The three tests: A structure approach to stabilization


For every client who comes for treatment with trauma-related symptoms and complaints, we ask ourselves at least once: What shall we do? Stabilization or confrontation? Sometimes the answer is easy, many times it is a difficult decision. In this presentation, a systemic approach is presented to assess, together with the client, whether the client is ready for trauma confrontation. The client’s capabilities for trauma processing are carefully estimated and strengthened when necessary. This is done with the help of an informal measuring instrument: “The three tests.” It helps the therapist to make a well-balanced choice between stabilization and trauma confrontation at any moment in treatment. The result shows what this specific client still needs to learn before EMDR traumawork can be safely and successfully started, and gives the therapist that necessary material for a tailor-made treatment plan. Some clients can start EMDR traumawork right away, for others the moment for confrontation will never come. But for these clients too “the three tests” offer a structured and meaningful treatment program. The presentation is both very practical and based on a solid theoretical base. The exercises and techniques can be applied immediately for many clients.






Joany Spierings

Original Work Citation

Spierings, J. (2007, June). The three tests: A structure approach to stabilization. Presentation at the 8th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Paris, France



“The three tests: A structure approach to stabilization,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 24, 2021,

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