Mirror Therapy: Retrain the Brain to Alter Pain and Improve Movement and Function

Mirror Therapy is an emerging therapeutic strategy for treating patients with pain and impaired movement. It integrates established principles of neuromuscular reeducation with supporting evidence in the neuroscience of pain and neuroplasticity.  Mirror therapy is a component of Graded Motor Imagery [GMI] which consists of laterality training, imagery and mirror therapy. This lecture will present a model to understand the role of the brain and ways to use a “top-down” treatment program to treat the changes that occur in the brain. This lecture is appropriate for therapists treating orthopedic as well as neurological consequences of injury.

This 1 day course consists of lectures, lab and review of individual case studies. Therapeutic intervention will be discussed at length that helps the change in the brain or cortical reorganization. At the completion of this course the student will have developed skills to take back to the clinic for immediate utilization.

At the end of the course each participant will be given a course evaluation and a self reflective questionnaire. This course content is not intended for use by any participants outside the scope of their license or regulation.

Course Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify 2 components of Mirror Therapy (MT) and 3 components of Graded Motor Imagery (GMI)
  • Identify 5 practical applications of Mirror Therapy and GMIP for 2 orthopedic (Phantom Limb Pain, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) and 2 neurologic (CVA, Traumatic Brain Injury) patient populations
  • Explain 2 brain changes that occur with Mirror Therapy and GMI
  • Recognize 3 pain mechanisms that occur with either Orthopedic or Neurologic diagnoses
  • Demonstrate 2 components of Mirror Therapy and 3 components of Graded Motor Imagery techniques
  • Identify the appropriate treatment technique (MT or GMI) for a specific neurologic or orthopedic diagnoses through the use of case studies

CE Credits

8 contact hours

This course is accepted by many professional credentialing organizations and state professional regulatory boards. Rules and regulations change frequently without notification, and apply differently to live and online courses. Please check with your state board to confirm accuracy of this list and acceptance of contact hours. Certificate of Attendance will be issued to all participants upon completion of the course and may be used for CEU verification of credits. CE credits vary by state. Please check with your state board/certifying agency to confirm conversion of contact hours to CE. See links below.


California OT Board: This course and instructor have been approved by the CA Board of OT for 6.5 contact hours of post-professional education in the advanced practice area of Hand Therapy. Approval #22-H15.

Physical Therapy Board of California: The Physical Therapy Board of California recognizes Rehab Education, LLC as an approval agency to approve providers offering continuing competency courses for CA licensed PTs and PTAs. This course is approved for 8 contact hours.

FL State Occupational Therapy Board: Rehab Education, LLC is recognized as an approved provider for general Live CE courses.

Georgia State Occupational Therapy Board: Rehab Education, LLC is recognized as an approved provider for general Live CE courses. This course has been approved for contact hours.

NY State Physical Therapy Board: Rehab Education, LLC is recognized as an approved provider of PT and PTA continuing education by the NY State Education Department Board of Physical Therapy. (Course must be taken prior to 05-10-2022)

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Approved Provider #6177: See states that currently recognize AOTA Approved Providers for OT

Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT): Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT): Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) / ProCert has awarded certification in the amount of 7 Continuing Competence Units (CCUs) to this activity. Approved CCUs are a unit of relative value of an activity based on its evaluation against a rigorous and comprehensive set of standards representing the quality of an activity. The CCU determination is a valuation applying many factors including, but not limited to, duration of the activity. No conclusion should be drawn that CCUs correlate to course hours. (Course must be taken between 09-2-2019 and 09-1-2021) Please check with your state physical therapy board to determine if they currently accept the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) certification.

  • AOTA Approval States

    These states currently recognize AOTA Approved Providers for OT continuing education either in regulatory language or by formal written communication to AOTA:

    District of Columbia
    New Hampshire
    New Mexico
    New York
    North Carolina
    North Dakota
    Rhode Island
    South Carolina
    South Dakota

    *Disclaimer: Rehab Education LLC provides this list for your convenience. At the time of listing, the following state boards accept courses by virtue of approval by other organizations. It is the responsibility of the participant registering for a course to check with their state board to confirm rules and regulations regarding acceptance of contact hours for live and online courses.

    The following PT Boards accept courses approved by other state PT boards or APTA state associations*:

    North Carolina

    The following PT Boards accept courses approved by other APTA state associations*:

    Rhode Island

    The following PT Boards accept courses provided by AOTA approved providers*:

    District of Columbia
    Rhode Island

    *NBCOT…National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (view PDU requirements)

    +HTCC… Hand Therapy Certification Commission  (view recertification requirements)
    Hand Therapy Certification Commission (HTCC): This course is accepted by HTCC towards re-certification.

    State PT Boards
    State OT Boards


7:30 – 8:00 Registration
8:00 – 9:30 Understanding cortical reorganization of the brain
9:30 – 10:30 What are Mirror Therapy and Graded Motor Imagery?
10:30 – 10:45 Break
10:45 – 12:00 Centralization of pain and its consequences
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch Break
1:00 – 2:00 Clinical Application of Mirror Therapy
2:00-3:00 Lab: Clinical Case Reviews and Patient Care
3:00 – 3:15 Break
3:15 – 4:30 Lab: Continuation of Clinical Case Reviews and Patient Care
4:30 – 5:30 Designing a home program and protocols for home use


Susan W. Stralka, PT, DPT, MS

is a licensed Physical Therapist with over 40 years of clinical practice treating difficult pain syndromes, entrapment neuropathies and other musculoskeletal and neurological injuries. She graduated from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN with a Masters Degree and then a Doctorate in Physical Therapy.

Dr. Stralka and two other colleagues wrote the first examination for the Orthopedic Specialty Certification through the American Board of Physical Therapy. She serves on the nomination committee for The Academy of Hand and Upper Extremity of the American Physical Therapy Association.

She has many publications to her credit and the two most recent were Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (2019) in Fundamentals of Hand Therapy, 3rd edition and Graded Motor Imagery in the last edition of Rehabilitation of the Hand in 2018.

Dr. Stralka has presented many courses to physicians and other health care individuals. She lectures both nationally and internationally. In December 2019 she lectured in Malmo, Sweden for the Hand and Upper Extremity Post graduate courses, and at the International Federation Society of Hand Therapist in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Dr. Stralka has received numerous honors throughout her career and was the recipient of the Dorothy B. Kaufmann Lectureship Award by the Philadelphia Hand Rehabilitation Foundation. In 2016, she was one of the recipients of the Honored Professors Award at the Philadelphia Hand Symposium. In 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2019 she had the privilege of seeing patients, lecturing and working with Dr. Birgitta Rosen OT, PhD at the Skane University Hospital in Malmo, Sweden. Susan continues to work part-time seeing patients, lecturing and teaching webinars.

Classes taught by Susan W. Stralka: