About the Provider
Name: Aden Cosgrove, RSW
Discipline/Credentials: Registered Social Worker
Modalities: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) (S.A.F.E.), Narrative Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness Counselling Strategies, and SMART Recovery
Name: Keegan (pseudonym)
Age and Gender: 34 years old, non-binary
Diagnoses and Conditions: ADHD
Program Delivered: Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) (SSP Connect, Hours 1 and 2; SSP Core, Hours 1 through 5; and SSP Balance, Hours 1 through 5)
Keegan has been in therapy their whole life and wanted to try something different. Their trauma history is extensive, and they have many maladaptive beliefs about themselves and the world. Avoidant of conflict and setting boundaries, it’s difficult for Keegan to connect with others and maintain relationships with friends, and as a result they often avoid people and fail to maintain friendships. Part of this struggle is that they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the symptoms of this complicate the trauma that they’ve experienced.
Implementation of the SSP
Keegan’s major goal is to have a healthy social life. Finding it hard to continously avoid conflict and set boundaries with people they care about, they often “fawn” or people-please with those in their life, and they want things to change. Keegan also finds it hard to stay on task and is often distracted, which can be frustrating.
The program was delivered remotely to Keegan, with co-listening in the first hour of listening for about 10 minutes. Psychoeducation is always a big piece of treatment with the SSP for this practitioner. Therapist-client co-regulation while in session in a strengths-based and anti-oppressive way up until SSP delivery with the client was helpful. Keegan has already done a lot of work on trauma and it was beneficial to consider how they’ve managed their autonomic nervous system states, and how they will when and if each of these states do come up.
Keegan reported many incredible differences during and after the SSP. They were able to notice the vagal brake and utilize it easily, which led to an increase in comfortability with transitions between states. They felt more rhythm and attunement with themselves, were more open and flexible in their thinking, and wanted to connect with others with a drive to follow through. They had less task paralysis, procrastinating less and following through on tasks that would never have been completed before, with much-improved focus, and the ability to notice ADHD symptoms more and have more compassion about that.
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Aden also highlighted more significant outcomes for Keegan. Keegan has motion sickness, but since the SSP hasn’t experienced this (and have tested this). Keegan was often sick from being unable to eat, and now they’re able to eat easily and eat more of a diversity of food. Keegan is now getting up early in the morning, which has never happened, but has been an incredible impact on their life and partnership. Lastly, Keegan reported that after a lifetime fear of answering the phone or making a call, which has impacted their career, this has now disappeared.
Keegan’s partner was ecstatic with the changes that she saw. Not only did she notice that Keegan has greater command of their ADHD symptoms following the protocol, but after always being incredibly difficult to get out of bed, she says that Keegan now gets up early in the morning. This is the first time that Keegan’s partner can say they’re able to enjoy mornings together.
Since they had such amazing results, the next step with this client is to do the Focus System. Aden believes the reason Keegan had such great results is all the trauma work that they had already done prior to the SSP, plus their understanding of themselves and their autonomic nervous system. They really engaged in the psychoeducational component and this changed their ability to notice exactly what the SSP was doing. The client’s motivation for healing and doing SSP was incredibly high.