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Case StudySSPPhysical ChallengesSocial and Communication Difficulties

Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) helps client with spasmodic dysphonia find his voice

🕑 2 minutes read
Posted September 26, 2023

About the Provider

Name: Taylor Hayden
Disciplines/credentials: Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) Provider, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC)
Modalities: Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), narrative therapy

Client Background

Name: Jack (pseudonym)
Age and Gender: 69-year-old man
Program Delivered: Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) Core (Hours 1-5)

Jack presents with spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological disorder affecting the voice, with stress on his vocal cords. He has been through five years of treatment at Duke Health hospitals using Botox injections and many other forms of treatment. The results of these treatments have never lasted more than a few months and recently all treatments do not seem to work.  

Jack is a busy, self-employed woodworker. Provider Taylor Hayden discussed the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) with him and explained why he thought he might benefit from the approach. Jack had seen his daughter benefit from SSP as well, so he decided to give it a try. He hoped to be able to talk more normally and more often.

Implementation of the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

The SSP was delivered at Jack’s home with either his wife or Taylor present. The listening sessions were typically 20 minutes long. He was supported through extensive psychoeducation in the form of readings, videos and handouts.


After the SSP, Jack has had multiple people comment on how they can hear and understand him better. Most importantly, he is able to talk with his grandchildren without his wife interpreting for him. He can now order at restaurants with the servers understanding him. He has more confidence because of this, is more cheerful, and feels more grounded and focused in life.


“I feel incredibly privileged to watch this man gain his life back,” Taylor said. “He can speak to others more easily and asked when he could engage [the] SSP again in hopes of more of his voice returning. Jack’s voice is at least 50 percent back to normal most of the time.”
He also added, “We treated the tension in the muscles by assuming there was a deeper cause than just a muscle spasming out. We assumed that the body was responding to something and that we needed to kindly help the body feel safe so it could drop some of the muscle tension.”

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