WHAT IS THE SAFE & SOUND PROTOCOL?
The Safe and Sound Protocol (or SSP) is an evidence-based tool designed to reset the nervous system and return it to safety.
Developed by world-renowned researcher and founder of the Polyvagal Theory, Dr. Stephen Porges, the SSP consists of five hours of listening to specially-filtered music, which functions as a non-invasive acoustic vagus nerve stimulator that can help individuals better connect with themselves, others, and the world around them from a foundation of physiological safety.
Can the SSP Help Me?
The SSP has demonstrated benefits for individuals with:
- Chronic Stress
- Sensory processing differences
- Digestive issues
- And much more
What are the Benefits of the SSP?
While the SSP is not meant as a stand-alone intervention, when used alongside other therapeutic approaches, it can help you address and begin to heal from trauma and chronic stress.
The SSP May Help With...
- Decreasing anxiety, depression, dissociation, fears and phobias
- Decreasing symptoms related to trauma
- Improving emotional control
- Improving mood
- Nervous system regulation
- Better sensory processing
- Increasing resiliency
- Feeling safer in your body
- Improving listening, learning and communication
- Improving gut and digestive issues
- Reducing the impact of long COVID
- Decreasing pain
- Improving sleep
- Social behaviors like affection, connecting with others, facial expressivity, and vocal prosody
- And more!
How Does it Work?
The Safe and Sound Protocol is the only practical application of the Polyvagal Theory and is designed to improve sound sensitivities and auditory processing, behavioral state regulation, and social engagement behaviors through specially-filtered music that stimulates the vagus nerve.
The nervous system uses tone of voice as one way to determine safety. Different frequencies of sound communicate different information to the nervous system. Low frequencies are associated with sounds of life threat and danger, while high frequencies (like a siren wailing) communicate alert.
The SSP trains the middle ear muscles to tune-in to cues of safety signaled by the frequencies of human voice, which stimulates the social engagement system through the neural network associated with listening. When the tone and prosody of human voice can be better processed, it can provide signals of safety and calm to the nervous system. Suddenly, cues of safety exist in the voices of friends and family. Once a sense of safety is achieved, emotional resilience and nervous system regulation are possible.
Trauma, chronic stress and even a history of ear infections can retune the autonomic nervous system toward chronic states of defense (fight, flight, freeze or collapse). When stuck in chronic states of defense, an embodied sense of safety may feel unreachable. You may feel constantly on edge, anxious, easily triggered and on high alert or you may feel foggy, frozen or shut down.
The SSP allows for the repatterning of neural networks and improved regulation of the autonomic nervous system for lasting change.
Interrupt Old Patterns
The SSP interrupts chronic states of nervous system defense by stimulating the neural networks associated with listening.
The SSP uses algorithmically filtered music focused on the frequency range of the human voice that alters the way sounds are interpreted.
This ushers the nervous system out of a defense state (fight, flight, freeze or collapse) and into a socially engaged (ventral vagal) state.
IS THE SAFE AND SOUND PROTOCOL EFFECTIVE?
The effectiveness of the SSP has been proven in a wide range of studies including clinical trials involving children with autism, along with numerous case studies demonstrating effective with emotional regulation, trauma, anxiety and more. Research has even begun on how the SSP can affect the impact of long COVID.
The SSP is designed to work in tandem with other therapeutic approaches and modalities and results may vary. While some people notice results immediately, others may take up to eight weeks to experience full benefits.READ SSP CASE STUDIES ➡
What to expect
The Safe and Sound Protocol consists of five hours of listening to specially-filtered music using headphones that surround the ear.
The listening sessions can be completed remotely (at home) or in-person (limited in-person availability for individuals who live on Oahu only).
Depending on your unique nervous system, the five hours of listening may be broken down into:
- Five, 90-minute sessions (60-minutes of listening + 30 minutes built in for grounding exercises, questions and tech support) completed over five consecutive days, OR...
- Ten, 60-minute sessions (30-minutes of listening + 30 minutes built in for grounding exercises, questions and tech support) completed over ten consecutive days.
The program can also be completed at a slower pace with shorter listening sessions and non-consecutive days depending on how your nervous system responds to the music. As your provider, I will work with you to determine the pace of your listening sessions to best support your nervous system during our initial intake session.
The SSP Program Includes:
- One, 90-minute intake session
- Five hours of listening to the SSP Core Program
- Two, 30-minute post-SSP follow up sessions
- Access to the SSP App and dashboard
- 60-day access to the SSP Connect and Balance playlists
- Email support between sessions
Please note that all SSP listening sessions, include an additional 30-minutes built in for grounding exercises, integration, questions and/or tech support.