What is SSP (Safe and Sound Protocol)?

SSP is based on Polyvagal Theory, developed by Dr. Stephen Porges. It is an evidence-based therapy designed to reduce sound sensitivities and improve auditory processing. It also increases one’s capacity for self-regulation and co-regulation. When our capacity for self-regulation and co-regulation improves, we are able to resist using unhealthy behaviors to regulate our emotions (isolating, eating, taking drugs, or drinking alcohol).

This improvement occurs as the result of listening to filtered music purposefully designed to deliver the frequencies of a melodic human voice. The SSP is non- invasive and drug free. It involves listening to specifically filtered music through headphones alongside a provider (either in person or virtually).

Two people doing Safe & Sound Protocol

It is NOT a therapy for the client to self-administer. It requires the presence of a therapist. The presence, co-regulation, and psycho-education provided by the therapist are important inputs and are an essential part of the effectiveness of the SSP.

The SSP helps to shift one’s nervous system out of a chronic state of defense. It does so through acoustic vagal nerve stimulation. The filtered music enhances the perception and processing of human speech while dampening the interference of lower frequency background sounds. This helps one to receive cues of safety from the people in their environment. It helps shift one out of a state of hypervigilance or defense and into ventral-vagal connection. Additionally, the SSP supports the re-tuning of the autonomic nervous system toward resilience. This in turn, helps one to respond better to the challenges of everyday life.

"If you want to improve the world, start by making people feel safer."

- Stephen Porges, Author of Polyvagal Theory and Founder the SSP Protocol

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