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Case Study

Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) helps 10-year-old in foster care with a history of trauma regain control

🕑 3 minutes read
Posted July 4, 2024

In this video case study, Brittany Ratiani, Clinical Supervisor at Alternative Family Services, recounts the transformative journey of a young client, referred to as Mr. B (pseudonym). This heartwarming story is one example of the support that the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) can provide to help children presenting with a history of trauma, in addition to ADHD and behavioral challenges, find healing and growth.

Watch the video case study below.

At the start of Mr. B’s therapeutic journey, he was a 10-year-old boy grappling with a traumatic history of neglect, abandonment and substance use in the birth family system. He had diagnoses of post-traumatic stress and ADHD, and presented with depression and suicidal ideation. He had been through multiple foster placements, therapy attempts and school changes. He was rebellious, disruptive and struggled to find stability — in many ways, he was what Brittany described as “Hollywood’s stereotypical foster kid.”

There were many obstacles in connecting with Mr. B. He displayed challenging behaviors, including lying, stealing, bullying, sexualized behavior toward peers, and antagonizing his caregivers, which led to his being moved from a foster home to a shelter. Traditional therapeutic methods, such as talk therapy, play therapy and art therapy, failed to make a significant impact and he had no evident coping skills and limited social skills, leaving Brittany feeling stuck and unsure of how to help him.

Implementing the Safe and Sound Protocol

The breakthrough in Mr. B’s healing came through the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP), which offered him a different avenue for processing and healing. He was intrigued by the idea of “medicine music,” as Brittany referred to the SSP, that could help him without the need for talking or questions.

Brittany gradually introduced him to the SSP, starting with just a few minutes at a time and making use of the multiple SSP Pathways. His initial reaction wasn’t smooth, as he struggled with sensitivity. Brittany persisted, titrating program delivery down to two minutes per week to accommodate his nervous system’s limits, as well as seeking mentorship from another SSP provider to safely guide Mr. B through the SSP.

Response

By Hour 3 of the SSP Core pathway, Brittany began to observe the impact of the SSP, recalling the pivotal moment when she heard Mr. B laugh for the first time. As they continued with the SSP, Mr. B began to experience more subtle changes. He became less tense and more relaxed, and showed reduced resistance in therapy, which allowed Brittany to try talk therapy again.

“The previous interventions I had attempted previously were now more effective,” she said.

He also exhibited improved behavior at home and school: he received fewer complaints from school until they stopped completely after Hour 3 of the SSP. Notably, he stopped having thoughts of retaliation, which was a significant shift for a child with a history of aggression.

When Brittany asked Mr. B what he thought of the big changes, he responded, “I get to live in my body now and I get to have control over what it does, and I think that medicine music has something to do with it.”

By Hour 5, Mr. B was requesting relaxation and down-regulating activities on his own, was able to listen to the music of the SSP for 15 to 20 minutes, and was able to engage in talk therapy afterward.

Reintegration and Hope

With the help of SSP and guidance from Brittany, Mr. B was able to regain control over his emotions and behavior. Now 11 years old, he has been placed in a resource home and lives with a family again, showing a remarkable turnaround. Mr. B’s SSP journey is a reminder of the potential for healing and transformation that the SSP can offer to help support children who are experiencing similar presentations or conditions.

“I really do think it’s largely thanks to the SSP helping to rewire and help him in his brain get to a healthy enough place to be able to talk about and move through some of the challenges that he has now,” Brittany shared.

Discover Unyte Organizational Solutions

The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) has been successfully integrated across practice settings along the continuum of care, including large organizations, clinics and health centers.

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