The SSP is a powerful, relatively new intervention that can help with a wide range of concerns. Originally used with clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder, it became clear that the impact of the intervention could also help with areas where the nervous system is held in an activated state. The SSP has been shown to create quick shifts for people with anxiety and panic, sleep concerns, digestive issues, trauma and attachment concerns related to struggles with social relationships and safety.
How Does It Work?
The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is a music-listening intervention designed to train middle ear muscles to focus on the frequency envelope of human speech. You will find that you, or your child, is better able to not only interpret the meaning, but also the intent in conversations, which will allow a sense of safety and in turn, will help provide a calming physiological state.
Think of it like this:
When we are in danger, our bodies hear low frequencies, which are often associated with danger and threat. The body’s response is either fight/flight/flee or a complete body/mind shut-down to keep us safe.
Normally, we would filter these out in times of low threat, but sometimes our bodies get “stuck” in chronic defensiveness that heightens the threat detection system. In the most basic sense, our body is perceiving danger and engaging the sympathetic or dorsal vagal response when there is NO THREAT. Our nervous system is constantly putting us in fight/flight/flee or shut-down when we are, in fact, safe.
When only very low frequencies are allowed to pass, individuals tend to feel anxious or hyper-vigilant. By exercising the middle ear muscles, the intervention helps muscles to regulate which frequency can reach the brain. When low frequencies are successfully filtered out, individuals can focus on the frequencies related to human voice and receive cues of safety into the nervous system to help down-regulate defensive systems.
What I Do:
Firstly, we meet so that I can explain, verbally, the SSP and what you may experience and can expect.
The protocol is a 5-day protocol for adults involving 60 minutes of music listening. Please note, that some individuals may need to break the sessions up, so what “should” be a 5-day protocol may take two weeks, may occur over 10 days, etc. – we work with what your body needs.
Many adult clients experience state changes while listening, such as becoming anxious and having strong visceral feelings. It may be necessary to pause when the body has a feeling of discomfort and allow the body to re-stabalize.
For adults with trauma histories, calm can feel vulnerable. SSP with a supportive person present can help provide a level of co-regulation to help people learn to stop, watch, monitor, and feel their own body doing well.
For children, the SSP is a 10-day protocol with 30 minutes of listening per day. Again, we can monitor this together with online check-ins.
I work with clients via Zoom and do not do any in-person sessions at this time.