Safe and Sound Protocol
An evidence-based, auditory therapy
What is SSP?
Pioneered by Polyvagal Theory creator Dr. Stephen Porges, the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is an evidence-based, auditory therapy that shifts the nervous system to be more present and calm while increasing receptivity to other therapies.
Part of Meadows Behavioral Healthcare’s Trauma Department and Brain Center, this non-invasive and effective listening protocol helps with trauma-related symptoms, anxiety, and sound sensitivities. Dr. Porges developed the SSP to retune the ears and nervous system for safety and connection. When patients experience safety on a felt sense level, they report feeling internal calm and stability that allows them to be more present to their life experience.
How It Works
SSP is an experience that involves listening to five hours of music that has been specially filtered to emphasize the frequencies of the human voice. The music trains the auditory system to focus on the voice while also stimulating the vagus nerve, the part of the body responsible for maintaining calmness and a feeling of safety. After completing the SSP, patients find themselves better able to connect with themselves, others, and the world around them. Listening sessions are supported by expressive activities like art, movement, poetry, and the tracking of sensations and emotions, in order to support healing and strengthen the Self.
2023 Meadows SSP Case Study
A recent case study titled “Integrating SSP Group Delivery in an Inpatient Level One Psychiatric Facility” illustrates the implementation of SSP into an inpatient level of care. The study was undertaken by Meadows Vice President of Trauma Resolutions Services Deidre Stewart and Occupational Therapist Ana do Valle.
“The SSP supports shifts in an individual’s physiology that allows for healing to begin,” Stewart explains. The study followed the first group of patients at The Meadows to experience SSP in this delivery model and in this setting. After witnessing the benefits, shifts, effectiveness, and efficiency of this group process, this SSP delivery model now runs weekly at The Meadows, courtesy of Kristen Burnsmith, Assistant Clinical Director, who oversees weekly implementation at our flagship program.View Case Study
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