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9 practices for providers to cultivate safety with clients

By Amy Hadden, NBC-HWC, FMCHC, SSP Provider
Reviewed by Rebecca Knowles, OTD, OTR/L, RYT

Safe — it’s a word we use again and again as Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) providers. But what exactly does safety look like, and how can providers (whether SSP-certified or not) cultivate safety for their clients before they start their SSP journey?

Deb Dana’s three Cs of safety serve as trustworthy guides:

  1. Context answers “Who, what, when, where, why, and how?”
  2. Choice includes the ability to opt in or out; a variety of options
  3. Connection includes co-regulation with provider; presence with self, others

In my practice, I think of the three Cs not only as a helpful tool to teach my clients, but also the framework from which to work. From the initial inquiry to off-boarding and every second of SSP delivery in between, I am considering context, choice and connection.

This often looks like:

Anticipating and allowing ample time for questionsOffering a choice between the SSP playlistsCreating rapport through email before meeting
Normalizing and providing context for dysregulation that may briefly accompany SSP deliveryGiving a client the choice of what activities to do before, during and after a listening sessionUsing invitational, non-directive language
Asking caregivers their communication preferences post-listening (form, email, in-session)Inviting clients into a deeper connection with themselves by exploring and celebrating their strengths and noticing their physical sensations as important messages from their bodies
In an SSP remote group listening setting, inviting attendees to co-create safety for each other by having their materials ready, choosing a private space to limit background distractions, and being mindful of what they share with the group

Context, choice and connection prove helpful in putting the “safe before sound” that guides effective SSP delivery, nervous system flexibility and a platform for transformation. 

About the author

Amy Hadden is a coach, writer and licensed educator. She helps people of all ages listen to their bodies with gentleness and respond to life with their unique strengths. It’s her delight to walk alongside clients—including caregivers, kiddos, and those with complex health challenges—using the SSP, somatic coaching and positive psychology tools to support regulation and wellbeing. 

Amy is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC) and Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach (FMCHC) studying Somatic Experiencing®.

You can learn more about Connect, Choice and Connect through Deb Dana’s work, available here.

Download this free infographic

Use these tips by Amy Hadden, featuring Deb Dana’s three Cs of safety, before starting your clients on their Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) journey.

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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