In response to desperate pleas by SSP providers around the globe, iLs has pushed through the release of the Safe and Sound Protocol in digital format somewhat earlier than planned to address concerns about providing the physical product due to social distancing and hygiene measures.
The Safe and Sound Protocol, in case you do not already know, is a revolutionary five-hour programme that uses filtered music to train the stapaedius, while stimulating the facial and vagus nerves. The effect is softened facial muscles, a better “tuned” autonomic nervous system and a better ability to tune into the human voice and filter out irrelevant background noise.
The Safe and Sound Protocol is unlike any of the other longer-lasting auditory integration therapies on the market because it addresses the autonomic nervous system and “fear” at a cellular level, while the other well-known programmes tend to deal more with hemispheric integration.
The Safe and Sound Protocol promotes vastly improved social engagement: As your facial muscles soften, you become more engaging as your face becomes more expressive. You are better able to focus on conversation, rather than feeling on alert from high and low frequency background noise, and your breathing, heart rate and digestion will head more towards a rest and digest state than fight/flight/freeze.
The digital release of the Safe and Sound Protocol is better designed to be delivered remotely, especially during the COVID19 period. This does not mean that EVERYONE should access SSP remotely: for adults with trauma, especially those who are living alone, SSP is not suitable for remote delivery.
From a practitioner point of view, the digital version is so much easier, for the following reasons:
– we do not need to charge a deposit for physical equipment
– we do not need to ship our expensive equipment or worry about loss or damage
– we can track your progress from a console, so we can check that you have ONLY completed the listening that we have told you to do. If you exceed listening time and then suffer overwhelm, you cannot say you were not told!
– we do not need to worry about hygiene or sterilisation of the equipment, which may over time damage it, as you use YOUR equipment
For the next few weeks, SSP Digital is only available on Android platforms (apple coming in mid June!), so you will need an Android phone or tablet plus good quality non-noise-cancelling over-ear headphones. You should complete in-depth screening before being approved for SSP by your practitioner. If approved, you will need to attend a coaching session online (bookable here). Sometimes, it is appropriate to supervise listening online, depending on the individual, but for some, you will need to wait until face-to-face contact is possible again.
I also sometimes recommend that a parent completes SSP first before completing with their child. This is because co-regulation is extremely important for the best possible results. If you would like to understand this concept from a polyvagal theory point of view, please read the book Grounded by Claire Wilson.
You will be required to return an agreement and consent form in advance, as well as screening questionnaires and full payment.
I have used the Safe and Sound Protocol with around 200 different clients over the last 18 months, all of whom have reported reduced anxiety, vastly improved social communication in children on the spectrum, better self-regulation, reductions in misophonia and tinnitus, better sleep, improvements in the digestive system and even a reduction in appetite.
My golden rule is that it is essential to get to know and understand each client individually: the SSP involves five hours of listening, but this five hours will look different for every single person, and it’s working out how to deliver it that makes the difference between success, almighty failure and nothing at all.
The greatest success with the Safe and Sound Protocol comes when a client fully understands the process and engages with it. The other success factor is the degree to which the programme is customised for you. Recently I came across a service that advertises the SSP as “thirty minute bursts” of music. Some people – children and adults alike – cannot cope with half an hour of SSP at a time. It is essential to keep in close contact with your practitioner, so that listening can be adjusted throughout the programme, depending on how the subject is feeling. Believe it or not, feeling anything can also be an indication of overwhelm for some people!
The Safe and Sound Protocol is available via Move2Connect and Brighter Skies in person, or from iLs accredited providers. Please always look for experienced, trauma-informed providers, and check that they understand the individual nature of the Safe and Sound Protocol before signing your life away!
Brighter Skies and Move2Connect are passionate about ensuring best practice of SSP delivery in the United Kingdom. We have access to deliver a powerful intervention to our clients, and we do not want the Safe and Sound Protocol to end up being banned or gaining a tarnished reputation because of a law suit with someone who has not taken due care with their clients.
Please contact me for further information.