The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is a stabilizing intervention developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, a neuroscientist. The foundation of the protocol is Polyvagal Theory, which explores the role of the autonomic nervous system in regulating social behavior and emotional responses. The SSP specifically targets the ventral nerve, a key component of the autonomic nervous system.
The SSP involves listening to filtered music that is designed to stimulate the ventral nerve and promote a sense of safety and connection. The filtered music emphasizes the frequencies that are thought to be beneficial for regulating the autonomic nervous system. The total listening time is 5 hours; however, your health care provider will decide the frequency of the listening doses, so you can receive optical benefits.
The protocol is not a stand alone treatment, and is often used in early stages of therapeutic approach to help individuals, especially those who are neurodivergent; complex trauma histories and/ or have difficulties with emotional regulation, to improve their ability to engage socially, manage stress, and regulate their emotions.
Safe and Sound Protocol should be administered by trained professionals, such as occupational therapists, trauma therapists, or other qualified practitioners, as part of a comprehensive therapeutic plan. It is not a standalone intervention, and its effectiveness may vary from person to person. After a thorough screening and assessment, your healthcare provider will determine if independent listening is appropriate or a hybrid approach of listening.
If you are considering the Safe and Sound Protocol, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or therapist who is trained in its use to determine if it’s a good fit for you. There are some health care conditions and environmental stressors which would limit an individual from experiencing benefits from the protocol.