What is the Safe and Sound Protocol?
Learn more about the Safe and Sound Protocol in The Science of Feeling Safe with Polyvagal Therapy on the Jim Donovon Show
The nervous system influences our thoughts and feelings. Read Positive Thinking Starts with the Body by Afshan Tafler.
The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is a non-invasive and researched intervention developed by Dr. Stephen Porges (author of The Polyvagal Theory) and colleagues designed to address a number of common symptoms experienced by adults. The SSP stimulates nervous system regulation and can help with difficulties such as anxiety, irritability, anger, social interaction, and auditory sensitivity. It has also been shown to increase the effectiveness of therapy and potentially decrease the length of time needed in therapy to provide the desired results.
This non-invasive, five-day intervention involves listening to female vocal music that has been specifically filtered so that the middle ear muscles are trained and exercised to focus on the frequency range of the human voice. This stimulates nervous system regulation by exercising and systematically challenging the auditory system. The music chosen is able to retune or regulate the nervous system to introduce a sense of safety and the ability to socially engage. This allows the client to better interpret not only human speech, but also, importantly, the emotional meaning of language.
Our emotional and physiological states are critical to how we approach our daily lives. If you often feel that you are experiencing a heightened state of arousal, usually referred to as fight or flight, the SSP can help regulate your nervous system to allow for a calmer state of being. On the other hand, if you often notice that you shut down when stressed, often called the freeze effect, the SSP can help move you from that shut down state to a place where you can socially engage.
Who Might Benefit from the Safe and Sound Protocol?
Stephen Porges first began using the SSP with children with autism, resulting in sometimes remarkable changes. Now we know that SSP can also benefit individuals with:
Caveats for the Use of SSP
As Stephen Porges has described, the SSP is a “potent” intervention. Many people experience stronger emotions for a short time as their defense mechanisms lower. There are some indications that SSP is not an appropriate intervention if the following is occurring:
- Living in a home or work situation that is not currently safe
- Current life upheaval
- Trauma that has never been addressed in therapy
- History of disassociation
- Ongoing substance abuse
- Current self-harm
What Will My SSP Experience Look Like?
While the initial research on the effectiveness of the SSP has been shown to be effective during sessions, 1 hour a day for 5 consecutive days, current research has shown that there are many other schedules for the SSP to be an effective intervention. You will receive an assessment with a trained clinician who will collaborate with you on the best possible treatment schedule for you. Some of these schedules may look like:
What Will the Program Cost?
The program costs differ depending on the amount of direct time you will have with your clinician. If it is advised that you or your child participate in sessions with a trained clinician present at each of the sessions, the cost will be higher than if at home use is appropriate. The fee schedule is outlined below.
- Assessment, Listening Sessions (5 1-hour sessions or 10 ½-hour sessions, and includes Classical, Connect, and CORE), and Follow-up in office/by telehealth
- Assessment, 1st Listening Session (includes Classical, Connect, and CORE) in office/by telehealth, At-Home Listening Sessions, and Follow-up
- Balance Booster Session (Pre-requisite: You have completed the SSP through Arvada Therapy Solutions, PLLC within the previous 6 months) This includes an assessment of your previous experience, At-Home Listening Sessions of Balance with a phone check in and Follow-up $49 (3 month access)
- Full CORE Booster Session (Pre-requisite: You have completed the SSP through Arvada Therapy Solutions, PLLC within the previous 12 months) $129 At-Home Listening
$319 In Office Sessions
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