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Dr. Stephen Porges shares his thoughts, fears, and excitement about how the Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP) came to fruition.

Dear SSP Providers,


About two years ago, Karen and Randall visited me in Chapel Hill to interview me for an iLs podcast.  During their visit they introduced me to iLs and their vision of using auditory therapies to improve the quality of life for children and adults with speech, language, listening, and behavioral problems.  During our day together, we experienced a sense of a shared objective and an unusual degree of mutual trust.  In Polyvagal terms, we were co-regulating, intellectually playing, and building a synergy that would enable us to boldly venture into a new territory – the launching of the Safe and Sound Protocol.   


During that initial meeting, we started a dialogue of how the Listening Project Protocol (LPP), the research-based auditory intervention that I developed, could be integrated into the iLs family of products. On a personal level ‘letting go’ of the intervention was not easy. For two decades I resisted distributing the LPP.  I kept it solely as a research protocol limited to my laboratory.  Although I wanted to make it available, the scientist in me was unsure that the profound effects that I observed in my laboratory would be easily duplicated outside the strictly controlled laboratory. I thought that the only option to insure quality was to create ‘listening’ centers that I managed. But pragmatically I did not have a model for distribution or training.  I was and still am a scientist and not a business manager or entrepreneur.  One of the lessons of life is to know what your skills are and what they are not.  The meeting with Randall and Karen convinced me that I had found in iLs the perfect partners to bring the Listening Project Protocol to therapists.  By collaborating with iLs, I had found the right portal for the intervention to reach needy children and adults. The product of this collaboration was the launching of the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) in early Spring 2017.  Karen renamed the protocol to SSP, which nicely emphasized the two synergistic components of the intervention – the need for a safe context and the sound delivered in the intervention.


However, I am still a scientist and I thrive on data. I want to learn from you about your observations with the SSP. You, as talented and compassionate therapists, are observing new wonders in response to the Safe and Sound Protocol. Many of you have seen transformations occur rapidly as the Social Engagement System is efficiently stimulated with acoustic stimuli than convey cues of safety.  In contrast, you may have clients who are not responsive or others who may feel uncomfortable while listening.  I want to learn from you and what you observe.  This information will enable us to refine the profile of the client who will benefit from SSP and also the specific behavioral features that will change.


We have developed a format to document your clinical cases.  These documents will form an archive for two important purposes: 1) the clinical cases will be used to develop a documentation to support third party payments, and 2) I will be writing a book on the SSP including its history, theory, and neurophysiological basis and I want to include clinical cases.  In writing the book, I will acknowledge each provider whose case I have selected.  In order to maintain privacy of the clients, these acknowledgements will not be linked with any specific clinical case.    


Randall, Karen and I and the rest of the iLs Team look forward to hearing your stories.





February, 2018.

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