How have you seen the SSP help your clients?
In so many ways, but mostly in that it has helped make the therapy more accessible. That is the easiest way to explain it. Whether that is to help [clients] regulate enough to actually be able to be a more active participants in their treatment or speeding up the process of feeling safe in our environment, in order to be present.
What challenges were you facing before using the SSP?
Everything was and still is a challenge—that is [the nature of] our work. It’s not easy and every child is different. I will say that children have been experiencing anxiety more and more over the last few years, even before the pandemic. But the SSP has been an invaluable tool to help our clients reach their potentials quicker.
How has the SSP helped to solve these challenges?
It has helped me recognize that I can help these kids by using the PVT (Polyvagal Theory) framework and the SSP specifically with them. And I often start there—with the SSP early in the treatment—to help clear out that piece, or block, so that I can see the other challenges more clearly without the umbrella of anxiety shading the situation. Also, I will mention here that learning about the PVT validated myself as a therapist and helped me understand why my clients were able to get better even before I started using the SSP. I think that is why it spoke to me immediately—now I have permission to fully develop that approach within my treatment.
How did Covid-19 affect your clients and / or your practice?
Truthfully, I could not do the SSP with anyone last spring and most of the summer. Our world was not safe and we were in lockdown here for many months. I did not feel that the world was safe enough to risk anyone’s vulnerability at that point. I didn’t start doing it again until the fall when we were in person again and I felt comfortable that the children were okay and it was not a risk. As our world has gradually been opening up, I have more and more kids on the program. Our parents have been wonderful in keeping most of the kids feeling safe. I am lucky to live and work in an environment where people have the means to do that.