The Safe and Sound Protocol

Safe and Sound Protocol

The Safe and Sound Protocol is a listening intervention that aims to create a calm state in the nervous system beyond what an individual can create through conscious effort, shifting the physiological state to one of safety and well-being. The intervention can be used by both adults and children to create a window of opportunity for thriving, learning and relating in everyday life.

The SSP was developed by Dr. Stephen Porges based on extensive research of his polyvagal theory which clarifies how we move from different states of dysregulation and upset to states of regulation and safety. The intervention increases resilience and regulation of emotional states by exercising and strengthening middle ear muscles to support effective auditory processing and create a new state of calm and increased connection.

Why focus on listening?

The listening system accesses the vagus nerve which acts as the internal control center, allowing the brain to monitor and receive information about the body.

The vagus nerve is responsible for neuroception, or the detection of whether or not an environment is safe for optimal engagement. When stimulated while listening, a new state of well-being is created with a decrease in auditory hypersensitivity.

The SSP is a “bottom-up” intervention, accessing lower regions of the brain and utilizing prosodic music that has been filtered to train the middle ear muscles to focus on the frequency found in human speech, strengthening these pathways and establishing new connections. This region of brain can’t be accessed through logical thought or talk therapy. While using the SSP, implicit or automatic survival responses and reflexes are restored and higher level or explicit and conscious functioning are more easily approached after a solid sensory and emotional processing foundation is formed.

Think of this as a hierarchy of functioning with hearing helping to create a solid foundation and pathway for processing everyday experiences.

The SSP also supports Social Skill Development

Engaging in social interactions requires the voluntary assessment of a situation and social cues, with facial muscles working to engage and portray emotion. This awareness controlled by the vagus nerve operates best in the parasympathetic physiological state.
When a person is stressed beyond what the parasympathetic state can manage, it becomes difficult to navigate social situations. Stress creates a lack of expression and it is also hard to read others emotions and facial expressions.
This is similar to other ways the body responds to threat.

Regular use of the SSP supports a more open and receptive approach to social situations.

While using the SSP over the course of three months, shifts occur in the autonomic nervous system to change the physiological state of the person and open a window of opportunity for learning, exploration, and growth by increasing perceived safety within communication by regularly exercising the middle ear muscles.

Consider the SSP as a Supplement to Counseling

The SSP is beneficial for people with symptoms related to the dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system. The SSP supports a calmer state which eases issues with hypervigilance, hyperactivity, hyperarousal, focus and attention, panic attacks, chronic pain, and social avoidance.

This is achieved by:

1. Reestablishing the calm ‘orient/alert’ function of hearing
2. Enable learning by increasing interactive comprehension
3. Reduce sensory sensitivities and defense strategies
4. Reduce or eliminate chronic ANS activation that effects multiple body systems

Many of the disorders which the SSP benefits have to do with the ability to maintain a calm state in the presence of others. Throughout the intervention you will see:

1. Decreased Hypervigilance
2. Increased Affect Regulation
3. Increased Impulse Control
4. Decreased Activation of Reactive Negative Expectations
5. Increased Receptive Capacity
6. Increased Self Understanding

How This Works

The SSP includes musical tracks that are played through over the ear headphones filtered with patented specifications to retrain the middle ear muscles. With practice using the SSP, the muscles are strengthened and tightened to manage what is heard, sending a signal of safety to the body. These muscles can be vulnerable and when not functioning properly they fail to send a signal of safety. Establishing proper function of these muscles is the goal of the intervention. The songs are often familiar, but the point of the filtered music is to train the muscles on interpreting human speech frequencies, rebuilding pathways and making new connections.

The SSP can be used in a counseling session and at home. When you decide to use the SSP as part of your treatment plan, you will have access to the program in an easy to use app.

If you are interested in using the SSP or would like more information, please send an inquiry through the “request an appointment” option and indicate that you are interested in the SSP. We look forward to introducing you to this opportunity for change!

2441 W SR 426 Suite 1051
Oviedo, FL 32765
(407) 365-1199

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