Safe and Sound Protocol - SSP
SSP was developed by Dr. Stephen Porges. It is based on the Polyvagal Theory that he developed. SSP is a 5 hour auditory intervention that works to calm both physiological and emotional states.
SSP was designed to create an increased sense of safety and ability to access internal regulation. This is achieved by utilizing filtered sounds that improve the functioning of two cranial nerves. The cranial nerve VII which helps us to focus on the human voice and tune out irrelevant frequencies. And the cranial nerve X, which enables our internal autonomic nervous system regulation.
SSP is a research based intervention that has been shown to be helpful in supporting the efficacy of ongoing therapeutic work and to accelerate other therapy modalities working with anxiety and trauma-related challenges, stressors that impact social engagement, attention difficulties, difficulties in regulating physiological and emotional states, chronic pain and fatigue, depression, difficulty sleeping, and gut issues.
1. Three SSP Types
There are three pathways offered to assist clients using SSP
SSP Connect - This is an introduction of the SSP for highly sensitive clients or clients who need more space to attune to SSP. It is a series of lightly filtered music.
SSP CORE- This is the traditional 5 hour protocol of highly filtered music used to adjust the vagal system. It can be used without the other steps if assessed as appropriate.
SSP Balance- This can be utilized 8 weeks after the CORE has been experienced. This music is filtered more lightly at a lighter frequency and it can be used as a daily maintenance program for some clients to help extend the effects of the CORE
2. What is Necessary to Proceed?
1. An evaluation is needed to see if you are a candidate. This can be done through regular therapy sessions if you are a current therapy client of mine. If you are only interested in utilizing SSP with me, you will have to attend an in person assessment which will be charged the same rate as my regular 50 minute clinical sessions. Many people can move forward with utilizing the protocol from there and may just need certain adjustments to help them utilize SSP to it's maximum efficacy. However there are some clinical rule outs where this intervention is not advised.
2. A safe and secure environment to listen to the SSP music.
3. You must have circumaural (over the ear) headphones for this to work. Earbuds and on ear headphones will not deliver the effect. If there is a noise cancelling feature on the headphones, this must be turned off.
4. You will need a device to access the app. SSP sounds are delivered through an app that you can download on a cell phone or a tablet.
5. You will need internet access to download the app.
6. Time to access the treatment. The treatment was originally designed to be delivered one hour a day for five consecutive days. There are situations that this can be altered. However, this will have to be assessed by the clinician providing the SSP. For some clients, SSP can be accessed without the therapist present. However, it is more often recommended that the therapist be present with the client during the SSP intervention.
The full SSP cost is variable. My current clinical costs are $200/hour. Though I do offer a sliding scale when I have sliding scale spaces available in my practice. SSP is best combined and integrated with regular ongoing therapy that utilizes other modalities.
Insurance does not cover SSP. I do not currently accept insurance, though I do work as an OON provider for Kaiser. Having SSP included as part of other ongoing clinical work is accepted with my OON providers and with other insurance providers.