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The Three SSP Playlists And Their Functions

Safe & Sound Protocol Image of musical notes on a page. This is meant to convey that this modality is a music therapy.

Each of the three playlists (Connect Classical Calm, Connect Classical Flow and Connect Original) includes 5 hours of music. All three playlists consist of unfiltered (i.e., unaltered) music.

The two Classical Playlists can be used as a first step for clients who need to adjust to the experience of listening to music via headphones, especially vocal music. The music on these playlists IS unfiltered, but it is NOT the same as simply listening to classical music on the radio. The music on these two particular playlists has been very carefully chosen to assure that it is calming and grounding, with a soothing tempo and no abrupt changes.

Once acclimated, the vocal music and the lyrics found in SSP Connect Original, which may evoke a personal narrative, is better tolerated for sensitive clients. SSP Connect Original is an unfiltered version of the same playlists found in SSP Core Original, so it can be used as a way of creating familiarity and expectancy for SSP Core.

The SSP Connect is offered as a suggested pathway to provide a less demanding introduction and foundation for listening to the SSP Core. This pathway provides the opportunity for a new SSP client to experience listening to music as a part of a therapeutic process.

If used as an entry point for SSP Core, SSP Connect can be thought of as “warm up” to the SSP Core for those who would benefit from a slower and gentler introduction. It can help develop familiarity with the music and listening process, thereby providing a sense of comfort and safety for the client to experience the music. It can also set up a sense of expectancy for what is to come which may help clients to feel safe.

As mentioned, the music in SSP Connect is full spectrum and unfiltered. But that does not mean it has no impact. Clients have varying levels of sensory sensitivity. Music is a powerful input to the nervous system . . . and so a slow entry is optimum . . . especially for those who have experienced Physiological Shock Trauma.

SSP Core is the original SSP. It is Dr. Porges’ patented intervention designed to reduce nervous system hyper-sensitivities at various levels, while at the same time enhancing self-regulation, co-regulation, and resilience. The intent underlying the intervention is the re-tuning of one’s nervous system.

When a person is perceiving safety, their nervous system moves into a state of homeostasis . . . a state that is supporting health, growth & restoration. When a person is perceiving a threat, on the other hand, there is a disruption in that homeostasis. The acute loss of homeostatic function is not the problem. It is the chronic — ongoing loss of homeostatic function that is the problem. SSP uses an acoustic portal as a means to shift one’s nervous system back into a state that has more homeostatic properties.

Clinically, SSP Core remains exactly the same as Dr. Porges’ original patented intervention. As such, it is the strongest pathway and potentially the most therapeutic of the three pathways. It consists of progressive dynamically filtered music.

Think of SSP Core, as a treadmill for your brain, with one important difference. On a treadmill you can set the treadmill to manual, which enables YOU to control your workout. You can, at will, increase the challenge by increasing the inclination and/or the speed.

But with SSP Core the “challenge” for the brain, is “built in” to the protocol itself. Over the 5 hours of listening, one’s experience varies in terms of the range of frequencies. Although the frequency band used in the SSP Core is considerably narrower than full-spectrum music, that narrower frequency band itself becomes narrower and then wider, as the program progresses. This, functionally speaking, serves to help one’s ear to “reach” for the human voice so to speak (as opposed to all the other noises that may be going on in one’s environment).

That is one of the reasons that it is very important to have a trained therapist with you while listening to the music. Through co-regulation, the therapist can help to “titrate” your experience, thereby reducing the possibility of you “over-doing it”, so to speak, which may lead to ill-effects. “Titration” is a core part of the Somatic Experiencing Training. So Somatic Experiencing Practitioners, are particularly well-prepared to deliver the Safe & Sound Protocol.

Like SSP connect, SSP Core has both popular music as well as classical music.  Selection of the Playlist is guided by the client’s preference.

SSP Balance has a lighter filtration than SSP Core and does not progress dynamically. SSP Balance is a pathway that can be used to extend and integrate the gains of the SSP Core and potentially act as a state stabilizer. It can also be used for further stabilization and integration before beginning an SSP Core Booster, should one decide to proceed in that manner.

SSP Balance was developed as a follow up to the SSP Core to offer an opportunity to return to music as a calming and grounding experience with a less strenuous – a less challenging neural workout. The music in SSP Balance uses the same playlists as SSP Core, but the music is altered to stay within the frequency range of the human voice.  And it has a narrower and less dynamic modulation within that range.

It should feel like less of an exercise program than SSP Core and more of a re-experiencing of the cues of safety that one might remember from SSP Core. There is no particular order necessary for listening to the music in SSP Balance as the filtration algorithm for each hour is the same. This means that, if you wish, you can keep returning to the same hour or half-hour segment that appeals to you.