What is the Safe and Sound Protocol?
The Safe and Sound Protocol by iLs (Integrated Listening Systems) is a five-day listening programme aimed at those with anxiety, social communication difficulties and trauma that has been developed as a result of over four decades of peer-reviewed research, based on Dr Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal Theory.
Music is played through over-ear headphones, which has been specially filtered in order to gradually expose the auditory system to different sound frequencies. It works by stimulating the vagus nerve and helping the autonomic nervous system to regulate, improving concentration and social engagement.
My Blog post on the Safe and Sound Protocol also explains how it works.
Dr Stephen Porges explaining the Polyvagal Theory
Who can the Safe and Sound Protocol help?
Safe and Sound Protocol has been proven to help the following difficulties and challenges:
- Social and emotional difficulties
- Auditory sensitivities
- Auditory processing difficulties
- Anxiety and trauma related challenges
- Stressors that impact social engagement
The SSP can help people of all ages, but for individuals with a background involving extreme trauma, it may be necessary to split the sessions over more than five consecutive days.
A summary of the Safe and Sound Protocol, from Dr Stephen Porges
How do I access the Safe and Sound Protocol?
The Safe and Sound Protocol is available to my existing reflex integration clients, and involves 5×1 hour sessions on consecutive days.
Please be aware that if an individual has a strong reaction to the SSP (rare, as long as guidelines – which are provided by me in written format and talked through in detail prior to commencing the programme – are followed carefully), it may be necessary to carry out the intervention over a longer timeframe or even discontinued altogether. The protocol is recommended to be carried out over at least 10 days for adults with trauma histories or children over the age of around 13.
The protocol may be used by new clients in my Horsham clinic in person over five consecutive days. These sessions tend to take place first thing in the mornings.
What can I expect following the Safe and Sound Protocol?
The Safe and Sound Protocol has been described as a “portal to the Social Engagement System”, and can have powerful impacts on how you/your child interact with the world around them.
Essentially, the SSP is opening the system for greater engagement. What comes after the SSP can cement and extend the gains. It is the repeated and consistent responses from the people around your child that will enhance their new sense of safety and reinforce the new behaviour.
It is also important to recognise that if you are a parent with extreme anxiety, you will benefit greatly from the Safe and Sound Protocol yourself, and it is recommended that you complete the programme before your child for the most optimal results.
I am also a licensed RMTi consultant, and offer RMTi, an effective neurosensorimotor programme, as a prequel or follow-up to the SSP.
You may also like to practice yoga or see a Somatic Experiencing or EMDR practitioner in the case of trauma. For more information about the Safe and Sound Protocol or Rhythmic Movement Training for reflex integration, please contact me.