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Case StudySSPAnxietyDepressionPhysical Challenges

Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) helps client alleviate digestive issues caused by anxiety

🕑 2 minutes read
Posted July 24, 2023

About the Provider

Name: Verónica Hernández
Discipline/Credentials: Psychotherapist, MSc.
Modalities: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Brainspotting, HeartMath, Amelia virtual reality bilateral guided drawing, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

Client Background

Name: SMA (pseudonym)
Age and Gender: 12-year-old girl
Program Delivered: Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) Core (Hours 1-5); Connect (Hours 1-5); Balance (Hours 1-5)

SMA presents with anxiety, constipation, acid reflux, suicidal ideation and depression. She first visited Verónica during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, during isolation while living with her parents and younger sister in a supportive household. 

The goal of treatment was to address her anxiety and depression, and help with digestive issues that were likely related to anxiety. She was referred to Verónica by a psychoeducational assessment team.  

Implementation of the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

The SSP was delivered in-person with sessions in the clinic and at home. Listening sessions were 30 minutes each and were administered while playing board games. SMA was extremely guarded and anxious, so talking therapies didn’t work best for her. The SSP was perfect as it did not require anything from her other than listening to the music and playing her game of choice. 

Other supporting activities and modalities included play therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), virtual reality and HeartMath, as well as psychoeducation and guidance of SMA’s parents.

SMA using virtual reality while listening to the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP).


Despite being unsure whether the SSP would help in the very beginning, SMA’s family was surprised and extremely happy with the results of the listening therapy. At the beginning of the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP), SMA’s constipation was severe, and she had weekly visits to the gastroenterologist, medicine and a special diet. By the end of the program, she was taken off the medicines, no longer needed the special diet, and her constipation was resolved. A year later, she maintains the gains.


“The parents played a crucial role,” Verónica said. “They followed every recommendation. They co-regulated and communicated in a loving and caring way to their child and offered constant support. She had good home conditions and caring adults around her.”

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