What is the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)?

The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is an acoustic vagus nerve stimulator developed by Dr. Stephen Porges based on his Polyvagal Theory. SSP is a listening intervention designed to reduce stress while enhancing social engagement and resilience. The SSP is designed to increase feelings of calm and safety, reduce sound sensitivity, support mental focus and clear thinking, and help you connect more genuinely with others.

The SSP uses filtered vocal music to engage the vagus nerve through stimulation of the neural network associated with listening through the inner ear. The vagus nerve is the part of the nervous system responsible for rest, regulation, connection, and social engagement. The vagus nerve communicates an extensive range of signals about our state bidirectionally: from the brain to the body and the body to the brain. The vagus nerve affects facial expressions, tone of voice, heart rate and heart rate variability, breathing, and the function of the spleen, liver, kidneys and intestines. It can help to reduce inflammation and to improve your immune response. It is the care-taking nerve of the body. Most of this is done outside of our conscious awareness.

When the vagus nerve is stimulated, states of anxiety, stress, and overwhelm are minimized. 

Who can benefit from SSP? 

If you are experiencing any of the following, you might benefit from using the SSP:

  • Social and emotional difficulties
  • Auditory sensitivities
  • Anxiety and trauma-related challenges
  • Inattention
  • Stressors that impact social engagement / social anxiety
  • Difficulties in regulating physiological and emotional state

What changes are possible with the SSP?

The SSP is a portal to the Social Engagement System and it can have powerful effects on how  you interact with the world. You may experience:

  • more access to parasympathetic states leading to a sense of calm alertness
  • better emotional control 
  • increased distress tolerance
  • more reciprocal social interactions
  • increased emotional expressivity with others
  • increased capacity to engage eye contact and facial expressivity
  • improved understanding of speech

To learn more about the benefits of SSP, click here.
To read testimonials from people who have benefited from SSP, click here.
To see the research available on SPP, click here.

What is involved in the Safe & sound protocol experience?

The SSP uses specially-filtered music to train the neural network associated with listening to focus on the frequency range of the human voice. As you learn to focus on the sound frequencies of human speech through the SSP program, the vagus nerve becomes stimulated and the state of feeling more safe and calm becomes accessible.

During the SSP experience, you will listen to a series of filtered music delivered through a phone app using over the ear headphones. I will work with you during our sessions to determine the best set of music and length of each listening session. Sessions can be done in person or virtually using zoom.

There are 5 hours of listening within the core SSP program, which is done over the course of multiple sessions. We will incorporate somatic exercises during and after each session which will aid your nervous system in finding safety and regulation during the experience. 

What are the requirements in order to participate in SSP?

In order to do SSP sessions with me, a few things must be in place:

  • You are currently working with a therapist, coach, or spiritual leader with whom you can verbally process your experience. Unless you are my psychotherapy client, your SSP sessions will be limited to our listening and somatic support experience. (If you are a current or potential psychotherapy client of mine and want to incorporate SSP sessions into our work, please let me know. Any modality of work done under the umbrella of psychotherapy will be billed at my psychotherapy rate.) 
  • It is important that you have outside support in place to bolster your experience with the SSP protocol. I am happy to contact and work in collaboration with your therapist/coach. 

  • You will need to have the equipment required for listening, which include a smart phone to download the app, and a pair of above the ear, non-noise-canceling headphones.

What is the investment for SSP?

The SSP protocol involves a complete assessment prior to the first listening session, as well as any contact I may have with your current provider. Each listening session will be half an hour, and the complete protocol is divided into 10 sessions that will be spread out over a series of time determined by how your nervous system responds. How much time you need between sessions will be determined as we progress.

In addition to the SSP core listening program we will use together, all active clients have access to the SSP Connect Program, which is a listening protocol of classical music designed to increase feelings of safety and relaxation between sessions. Emotional regulation exercises and tools are provided for all clients, and email communication between sessions is encouraged as you will be tracking changes and awareness as you move throughout the experience.

The complete experience is $1,500.

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