Re-evaluation of step-three - assessment - in the classical eight-step EMDR model


The aim of the abstract is to focus on a possible weakness in the classical, 8-step EMDR model. Furthermore, the aim and hope with the abstract is also to produce a re-evaluation of step three – Assessment – in the classical Shapiro model.

The classical 8-step model is assumed known and is described only in headlines. The traditional therapeutic attack here is three-rponged – first past, then present and future. DAS has traditionally been used to desensitize traumatic bound material (in neuronal networks?). Many different protocols have emerged in the last decade. Most of these protocols are trying to adapt to the disorder or illness in focus.

A lot of client s have profited by this classical EMDR way but not all. Many clients do not change their behavior after the traditional EMDR intervention.

This group of clients needs a different therapeutic strategy. It is suggested to start working with targeting present problems, such as unwanted, inappropriate behavior or body sensations and/or to stimulate resources that can stabilize the client. The crucial point is step three is rather what to target with DAS and not as in the traditional model to focus on a picture as the target.

This means that DAS is used not only to desensitize traumatic stuff but also to generate resources – “to go with the positive” – so that later reprocessing can be accomplished. DAS is also used when placing different aspects of the client’s mental reality together, e.g., inappropriate behavior or body sensations versus resources and the goal. Summary: Step three is not only an assessment of what to target but a sophisticated treatment planning, respecting the knowledge of modern affect theory and consequently creating new neuronal networks by DAS, not only dissolving the old traumatic ones.






Poul-Erik Gaarde Madsen

Original Work Citation

Gaarde Madsen, P-E. (2004, June). Re-evaluation of step-three - assessment - in the classical eight-step EMDR model. Presentation at the 5th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Stockholm, Sweden



“Re-evaluation of step-three - assessment - in the classical eight-step EMDR model,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 22, 2020,

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