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Case StudySSPAutonomic Nervous SystemDepressionLong COVIDPhysical Challenges

Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) helps support chronic fatigue recovery due to long COVID

🕑 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), attachment theory, Amen Brain Clinics

Client Background

Name: Anne (pseudonym)
Age and Gender: 31-year-old woman
Program Delivered: Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) Core (Hours 1-5)

Anne is chronically fatigued as a result of long COVID and struggles with physical exertion. She naps often and is overwhelmed by life stressors very easily. In the past two years since getting COVID, Anne has had multiple job changes and a panic attack, and tends toward an immobilized, dorsal state

Anne lives with her family and works at a preschool. Her main forms of treatment are supplements, medications for depression (primarily SSRIs), doctor visits and dietary changes. She has some friends, but not many close ones, and struggles with her relationship due to her constant fatigue. 

The goal of treatment was to regulate her nervous system. Anne wanted a natural pathway to regulate her nervous system arousal and help with her long COVID symptoms. She and provider Taylor Hayden met to discuss the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) and decided that it was a good fit.

Implementation of the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

The SSP was delivered in a hybrid model with each listening session ranging from 20 to 30 minutes. Anne listened to the SSP with her mother, who was informed in Polyvagal Theory, or with her provider, Taylor. 

Taylor prepared Anne for the SSP through psychoeducation. Five days prior to the first session, he provided homework to prepare her for the SSP. This included mapping the autonomic nervous system (ANS), informational videos and reading about the SSP and ANS, and conversations around those concepts and how they work.


According to Anne’s Fitbit, she is now getting deeper sleep in just one night than she previously would get in an entire week. She reported being more energized and able to more easily handle stress without shutting down. She is more confident and ready to engage with others, and has expressed to others how much the SSP has helped her.


Taylor shares that the SSP “made recognizing dorsal vagus more easy to detect” for Anne, and also emphasized the importance of creating a proper, safe environment for his client at the beginning of treatment.

Discover the Safe and Sound Protocol

Developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, the SSP is a non-invasive acoustic vagus nerve stimulator that helps clients connect with themselves, others, and the world from a foundation of physiological safety.

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