The Safe and Sound Protocol
What is the SSP?
Developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, the SSP is a five-day auditory intervention designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience. Based on Dr. Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, by calming the physiological and emotional state, the door is opened for improved communication and more successful therapy.
The SSP is a research-based therapy showing significant results in just five days in the following areas:
- Social and emotional difficulties
- Auditory sensitivities
- Anxiety and trauma related challenges
- Stressors that impact social engagement
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Emotional and physiological state are critical to how we approach the task at hand. So when a client has better state control, not only can they be more socially engaged, they are more open to therapy. Better state regulation improves therapeutic outcomes. Read more about how the SSP is helping clients.
This non-invasive intervention involves listening to music that has been processed specifically to retune the nervous system (regulating state) to introduce a sense of safety and the ability to socially engage. This allows the client to better interpret not only human speech, but, importantly, the emotional meaning of language. Once interpersonal interactions improve, spontaneous social behaviors and an enhanced ability to learn, self-regulate and engage are often seen.
*Training is required before ordering the SSP system which is offered on a subscription basis.
How does it work?
The SSP uses the auditory system as a portal to the vagus complex, which controls our physiological state. Once physiological state is regulated, we can accelerate or enhance subsequent therapy.
Based on Dr. Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, the program is derived from nearly four decades of research on the relationship between the autonomic nervous system and social-emotional processes. It is designed to stimulate nervous system regulation by exercising and systematically challenging the auditory system with specifically processed music.
The music trains the auditory pathways by focusing on the frequency envelope of human speech. As the client learns to process these speech-related frequencies, they improve the functioning of two cranial nerves that are important for promoting overall social behavior. Cranial Nerve VII (Facial Nerve) helps clients focus on human voice and tune out irrelevant frequencies. Cranial Nerve X (Vagus Nerve) enables self-soothing and autonomic regulation.
Following successful completion of the intervention, individuals will be better able to focus in school, therapy, and everyday life and experience a calmed emotional and physiological state. This is based on studies that suggest that skills such as attention, state regulation and the ability to engage socially will be enhanced.
We have tried so many other things with minimal help – we just never got to the core of the issue – the SSP got to the core.
This girl and her family have attempted many different therapeutic interventions over the developmental years and unfortunately were discouraged with the outcomes. The positive results on the SSP have provided this family with encouragement and hope.
I want to let you know that I feel that the SSP seems to have rebooted my emotions relative to grieving for my sister. My face feels more expressive, there is more modulation in my voice, and I feel less of a wall between me and the world. Yay!!!!!
There seems to be a better sense of control about my emotions and a sense of balance and calm. It has been extremely rewarding to be more deliberate and aware of my reactions. This change has improved the communication and conflict resolution in some of my most important relationships.
Thankful to be able to offer such a powerful treatment for our kiddos and their families!
I was a little skeptical about how well the SPP would work for me. I cannot believe how less reactive I am. I view the world completely differently. I can connect with my family in a deeper way. People around me have noticed the difference.
I suffered a traumatic experience with severe bullying three years ago. I was diagnosed with PTSD and even had to come home to be homeschooled because I kept getting triggered when little incidents that would occur with other students. After I finished the SSP, I was less grumpy all the time. My mother noticed the most difference because I am not arguing with her near as much as I used to. I am much happier now.
Before I had a hard time with clarity and now things seem to come more easily for me. I am much calmer. I can piece things together more quickly without getting overwhelmed. I feel like I have gained patience with my children; I am responding instead of reacting.
My wife and kids have noticed that "It's like having a different person in the house." I feel more patient and able to strategize regarding relationships with my wife and kids. I am following through on training and business goals with far greater energy and consistency. I am happier, more confident, more connected to my family, and clearer in my thinking, Many of these improvements are unprecedented.
Much less trouble controlling emotions and excitement. Better control of emotions and fewer tantrums now.
1. The SSP increased vagal regulation of the heart and normalized auditory processing in children with ASD. (Read here.)
2. The SSP enhanced social behavior in children with ASD. (Read here.)
3. Using the SSP with children who have experienced trauma. Funded by the Australian Childhood Foundation. (Read here.)
4. Assessing the effects of the SSP on behavioral regulation in children and adults with ADD/ADHD. In cooperation with: ADD Centre and Biofeedback Institute of Toronto. (Read here.)
5. Assessing the effects of the SSP on behavioral regulation in emotionally disturbed and learning-challenged children. Funded by the Reiss-Davis Child Study Center of Vista Del Mar, California. (Read here.)
6. Determining if the SSP can decrease the atypical features of the Social Engagement System in adolescents and young adults with Prader Willi Syndrome. In cooperation with the Latham Centers School in Brewster, Massachusetts. (Read here.)
7. Examining the effects of the SSP on chronic pain in older adults. In cooperation with the Meadowood Retirement Community in Bloomington, Indiana. (Read here.)
Course Prerequisite: Clinical/Educational Degree
The Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP): A Portal to Social Engagement Training Course is an on-demand course available in our e-learning platform. The course includes lectures from Dr. Stephen Porges and Dr. Keri Heilman, as well as information on including the SSP in your practice. For you convenience, the course can be taken from any location, and does not have to be completed all at once.
Upon completion, you will be eligible to subscribe to the SSP system.
The SSP is a Patent Pending intervention.