The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)
A passive intervention for treating nervous system dysregulation
The SSP is five hours of specially filtered music designed to work with the specific systems of the body that help us to feel safe. Safety creates a healing environment, allowing us to trust and more closely connect with other aspects of our self and with others. Developed by Dr. Stephen Porges and based on his Polyvagal Theory, the SSP uses sound to exercise the tiny muscles of the middle ear, thereby facilitating the healthy nervous system responses that organically open the door to calmed emotions and improved communication skills.
Although the SSP is not designed as a stand-alone therapy, it is proven to be an effective way to prepare the nervous system for further physiological and psychological treatment. Thus far, research conducted with both children and adults has shown significant results in the following areas:
• Anxiety and trauma-related challenges
• Social and emotional difficulties
• Auditory sensitivities
• Stressors that impact social engagement
Please click here to access a pre- and post-SSP checklist which gives examples of various symptoms potentially addressed by SSP use.
Because it was first designed as an intervention for children on the autism spectrum, the trauma treatment community is breaking new ground in SSP use with adults. The standard way to receive the protocol was to listen five days in a row, one hour at a time, but current best practices are indicating the need to slow the protocol down in order to minimize trauma activation or overwhelm. Since the SSP is designed to promote healthy nervous system co-regulation, it also needs to be completed in the presence of a trusted other (therapist, well-regulated friend or family member, etc.).
The intervention continues to “work” for approximately six to eight weeks following completion, and can also be repeated. While some recipients experience very slight shifts following the protocol, and some even report feeling immediately worse (particularly if activation cues were ignored in order to follow the original one hour a day administration schedule), others have realized large gains:
"After (client with fibromyalgia) finished the SSP, she reported a few weeks later that the pain has subsided from 7-9 to 3-4….”
“My client used the SSP twice,…and reported today that her (chronic) pain is gone! She’s very calm, started talking in a soft voice, sleep is better, no cravings for sweets…. She has stopped using Klonopin for anxiety completely (she was on it every day) and says she feels like if she’s still using it, she’s that calm now.”
“(My) adult client with severe auditory processing challenges and misophonia (0.4th percentile… "severely disordered" before SSP) saw an immediate improvement 8 days later (64th percentile on some subtests...”above average”). Her misophonia was also much improved, and her affect was positive. Her husband commented she was not as irritable.”
For a detailed explanation about the SSP and how and why it works, please watch the following video interview with Dr.Stephen Porges:
At Bodhisattva Bodywork, I offer the SSP as a stand-alone modality or in combination with other somatic therapies. New adult clients are welcomed, but an initial consultation is required. The SSP may also be used in conjunction with Bodhisattva Bodywork Somatic Intensives.
The cost for the five day SSP package is $535. For further details, please read the Informed Consent paperwork by clicking below:
For further information, please click below or call (919) 636-9439.