Safe and Sound Protocol
The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is an effective, brief intervention designed to increase one's sense of safety in the world by working directly with the physiology of the autonomic nervous system. The SSP was developed by Dr. Stephen Porges based on his Polyvagal Theory and 40 years of research investigating relationships between the autonomic nervous system and social-emotional processes.
Porges' Polyvagal Theory significantly reworks our understanding of how the nervous system responds to threat and trauma.
The SSP improves neural regulation by sequentially exercising the auditory system with specially processed music.
The SSP works for children and adults, and has shown significant results in the following areas:
- Behavioral state regulation (hypervigilance, anxiety, distractibility, impulsiveness, melt-downs, dissociative states, behavioral shut-down, hypoarousal)
- Social engagement difficulties (oppositional behaviors, social withdrawal, affect limitations)
- Difficulties in following verbal commands, speech-language delays
- Vagal regulation (e.g. state regulation, digestion, sleep)
- Sound sensitivities
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
The specially processed music trains the auditory pathways by focusing on the frequency envelope of human speech. As a result of processing these speech-related frequencies, two cranial nerves that are important for social behavior show improved functioning. Cranial Nerve VII (Facial Nerve) helps one focus on human voice and tune out irrelevant frequencies. Cranial Nerve X (Vagus Nerve) enables self-soothing and autonomic nervous system regulation.
This process helps to improve the biological social engagement system. Once interpersonal interactions improve, spontaneous social behaviors and an enhanced ability to learn and self-regulate are often seen. Individuals who have successfully completed this intervention have shown better focus in school/work, more productive outcomes in therapy, and a calmed emotional and physiological state.
This is a non-invasive intervention that can be used by itself, or to enhance continued therapeutic work. The SSP is most effective when it can be completed over the course of 5 consecutive days (1 hour each day). The first step is to schedule an initial appointment.