Private Therapy Open to Public
What is the SSP?
Developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is a five-day auditory intervention designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience. Based on the physiological and emotional state, the door is opened for improved communication and more successful therapy.
The SSP is a research-based therapy showing significant results in just five days in the following areas:
Social and emotional difficulties
Anxiety and trauma related challenges
Stressors that impact social engagement
Emotional and physiological state are critical to how we approach the task at hand. So when a client has better state control, not only can they be more socially engaged, they are more open to therapy. Better state regulation improves therapeutic outcomes. Read more about how the SSP is helping clients.
This non-invasive intervention involves listening to music that has been processed specifically to retune the nervous system (regulating state) to introduce a sense of safety and the ability to socially engage. This allows the client to better interpret not only human speech, but, importantly, the emotional meaning of language. Once interpersonal interactions improve, spontaneous social behaviors and an enhanced ability to learn, self-regulate and engage are often seen.
How does it work?
The SSP uses the auditory system as a portal to the vagus complex, which controls our physiological state. Once physiological state is regulated, we can accelerate or enhance subsequent therapy.
Based on Dr. Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, the program is derived from nearly four decades of research on the relationship between the autonomic nervous system and social-emotional processes. It is designed to stimulate nervous system regulation by exercising and systematically challenging the auditory system with specifically processed music.
The music trains the auditory pathways by focusing on the frequency envelope of human speech. As the client learns to process these speech-related frequencies, they improve the functioning of two cranial nerves that are important for promoting overall social behavior. Cranial Nerve VII (Facial Nerve) helps clients focus on human voice and tune out irrelevant frequencies. Cranial Nerve X (Vagus Nerve) enables self-soothing and autonomic regulation.
Following successful completion of the intervention, individuals will be better able to focus in school, therapy, and everyday life and experience a calmed emotional and physiological state. This is based on studies that suggest that skills such as attention, state regulation and the ability to engage socially will be enhanced.
Can I do this at home
Characteristics of a client who would not be appropriate for remote delivery:
Engages in self-injury behaviors
Experiences suicidal thoughts/ideation
Has recently started or changed type/dosage of a psychiatric medication
Recently suffered a head injury or experiences significant medical instability
Experienced a recent major destabilizing personal life event (divorce, death, job loss, etc.)
Lives in an unstable/difficult household
Has been or is significantly impacted by COVID-19
Is currently experiencing seizures
Has a history of significant trauma
People experiencing any of the above will be best served by working one-on-one in person with a skilled therapist when that is again possible. Instead, provide them regulation and support as possible and, if appropriate, refer them to a mental health professional.
Everyone’s nervous system is different and the SSP can provoke a wide range of responses. Some people don’t have a significant response to the SSP; to them, it’s just music. For others, it may provoke strong feelings. The Safe and Sound Protocol is designed to re-activate the Social Engagement System. Remember that for those with a profound trauma history, the SSP may trigger the nervous system’s resistance against any attempt to be ‘retuned.’
If – despite your care and titration of the listening – your client experiences discomfort, it is important for them to have a trusted person available for support. Discuss this before beginning the SSP to ensure that your client has someone to reach out to. This is an essential part of the SSP since you as the therapist cannot be physically present.
The controls of the player navigate you to the appropriate playlist. In order to ensure the player stops after 30 minutes, access the listening session using the following instructions.
Instructions for setting up the MP3 player to play only 30 minutes
Press the BACK button until you see six icons; this is the HOME screen. Use the direction buttons to navigate to the “Music” icon (top middle) and press Play/Pause to access the Music screen. In the Music screen, select “All Songs” (again by pressing Play/Pause) and then choose the appropriate half hour session (eg. the A or B session of the correct playlist and hour). Press Play/Pause to begin the music.
What if I need help
Contact us at 850.213.4595 and one of our therapists will assist or you can schedule an appointment to be shown how to use the equipment.
Multidisciplinary Approach Focuses On:
• Skill Assessment
• Individualized Treatment plans
• Direct instruction to target langauge and academic skills
• Sensory processing regulation
• Data collection
• Motor planning
• Handwriting skills