Dr. Jennifer Huggins
Dr. Jennifer Huggins
Clinical Psychologist

Treatment Techniques

Different persons may need different treatment approaches. I offer a variety of therapy techniques to help you achieve your goals, including Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, Psychodynamic therapy, Intensive-Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Mindfulness training, and Guided Imagery.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on changing the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that negatively impact our lives: mentally, emotionally, and physically. Often, we are unaware of many of the thoughts and beliefs we have, yet they have a tremendous impact on the way we feel. In the context of chronic pain, persons with chronic pain usually have ways of thinking about the pain that intensifies the pain, and maintains it, often at a high level, because of the great amount of fear that these thoughts and beliefs create.


Early life experiences are generally understood to have a great impact on our later lives. These early experiences, often with parents and other caregivers, shape the way we think and feel about ourselves and the quality of relationships we form with others. If we were put down or criticized as a child, for example, we may grow up to criticize ourselves and believe that we are not worth much. Psychodynamic therapy provides insight into these early experiences and how problematic dynamics from our past are continuing to repeat in our present way of thinking, feeling, and acting. This insight can provide a transformative vehicle for change, and freedom from the confusion of the problems we face.


ISTDP focuses on resistances, or defenses, to difficult emotions that are at the core of our current day problems; problems such as anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and chronic pain. These problems are often the result of unconscious emotions and unregulated anxiety. Once these emotions are brought into awareness and experienced, and we learn to regulate our anxiety, the symptoms we are suffering with are no longer necessary. This treatment is intensive and brief, as opposed to more traditional forms of psychodynamic therapy.


EMDR, is a fascinating treatment for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, trauma, and more recently has been found to be effective in alleviating chronic pain. The treatment utilizes bilateral stimulation, most often in the form of rapid eye movements; similar to what occurs in dream, or REM, sleep. The bilateral stimulation is used to stimulate the way past events are inaccurately stored in the brain so that these experiences can be adaptively "digested," leading to the resolution of negative emotions, beliefs, and bodily sensations. 


Mindfulness training involves learning a new way of being in the world through fundamental principles such as present moment awareness, non-judgment, and radical acceptance, making it a very practical tool. This age-old technique has strong research support and is shown to help with anxiety, depression, physical pain, as well as increasing our coping and overall quality of life. Chronic pain research shows that when mindfulness is used consistently, the brain's pain centers become less active, reducing physical symptoms. Overall stress, and emotions like fear, also decrease by use of Mindfulness through changes made in the brain's fear centers.


Guided imagery is a Mind-Body technique that uses relaxation training and guided concentration on visual images, taking advantage of the visual brain and nervous system’s ability to improve painful emotional and physical states. Through guided imagery, the brain and body can be trained to function in this preferred, relaxed state. Problems like anxiety, depression, insomnia, and unwanted physical symptoms in the body can be improved through the use of Guided Imagery.