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Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)
Feel Better, Think Better, Connect Better

Listening to Music


What is SSP?  The Safe and Sound Protocol is a five hour auditory program that helps rebalance the nervous system and return it to a level of safety, balance, and connection. SSP uses algorithmically filtered music and playlists that train the middle ear muscles to tune-into cues of safety signaled by the frequencies of the human voice. This process stimulates the social engagement system through a neural network associated with listening that allow therapy and treatments to work better and more effectively. 

How does it work?  SSP works through stimulation of the middle ear muscles and  "vagus" complex. The vagus nerve helps regulate specific functions such as respiration, digestion, heart rate, vasomotor, immune system response, and more. The specifically filtered sounds you listen to subtly stretch your nervous system and improve the functioning of the middle ear muscles, helping your body shift from a more defensive state to a more calmer, restful, and parasympathetic state. This process allows you to connect easier with yourself, others, and the world around you. SSP also shifts the brains tendency to scan for danger to an openness to human speech and sounds.

Little Music Fan
Child Wearing Glasses Without Lenses


Who is SSP for?  SSP works for ages 18 months to adult.  No diagnosis is required, and any illness, disease, or condition that involves dysregulation of the nervous system due to defensive, hyperactive, or underactive nervous system has potential to benefit.  SSP works especially well when used in conjunction with other therapeutic techniques; but it is not a replacement for counseling or treatments for psychological conditions.  


Specific conditions and diagnoses that SSP can help support: long Covid; chronic stress; chronic pain; adrenal fatigue syndrome; sound sensitivities; autonomic nervous system disorders; digestion problems; emotional dysregulation (like anger, tantrums, withdrawal); auditory hypersensitivity; auditory processing disorder; sensory processing disorders; motion sickness; emotional regulation difficulties; neurodevelopmental issues; difficulty with sleep; premature/NICU stays; and medical trauma (like surgeries, chronic medical procedures).  It also helps support autism anxiety, panic attacks, ADHD, PTSD, Downs Syndrome, POTS, Misophponia.  

What is the music I will listen to?
There are three types of playlists. Adult, which is a mix of rock, pop, and country. Child, has music intended to appeal to children (like songs from Disney and whatnot). Classic Flow classical music without lyrics.

The filtering is the same for all three playlists so they can be mixed and matched. We can provide you with playlists of the music you will listen to ahead of time. If any songs appear triggering, it is completely fine to switch to different playlists, avoid that song, or skip to the next.

Mother and Daughter Having Fun

Can I Listen To SSP at Home or Have my Child Listen at Home?

Both with the right set up and support. The use of SSP is most successful when listening is done in the context of another supportive person and with the least amount of distractions. Often many people will listen while comfortably sitting, laying down, or swinging/rocking gently back and forth. It is also ok to listen while engaging in other non-cognitively taxing activities that support coregulation like playing pass or rolling a ball back and forth.

With younger children, doing SSP in the presence of a therapist can add a greater level of safety and comfort. If you're a parent who wants to give SSP to your child at home, we can first try SSP out at our studio and determine what will best benefit your child. Together we review the subtle changes that will require monitoring when using to ensure a successful experience when listening at home. 


What are some children and adults experiencing with SSP?  

SSP helps some individuals access a calm and more grounded state instantaneously following listening.

The areas of improvement that occur 2-7 weeks after completion of SSP include: 

  • Increased display of affection-seeking

  • Increased body flexibility

  • Improved eye contact

  • Increased feelings of calmness

  • Better hearing

  • Finding transitions easier

  • Openness to trying new food tastes/textures 

  • Able to tolerate noisy environments easier

  • Reduced anxiety

  • Reduction in motor and sensory hypersensitivities

  • Reduced chronic pain

  • Less throat tension

  • Improved quality and sound of voice

  • Easier following directions 

  • Improved bladder control

  • Improved visual tracking

  • Improved self-awareness

  • Improved digestion

  • Improve cardiac function

  • Greater ability to put words to feeling

  • More active participation in classroom

Blue Headset

What equipment do I need to do SSP?
To do SSP in person or remotely you will need: 

A device to access SSP app.  Suitable devices include: Smartphones (either iPhone or Android); Tablets (either Apple or Android); newer Machbooks that have the M1 Chip; or Chromebooks.

Headphones. The headphones should be over the ear, that is, have the big padded ear cups that completely surround the ears rather than sit on top. We do not recommend noise canceling headphones (or that feature can be turned off and without bass enhancement). Bluetooth or wireless are fine; but earbuds cannot be used for SSP.

Inexpensive headphones that meet these criteria are: OneOdio A71, OneOdio A70, or Audio-Technica ATH-M20x. For children that do not like headphones we recommend Cozyphones.  


Some headphones may also require an adaptor for your device if you device does not have a 3.5mm connector.  

How often do I need to do SSP?  

We can determine the most appropriate level of delivery for you. Some individuals may benefit from SSP for up to 30 minutes per session over a 10-day period. Other individuals with more sensitive nervous systems or histories of trauma might use as little as a few minutes weekly over several months.

Each hour of SSP is different, allowing a gradual increase in sound modulation over the five hours of total listening. Hours one and two help calm the nervous system and your physiology to tolerate higher levels of filtration in hours three through five. Click Video here to view a more detailed video of the create of SSP, Dr. Porges, discussing the filtering process at each level. 

For individuals or children who have sensitivities to certain music, we offer a Connect SSP that is the same playlist as Core SSP, but without filtering. This allows an individual to first become familiar with the music that will eventually be filtered. Even though Connect SSP is nonfiltered, some people have experienced benefits with listening. 

Should I do SSP before, during, or after I start Therapy or Training?

SSP is a great place to begin a therapeutic or training program. By very rapidly shifting physiology, SSP creates a platform for other approaches like therapy, somatic work, or movement training to work better. Occasionally there can be some exceptions to this where SSP may be beneficial when combined with treatment. I would be more than happy to discuss how this may be possible as your provider.  

I Had Tubes Put in My Ears, or I Use Hearing Aides. Can I Still Use SSP?

Yes.  Individuals with these histories can still use the headphones for listening. Hearing aides may need to be taken out if you feel there are any feedback issues. Cochlear implants can be left powered on with the headphones placed over the implant microphone.

Can I Repeat The Program Once Done For More Health Benefits? 

Yes. Some people will find that they will get more benefits when completing the entire program twice. Often, you will continue to get benefits for 6-8 weeks following the first listening experience. It is recommended to wait 8-12 weeks before starting a second delivery of SSP program however.  If you find the effects of SSP to be instantaneous and is something you wish to continue, we do use a "Balance" program that allows a similar but lower delivery of filtered music during these in-between waiting periods. We are happy to talk with you more on how to use this while you continue to integrate the SSP and prepare for a second listening experience.

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