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How does the Safe and Sound Protocol work?

If you have heard of the Safe and Sound Protocol but still don’t really understand how it works, or why it’s different to other listening programmes, this blog post is for you.

The Safe and Sound Protocol by iLs/Unyte

The SSP is the culmination of over forty years worth of research by Dr Stephen Porges, and is based on his Polyvagal Theory.

The Polyvagal Theory works on the premise that in addition to the reptilian fight/flight or freeze stress responses, mammals have a third physiological response.

Reptiles lay eggs that hatch, ready to face the world by themselves. Mammals nurture their young, feeding with their milk and teaching them social behaviour. This physiological state of social behaviour, when not under threat, is known as “social engagement”.

The Safe and Sound Protocol is designed to bring a person into their social engagement system. The following video explains exactly how this is achieved:

The Safe and Sound Protocol is designed to be delivered in five days of 1 hour of listening.

However, the SSP therapy community works very closely together, and it has been noticed by many of us that not everyone should be completing the protocol in five days. In fact, with many people, slowing the protocol down to into shorter bursts of listening, or spreading out clinic sessions over a number of weeks, can be more beneficial than listening for a whole hour at a time. To this end, SSP training has recently been updated to ensure that practitioners really get to know their client before starting SSP with them, in order to ensure that they do not experience overwhelm.

In addition, it should be noted that if a person does not notice any difference after listening to the Safe and Sound Protocol, this could be an indication that they were in a “freeze” state to start with. This tends to be the case in those with severe depression or anxiety, and people with conditions such as PDA or selective mutism.

Later in 2020, the Safe and Sound Protocol is due to be digitalised, so that it will be available via an app, with supervision from a practitioner. This is a very exciting development as it will make it much easier to supervise listening and monitor results.

For further information on the Safe and Sound Protocol, please contact me.

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