The Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP) is an adjunctive therapy available for current clients of Seiyu IHT & Counseling Without Walls, or others who are referred by a primary medical or mental health care provider for adjunctive care. Although Seiyu IHT is an adult-focused practice, SSP can be used with children, as appropriate, with parent consent and in collaboration with the child's primary mental health clinician..
WHAT IS IT?
The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is a listening intervention designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience. The SSP uses filtered vocal music to engage the vagus nerve through stimulation of the neural network associated with listening. The vagus nerve is the part of the nervous system responsible for rest, regulation, connection, and social engagement and is an important bidirectional pathway between the body and the brain. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, cognitive and emotional regulation is possible and states of anxiety, stress, and overwhelm are minimized. The SSP is designed to increase feelings of calm and safety, reduce sound sensitivity, support mental focus and clear thinking, and connect more genuinely with others.
WHAT CHANGES ARE POSSIBLE WITH SSP?
The SSP is a portal to the Social Engagement System and it can have powerful effects on how you interact with the world. As you engage your social interactions you may experience:
increased capacity to engage eye contact and facial expressivity
improved understanding of speech better emotional control
more reciprocal social interactions increased emotional expressivity with others
more access to parasympathetic states leading to a sense of calm alertness.
HOW CAN THE NERVOUS SYSTEM HELP TO RESTORE FEELINGS OF CALM AND SAFETY?
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is the body’s internal control center for processing and responding to the world around us. The ANS regulates the functions of our internal organs such as the heart, lungs, stomach, blood vessels, bladder and intestines. Most of this is done outside of our conscious awareness. An intrinsic component of the ANS is the vagus nerve which communicates an extensive range of signals about our state bidirectionally: from the brain to the body and the body to the brain. The vagus nerve affects facial expressions, tone of voice, heart rate and heart rate variability, breathing, and the function of the spleen, liver, kidneys and intestines. It can help to reduce inflammation and to improve your immune response. It is the care-taking nerve of the body.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE SSP?
The SSP uses specially-filtered music to train the neural network associated with listening to focus on the frequency range of the human voice. As you learn to focus on the sound frequencies of human speech through the SSP program, the vagus nerve becomes stimulated and the state of feeling more safe and calm becomes accessible.
During the SSP experience you will listen to a series of filtered music delivered through a phone app using over the ear headphones. You will work with your provider to determine the best set of music and length of each listening session. The sessions are typically done at home.
There are three pathways within the SSP:
SSP Connect (one or two 5-hour listening experiences) is a gentle introduction for your nervous system to the listening intervention.
SSP Core is the standard 5-hour program designed to exercise the social engagement system part of the nervous system. This leads to a greater capacity for engagement, reduced sensitivity, trust, and a more resilient physiological state.
SSP Balance is used to continue to integrate the changes from the SSP Core to maintain a sense of calm and grounding into a 5-hour listening experience which can be maintained as long as you desire or need.
WHO MIGHT BENEFIT FROM SSP?
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:
* Rates listed above reflect SSP without integration with a psychotherapy treatment modality.
** Insurance reimbursement may be possible, but is not guaranteed. When seeking insurance reimbursement, the use of SSP must be combined with another therapeutic modality and is billed accordingly. In-network clients are responsible for the payment of any services not covered by health insurance.