The Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP) is an amazing therapeutic tool with 20 years of clinical research demonstrating effectiveness in helping children and adults with a history of trauma, nervous system dysregulation and developmental delays. It was designed by Dr Stephen Porges PhD, and is helping children and adults around the globe to regulate their nervous system through a five hour listening intervention. New (optional) programs have recently been added as preparatory steps before the SSP, as well as for maintenance of gains afterwards.
Specially filtered music, designed to train the ear muscles to better perceive human voice, is played through headphones at a rate tailored to the patient’s needs and tolerance. This re-training of the ear muscles is then reinforced with lots of loving interaction and nervous system stimulation during the weeks and months that follow the SSP intervention. The new-found ability of the ears to perceive the soothing frequencies in the human voice allows the patient to feel calmer and more engaged in social interactions. It allows children and adults to be more readily calmed by others, prevents anxiety and meltdowns from social stimulation, and reduces hypersensitivity to sounds – a common feature of autism and PTSD in particular.
Research demonstrates significant improvement in the following areas, after the SSP:
- Hearing sensitivity
- Spontaneous speech
- Listening and following instructions
- Behavioural organisation
- Emotional control
- Regulation of heart rate by the vagus nerve
- Spontaneous social behaviours such as sharing and showing affection
Clinical experience also demonstrates improvement in learning, responses to other therapies, sleep patterns and in digestive disorders, as well as in anxiety and response to emotional stressors. Pain sensitivity can also be reduced.
All of these effects are possible because of the way that the SSP teaches the nervous system to remain in a calm state. The nervous system is responsible for gastrointestinal functions, pain perception, emotional regulation, behaviour, mood, sleep and, well – pretty much everything! A calm nervous system supports healthy growth and development.
The SSP is now downloadable through your smart phone for play using your own headphones (if suitable). This can be made available to international patients. A physical SSP system is also currently available for hire Australia-wide for either a 7 or 10 day period (longer by application.)
If you are interested in using the SSP you will need to have an appointment with Nicole to discuss your suitability and work out how we can best tailor the program to give you optimal outcomes. (Note that existing nutrition patients can simply discuss during a regular appointment if desired.) You may require more than one appointment as you progress through the program if you have complex needs or a very sensitive nervous system. Most children only require the initial interview.
All SSP fees include email support while you are using the program, and for a reasonable time period afterwards.
Costs (GST included where applicable):
- Intake interview/appointments: approx 45 minutes: $105.
- Digital SSP (1 full round of 5 hours of core program): $280.
- 7 day hire (physical system): $280
- 10 day hire (physical system): $390
- Refundable deposit (Physical system only): $200
- One month use of prep. or maintenance program, if required: $45
Delivery fees are approximately $56 express for the physical system, for those who are unable to collect from clinic (Sunshine Coast or Brisbane).
For more information on the research and impacts of the SSP, please investigate the research links below:
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4117928/ (In this article, the SSP is referred to as the Listening Project Protocol – its original name.)
The SSP is based on the polyvagal theory by Dr Stephen Porges, which has a large volume of research backing.
This video gives a simple explanation of polyvagal theory and how the safe and sound protocol works. It’s worth a watch for anyone who is wondering if the SSP may help them or a loved one: