Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)
Feel Better, Think Better, Connect Better
What is SSP? The Safe and Sound Protocol is a non-invasive listening therapy that helps better regulate the body's nervous system. It is designed to rebalance the nervous system and return it to a level of safety, balance, and connection and works well with other therapeutic and somatic based approaches. When our nervous systems works from a foundational level of safety and balance, therapeutic interventions and treatments, always work better and more effectively.
How does it work? Specifically, SSP works by stimulating the vagus nerve complex, one of the main nerves connected with listening that helps us process and respond to the world around us. It has very important roles that involve regulate specific functions such as respiration, digestion, heart rate, vasomotor, and immune system response. SSP uses specially filtered music and playlists that you or your child can listen to that helps to train and rebalance the neural network associated with middle ear apparatus.
By listening to the frequency range of the human voice inside the music you hear, these modulations to sound helps safely and subtly "stretch the nervous system," in unique ways that help the body to respond from a less protective, over-reactive, and/or defensive state. Over time, your nervous system is given a new opportunity to develop a safer, calmer, and more accessible state. By reducing overactive nervous system behavior and allowing greater connections to the environment around, this helps promote more natural behavior of spontaneity, creativity, and social engagement in life.
Who Is SSP For? SSP works for individuals ages 18 months to adulthood and helps them to initiate and access a physiological state conductive to well-being, positive engagement with others, and growth in all areas of new learning including therapy. SSP helps regulate the nervous system at its core. A diagnosis is not required but any illness, disease, condition or disorder that involves physical bodily symptoms or dysregulated behavior due to protective-defensive, hyper-active, or underactive nervous system, has potential to benefit from this intervention to aid in improved balance and resetting of the nervous system, especially when used in conjunction with other therapeutic interventions.
Specific conditions and diagnoses can cause overactivity and dysregulation in the nervous system, causing shifts into a greater defensive and protected state and can occur in many of the following: long haul Covid symptoms, chronic stress, chronic pain, autonomic nervous system disorders, emotional dysregulation (anger, tantrums, withdrawal), auditory sensitivity, difficulty with sleep, premature/NICU stays, adoption, medical trauma (surgeries, chronic medical procedures), Autism, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, ADHD, PTSD, neurodevelopmental issues, downs syndrome, POTS, misophonia, and more. Where many of these conditions may benefit from a resetting and rebalancing of the nervous system, it is not a replacement for talk or movement based therapy, but can be tool that can reach further than some times talking or traditional based therapies for those looking for complementary approaches.
What Are Some Children and Adults Experiencing With SSP? SSP helps individuals access a calm and grounded state, and promotes a successful physiological bodily state and more supportive foundation for health, growth, and restoration. SSP is a "bottom-up" approach that interrupts protected and defensive physiological states and helps usher the nervous system out of fight, flight, or freeze states and into a more socially engaged and connected state. This allows individuals to feel calmer and more grounded in their body; think less disorganized and be less distracted; and connect more openly and wholly with themselves and the world around them. Prior to using, we spend time up front first learning together about you or your child's unique nervous system operates, the familiarities and sensitivities, and some of the common responses ad bodily changes that may occur when listening so we can ensure the most successful experience when using SSP.
Often following using the SSP program, many people report things like feeling "less triggered," "calmer," "better management of symptoms," "less defensive," "more sociable," "more energized," "less reactive," "more attentive," "clearer" and "more connection to self and others."
How Often Do I Need To Do SSP?
The initial protocol was developed to be used over a 10 day period with children, however, we are finding it beneficial to deliver in slower doses and with adequate rest time in between to allow for best integration. Spending time on understanding each persons history, needs, and nervous system sensitivities, is how we determine the most appropriate level and delivery when using SSP.
For some, as little as a few minutes weekly and over several months can cause huge positive shifts and resets to one's nervous system, whereas, others may benefit from a program that delivers SSP up to 20 minutes on a more regular daily schedule allowing one to move through the program in a couple weeks and gaining similar benefits. Especially when working with cases where trauma or high levels of nervous system elevation may be present, it's important to allow the nervous system to shift and integrate at a manageable rater rather than a fast one.
Can I Do SSP Alone Or With My Child? The answer is "Yes" with the right set-up. With the right support that allows for co-regulation this is encouraged with close monitoring of changes. In some cases, especially with younger children, using SSP in the presence of a therapist or parent adds a greater level of safety and comfort and provides enormous benefit when administering SSP. In cases where it may be more appropriate for the parent to administer of SSP to their child at home, working closely together with your therapist and being aware of the sensitive changes that can take place in you or your child's system sensitive is often beneficial. We provide all training and monitoring to deliver successful experiences.
Is It Better To Do SSP in Person or Remote?: The SSP experience has everything to do with creating the "safe" before the "sound." We do this by ensuring a strong level of safety in the environment and coregulation during all administering of SSP. There are many ways to ensure a safe and comfortable environment when providing SSP to allow successful delivery with in person or at home. In either case, discussing together with your provider about what can work best for you or your child is something that will be visited before all delivery and revisited regularly to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience when using SSP.