Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP)


Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP)
What is the Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP)?

Developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, the SSP is a five-day auditory intervention designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience. Based on Dr. Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, by calming the physiological and emotional state, the door is opened for improved communication and more successful therapy.

The SSP is a research-based therapy showing signicant results in just five days in the following areas:

Social and emotional difficulties
Auditory sensitivities
Anxiety and trauma related challenges
Inattention
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 here 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.

The SSP system is available to professionals only.  For ways you can use the SSP at home, please email carolannrowland@gmail.com.

Read here to learn more about research involving the SSP. 

Read here to learn more about clinical applications of the SSP.

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 specically 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.