[gravityform id="12" title="true" description="false" ajax="true"]
Case StudySSPTrauma & PTSD

Case Study: SSP eliminates violent meltdowns in child with NICU history

🕑 2 minutes read
Posted September 1, 2022

About the Provider

Name: Stephanie Isbell
Discipline/Credentials: Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
DIR/Floortime, Family Systems Trauma model, Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

Client Background

Name: Janie (pseudonym)
Age and Gender: Eight years old, female
Program Delivered: Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)
(SSP Core, Hours 1 through 4)

Janie lives with her parents and younger brother in a rural area. As an infant, Janie was premature and spent two months in the NICU. She had been to several counselors before. Stephanie Isbell began working with Janie and her mother at the same time that a school counselor began family therapy. At this point, none of the previous treatments had any effect on the problem, which was worsening.

Janie had hair-trigger meltdowns that occurred multiple times per day and was violent toward her mother. Janie’s parents were desperate to find a solution to her violent meltdowns.

Continue reading: Why a child’s behavior is not what you think it is

Neuroscience shows us that bad behaviors stem from a child’s lack of safety.

Implementation of the SSP

Due to distance and family stresses, the SSP was delivered to Janie in a non-optimal way. However, she successfully completed four hours of the SSP Core (and then used the DreamPad for a few weeks).

The family was also receiving family therapy at school to create a behavioral intervention. Stephanie communicated with the school therapist about the case and recommended some DIR/Floortime (attachment) ideas for his proposed behavioral contract.


Janie was very cooperative with the SSP and played a low-key video game or colored while she listened. (She also loved the DreamPad.)

“Astonishingly, after two weeks, her meltdowns ceased and she was able to comply completely with the modified behavioral contract,” Stephanie reported.

The parents were thrilled with the progress in Janie and surprised with how quickly she changed. Janie herself is much happier and calmer in general, and able to regulate herself well in daily frustrations. She is now mostly compliant with parental requests.


Stephanie believes that Janie’s NICU experience was likely a key problem, which was exacerbated by the parents yelling when they got overwhelmed by her behaviors. The behavioral contract eliminated the yelling in the household and the SSP improved Janie’s receptivity to normal voice pitches, indicating safety and harmony.

“It is vital to ask clients about their early childhood history with traumas like a NICU stay or very noisy home environments — especially when there is poverty, job, or other family stress,” Stephanie said.

Discover the Safe and Sound Protocol

An auditory intervention developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, the SSP restores the nervous system, and is designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience.

Recent Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search