THE SCIENCE OF SAFETY:
The Foundation of the
Safe and Sound Protocol
According to Polyvagal Theory, the nervous system is the foundation of wellness. If clients aren’t progressing, it may be because their nervous system is in chronic defense. However, we cannot think our way to safety — we must start from the bottom-up.
In a state of defense, the Autonomic Nervous System
is biased to detecting & interpreting cues as dangerous
Interpreting cues as dangerous limits ability to connect,
leading to a greater state of defense
This bias leads to learned disuse of the Social Engagement System, perpetuating the interpretation of cues as dangerous
The Safe and Sound Protocol interrupts and redirects
this feedback loop with cues of safety.
The Safe and Sound Protocol is an acoustic vagal nerve simulator
The SSP interrupts chronic states of nervous system defense by stimulating the neural networks associated with listening.
The SSP uses algorithmically filtered music focused on the frequency range of the human voice that alters the way sounds are interpreted.
This ushers the nervous system out of a defensive (fight, flight or freeze) state and into a socially engaged (ventral vagal) state
Music is a powerful input to the nervous system and SSP Connect consists of 5 hours of full spectrum, classical music. The classical music has been curated to be calming & grounding, with a soothing tempo and without abrupt changes. SSP Connect isa warmup to the SSP Core for individuals who would benefit from a slower & gentler introduction for highly defensive nervous systems. This pathway provides the opportunity for the client to connect with the experience of listening to music as a partof therapy. This familiarity helps to providethe “safe” before “sound” experience & create a setting to guide the way for the client as they enter SSP Core pathway.
SSP Connect includes three new 5-hour playlists of full-spectrum, unfiltered music.
Benefits of the SSP Connect:
• Improvement in listening & spontaneous speech
• A soothing, settling experience for those who are anxious or tense
• Create neurological sense of safety
• Preparatory program before SSP Core & SSP Balance
This is the existing, original SSP that has been used by thousands of providers & tens of thousands of clients since its release in March 2017. Dr. Porges’ patented intervention is designed to reduce stress & auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience. Algorithms modulate the frequencies and acoustic energy of the music. SSP Core uses 5 hours of prosodic vocal music that has been modulated to train the neural network.
The 3rd Pathway can be used to extend and integrate the gains of the SSP Core while potentially acting as a state stabilizer. The SSP Balance was developed as a follow up to the SSP Core to offer an opportunity to return to return to music as a calming and grounding experience with a less strenuous neural workout. The 5 hour music in SSP Balance uses the same playlists as SSP Core, but is treated to present the frequency envelope of human voice with a narrower and less dynamic modulation around this range. This pathway should feel less of an exercise program than SSP Core and more of a re-experiencing of the cues of safety your client will remember from SSP Core.
SSP Connect, Core, & Balance
Effectively treats the following diagnoses
Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
How the SSP Works
Help your clients connect with themselves, others and the
world from a foundation of physiological safety.
Engage the ventral vagal complex through the neural network associated with listening.
Shift the nervous system into safety using the SSP’s algorithmically filtered music.
Administer therapy to a physiologically and psychologically available client.
HOW THE SSP IS DELIVERED
The client experiences the SSP through over-the-ear headphones in-clinic or remotely, connected via the Unyte-iLs app.
The clinician manages client access, tracks listening
and accesses resources on the MyUnyte Platform.
Efficacy of the SSP
The SSP is supported by a strong and growing base of clinical evidence.
Two sequential randomized controlled trials showed significant improvements in autonomic nervous system regulation, including:
- Increased auditory processing
- Reduced auditory sensitivity
- Improved emotional control
- Vagal regulation of the heart
Impact on Clinical Practice
Therapy is more effective when a client is settled on a foundation of safety. The Safe and Sound Protocol helps cultivate that safety from the bottom-up.
Providers report the SSP “opens up” their clients and relaxes their defenses, improving accessibility.
As a result, clients often experience quicker progress, becoming more engaged and devoted in therapy.
Ultimately, the SSP helps to accelerate results and improve therapeutic outcomes.
Once integrated, the SSP often becomes an essential piece of a clinical approach.