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What are the success factors for the Safe and Sound Protocol?

The Safe and Sound Protocol is an educational programme – NOT a medical programme. We can never predict exactly how the SSP will affect a person, but what we can say is that it is physiologically impossible that it will do nothing at all.

Observed success factors are:

  • Understanding the basics of Polyvagal Theory
  • Understanding how the Safe and Sound Protocol works
  • Connection and co-regulation
  • Cues of safety through routine and predictability
  • Understanding your own nervous system
  • Co-regulation with the SSP Practitioner

The Safe and Sound Protocol needs to be used when a person feels safe – so, for example, if a child is lashing out at school, using SSP during this period would not be productive unless co-regulation is used as opposed to traumatising behaviour management techniques. Equally, if someone is going through a hectic period with little control over external dysregulating forces, it is not a good time to do the Safe and Sound Protocol.

Red Flags

There are a number of instances in which it is unwise to use the Safe and Sound Protocol.

  • If a person in subject to other therapies that are contrary to presenting cues of safety (for example, ABA Therapy, or anything else that involves modelling behaviours and rewarding “desirable behaviours”)
  • People who want to get started with the SSP in the next day, and who do not see the benefit in working with the SSP Connect programme fully first (see success factors above)
  • People who complain about pricing – the SSP takes up immense amounts of a therapist’s time if it is monitored properly
  • Those who tend toward dorsal vagal (shutdown)/depression and those who self harm or have suicidal tendencies. In this case, the SSP may be used in-person, but with a practitioner who takes in-person clients, rather than with me.

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 parents benefit greatly from the Safe and Sound Protocol experience, and it is recommended that they complete the programme before a child for the most optimal results.

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