Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

SSP is a music based intervention which changes the sate of the nervous system, training it towards safety and rest. It was developed by ILS and Dr Stephen Porges and is based on his Polyvagal Theory which has profoundly changed the landscape of therapy. He has helped us therapists to understand the nervous system mechanisms by which people come in and out of fight/flight/freeze responses and that as social animals, it is our social engagement system which best guides us to to manage our nervous system responses and emotional safety. When we feel connected to others in a safe way we let down our guard, come to a place of calm and the body can get on with its bodily processes. 

SSP works by playing popular music filtered to include only those frequencies of the human voice range. This then trains the muscles of the middle ear to contract and tighten and exercise them into optimally perceive those frequencies. The ear muscles are directly connected to the vagus nerve and, seeing as we are biologically designed to feel at ease when we hear the higher frequencies of the human voice, this in effect pushes our nervous system into a state of safety and rest. This happens directly at the physiological level without the need for any kind of cognitive processing and if our nervous system is at ease we start to open up to the world around us in a new way.

This process was designed to be the entry point into a therapeutic process and not as a stand alone process. It tends to open up a persons nervous system so that any subsequent process, be that psychotherapy (with me or your existing therapist) or neurofeedback, can be more effective. 

What can this help with?

  • Social engagement difficulties
  • Auditory hypersensitivities
  • Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • PTSD
  • Depressed mood
  • Mood dysregulation
  • Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue
  • IBS
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADD, and ADHD
  • Misophonia
  • Motion sickness
  • Selective mutism
  • Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Emotional regulation difficulties

SSP in its original form is a 5 hour training intended to be an hour per day over 5 days but due to ongoing feedback from the therapeutic community this, in most cases, needs to be much longer so that those whose with a strongly reactive nervous system can go at a pace that facilitates a smoother journey.

All trainees over the age of 13 will be required to complete the protocol in my consulting room so that I can be with you ensuring the pace suits your nervous system, while younger people under the age of 13 may be able to complete the process at home.