Press Release 08/26/23: Minds in Motion is now Emerald Integrative Health.
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Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

– The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is an evidenced based therapy created by Dr. Stephen Porges used to reduce sound sensitivity, improve auditory processing, behavioral state regulation, and social engagement behaviors.

  • The Safe and Sound Protocol uses the principles of the Polyvagal Theory. Through specially filtered music, the SSP sends cues of safety to your nervous system.

– How it works:

  • The Safe and Sound Protocol uses the principles of the Polyvagal Theory. Through specially filtered music, the SSP sends cues of safety to your nervous system.

– Why it works:

  • Five main principles:
  • 1) The ability of the nervous system to be re-tuned or repatterned.
  • 2) Generating capacity in the nervous system
    • By stimulating the nervous system through neural feedback loops and moving up and down the autonomic ladder, there will be new patterns of autonomic flexibility created.
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  • 3) Neuroanatomy of the ventral vagal system
    • When in a state of ventral connection, the range of possibilities widen which can enhance progress in other modalities, such as:

      – Somatic Experiencing (SE)
      – Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)
      – Psychotherapy
      – Occupational Therapy
      – As well as many others….

  • 4) The power of co-regulation
    • Human survival is dependent on co-regulating our physiological state via social connection. Co-regulation is the foundation for building self-regulation. With enough experiences of safe co-regulation, we are better able to withstand the times when co-regulation is unavailable.
  • 5) Sounds of safety in voice and music
    • There was a study completed by Kolacz in 2022 that shows a mother’s voice has the potential to decrease infant distress and improvement in autonomic regulation. On the other hand, low frequencies like thunder may trigger a state of defense and high frequencies like an alarm may also signal danger.
    • Trauma or a chronic state of defense can cause the ear muscles to be re-tuned to focus on lower frequencies that are frequencies of threat or alarm. With the SSP it is possible to rehabilitate the middle ear muscles and for the listener to be able to tune into and respond to the cues of safety.
    • The SSP seeks to engage and exercise the middle ear muscles to better dampen loud and low frequency sounds and to better perceive middle range frequency.
    • Anatomy of Listening:

      – When sound enters the ear, it travels through the ear canal to the eardrum where it is transduced by the middle ear muscles and bones. It is then coded by the cochlea in the inner ear and sent via the brainstem to the auditory cortex where the sound is processed. The middle ear muscles regulate the tension of the ear drum by way of the cranial nerve of the social engagement system.

– Who can benefit:

  • SSP has been used to treat individuals of all ages experiencing the following challenges
    – Anxiety
    – Inattention and focus
    – Auditory sensitivities
    – Behavioral regulation and resilience
    – Sleep
    – Reading and auditory processing
    – Coordination and balance
    – Speech and language
    – Social and emotional difficulties
    – Trauma and PTSD
    – Stressors that impact social engagement

– Common positive responses

  • Easier and more spontaneous social connection
  • Better emotional control
  • Improvements in auditory and other sensory sensitivities
  • Improved access to executive functions and higher cognitive abilities

– Clients may see:

  • Increased ability to focus and hold attention
  • Enhanced expressive and receptive language skills
  • Lower anxiety
  • Better physiological state regulation
  • Improved learning
  • Enhanced sleep
  • Reduction in pain levels
  • Increased effectiveness of other modalities

– SSP is not recommended for:

  • Clients who are experiencing active psychosis
  • Clients with active or uncontrolled seizures
  • Clients who are actively experiencing tinnitus (ringing in ears)
  • Clients demonstrating intentional self-harm or actively reporting thoughts of suicide.

– Additional resources:


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