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SSP Gathering

with Stephen W. Porges, PhD and SSP therapists from diverse fields

April 26-27, 2019

One Ocean Resort, Atlantic Beach, Florida

Dear Colleague,

Dr. Stephen PorgesLess than three years ago Randall Redfield and Karen Onderko visited Chapel Hill to interview me for an iLs podcast about my research on acoustic interventions.  Within a few months we were seriously discussing how to transition my research intervention, the Listening Project Protocol, into a product that could be efficiently shared with therapists. After meeting them, I realized the iLs family shared my values and desire to transform my work into a product that would be helpful to individuals that had state regulation difficulties, auditory hypersensitivities, auditory processing deficits, language delays, and difficulties engaging in social communication.  Those familiar with the Polyvagal Theory recognize that all these features are manifestations of a common neural circuit that I have labeled the Social Engagement System. The result of our discussions was the transition of the the Listening Project Protocol into The Safe and Sound Protocol™ (SSP).

In March 2017 iLs launched the SSP.  The past 18 months have been remarkable.  During this period more than 1,300 therapists have been certified and several thousand individuals and their families have benefited from the SSP.  Many of you have reported transformative effects. Through emails and clinical case reports we have witnessed the positive impact of SSP. A grateful parent spontaneously created a Facebook page for parents to discuss expectations and outcomes of the SSP.  Currently, approximately 1,700 families are being informed through this Facebook page. Now there are other Facebook groups forming for therapists who are using the SSP.

As you gained experience with the SSP, you have applied your clinical knowledge, compassion and innovation to expand the program beyond my original hopes.  You have extended the use of the SSP beyond the initial five-day protocol and adjusted the time intervals. You are using it to help those with PTSD, anxiety, Parkinson’s, Prader Willi Syndrome, and childhood abuse.  You’ve found creative strategies for integrating the SSP into body-oriented psychotherapies, such as Somatic Experiencing. Your feedback through case studies has confirmed the published research and has informed us about the effectiveness of the SSP with other clinical disorders and the features of the individuals who are most likely to benefit.

With this new information, I’ve been discussing with iLs ways we might create an interactive forum for therapists to learn from each other.  We decided to create a meeting format that would foster opportunities to share clinical observations and insights on how to optimize the effectiveness of the SSP.  As different cases are presented, we will learn how the program was adapted for that client and I’ll bring my perspective on what I believe is happening through the Polyvagal lens. Since the focus of this meeting is mutual learning with lots of interactive dialogue we are calling it a ‘gathering’ rather than a conference.

For this special event, we selected a beachfront hotel in Atlantic Beach, Florida.  Atlantic Beach is a small beautiful community on the ocean in north Florida. We selected a hotel which is on the beach and across from the town center with shops and restaurants.  Atlantic Beach is about a 30-minute drive from the Jacksonville airport. When you visit you will understand our motivation in having the meeting there (and you will understand why my wife and I are moving our primary residence to Atlantic Beach).

We’re looking forward to having you share your experiences and ideas with the SSP community.  The Gathering will be organized to foster supportive interactions, group discussions and networking with therapists focusing on similar populations. We look forward to your participation and contribution to our shared journey of gaining new insights into how the SSP can improve our lives. I hope you will join us.



(April 26-27, 2019):

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We want to hear what topics you are most interested in sharing and learning about during the SSP Gathering in the spring.  Help inform the discussion by taking this short, 8-question survey (3 minutes).

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