Safe and Sound Protocol: Nourishing and Awakening the Nervous System

The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) was developed by Dr. Stephen Porges and is based on the Polyvagal Theory. This protocol is a five day, one hour per day auditory intervention designed to address a number of common symptoms experienced by children and adults. The effectiveness of this intervention has been proven in a wide range of studies, two of which were most notable in trials involving children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. According to these studies, trial participants demonstrated statistically significant improvements in:

  • Emotional Control
  • Behavioral Organization
  • Hearing Sensitivity and Listening

It also benefits individuals with:

  • Auditory sensitivity
  • Chronic anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Separation anxiety
  • Behavioral acting out
  • Anger
  • Misophonia
  • Depression
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Learning problems
  • Sleep problems (due to worry and ruminating)
  • Self medicating (overeating, shopping, gambling)

The Program

The complete program comprises 3 main pathways accessible through and facilities by a qualified and certified professional. At Amphora Mental Health, we are able to facilitate this protocol both in-person and via remote delivery.

Each of the SSP pathways is composed of different filtered, unfiltered and calming 5-hour music playlists for either children or adults. This can be broken down into smaller increments depending on the individual’s comfort level. Two additional days are added to the beginning and the end of the listening program for preparation and then for integration.

The SSP pathways are designed to help the nervous system to better receive, process, and respond to the cues and signals from the world around us. This helps us learn how to more easily and consistently feel better regulated in the face of life’s challenges.

Your body responds to what you hear and how you hear it.

Listening is connected with the vagus nerve, the body’s internal control center for processing and responding to cues and signals from the world around us. The SSP uses specially-filtered music to train the neural network associated with listening to focus on the frequency range of the human voice and assists in calming the physiological and emotional states which leads to improved communication and can lead to more successful therapy. Most changes occur over 3 months or more as the individual begins to engage and relate to their environment in new ways. Some changes can occur immediately.

The Safe & Sound Protocol is not a cure-all and support from other therapist including psychotherapy, increases gains and can create physiological changes that are otherwise difficult to attain. This is not a stand-alone intervention.

If you are not currently in therapy while participating in the listening program, 5-7 individual therapy sessions following the end of your listening program will be scheduled. ** The fee for these sessions are not included in the base price of the SSP, they will be billed at the regular therapy hour rate. **

We look, speak, and listen with the same system. When the voice changes, the body responds. As we learn to focus on the sound frequencies of human speech through the SSP program, the vagus nerve becomes stimulated and the state of feeling more safe and calm becomes accessible.

The proof is in the playlists. Specially treated music playlists are part of the SSP program and all help ‘prime the nervous system by exposing it to different sound frequencies. Listening to these playlists through over the ear headphones helps the nervous system to more readily achieve balance, or “homeostasis”.

Caveats for the use of SSP

SSP is described as a “potent” intervention by the founder Dr. Stephen Porges. Some people may experience strong emotions for a short time as the defense mechanisms lower. There are some indications that the SSP is not appropriate if the following is occurring:

  • Current life upheaval
  • Living in a home or work situation that is not currently safe
  • Unaddressed trauma
  • History of disassociation
  • Ongoing substance abuse
  • Current self harm
Details and Program Cost

Each listening session is pre-determined after an initial assessment and may be changed depending on individual response. Listening sessions may also be a combination of in-person and remote, again depending on the individual and will be determined prior to the start of the protocol. For children and adults that might need additional support, I will be present for during all listening sessions and sessions are encouraged to be scheduled as close together as possible.

Two additional sessions are added to the beginning and the end of the listening program for preparation and integration. These sessions are a standard 50-minute therapy hour.

The entire investment of the Safe and Sound Protocol is $995 which includes access to the listening app, music, and all sessions. Payment plan options are available.

If using the remote delivery via the digital app, you will need to provide your own set of over-the-ear headphones.

Please contact me today if you have any questions or would like to determine your fit for the Safe & Sound Protocol.

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