Phase-based trauma treatment:  EMDR and DBT or STAIR


Clients who have experienced traumatic events, as well as complex issues, such as substance abuse/ addiction, personality disorders, chronic and/or severe mental illness often have significant skill deficits in the area of emotion regulation. This presentation will explain the concepts of emotion regulation and dysregulation and the behavioral manifestations of emotion dysregulation. Clients' difficulty in regulating emotion can interfere with their ability to process traumatic memories with a minimum of re-traumatization and relapse in or a worsening of symptoms. Phase-based trauma treatment was conceptualized to assist clients in developing adequate emotion regulation skills during a preliminary phase of therapy prior to trauma processing. This presentation will offer rationale for phase-based treatment with certain client populations. This presentation will show how sessions of trauma processing with EMDR can be integrated into the second level of phase-based trauma treatment, replacing the utilization of exposure therapy for trauma processing. Additionally, this presentation will establish how skills learned in the initial phase of trauma treatment can be employed during EMDR positive resource development and as cognitive interweaves during EMDR trauma processing. Case and videotape examples will be utilized throughout the presentation to illustrate topics presented in lecture and discussion.






Ann E. Potter

Original Work Citation

Potter, A. E. (2005, September). Phase-based trauma treatment: EMDR and DBT or STAIR. Presentation at the 10th EMDR International Association Conference, Seattle, WA



“Phase-based trauma treatment:  EMDR and DBT or STAIR,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed February 25, 2021,

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