. The book finishes with a stunning piece on the work of Milton H. Erickson and Leonard Ravitz on the hypnotic state, which is an exciting inclusion.

    The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands really does do magnificent credit to Richard Hill's documentation and to his dedication in uncovering the genius of Rossi and Erickson, and will provide you with a never-ending source of wisdom on your professional journey in the therapy room. The authors should be commended for this text, which obviously sets out to achieve a quite remarkable feat in its presentation of the Mirroring Hands process, and it doesn't disappoint. It is indeed a tour de force which will - and should - become a classic.

    One thing is sure - when you have read The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands, you will never look at your hands, your client's hands, or indeed anybody's hands in the same way again!
  13. Through careful description, diagrams and case histories, Rossi and Hill's exposition of what is a beautifully simple technique is priceless. I've used a variation of Mirroring Hands for many years and can vouch for its power, and the description of the technique in this book will enable any practitioner to incorporate it into their practice. What I would also wish for practitioners to absorb is the simplicity of the authors' excellent application of the technique: the subtle, minimal use of language that exemplifies all that is good in Ericksonian practice is so sublime it should be available as an intravenous drip. Truly masterful.

    Ernest L. Rossi has been one of the thought leaders of hypnotherapy for many years, and is clearly a man who enjoys his intellect. His drive to connect the effects of the Mirroring Hands technique with scientific theory is admirable and will be loved by some, but thought unnecessary by others. I confess, it certainly isn't an easy read - and after years in the personal development field, talk of quantum qualia makes me want to run to a darkened room - but out of respect for the authors I persevered and found much of value. I found some aspects of the theory a little forced and over-certain, but I do agree with Rossi that we should be looking to science for an understanding of why what we do works, or not. There is plenty of research and ideas presented here that made me think new thoughts, and you can't ask much more from a book. I'm sure The Practitioner's Guide to Mirroring Hands will be one I return to repeatedly.

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