Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP)
"If you want to improve the world, start by making people feel safe."
- Stephen Porges
The SSP is neuroscientist Stephen Porges life's work, based on his famous 'polyvagal theory'. In SSP the client listens to specially filtered music that specifically tunes the inner ear muscles which naturally register cues of safety. The SSP releases any hyper-focus on signals of possible threads while restoring nuance, clarity and calm in the way we perceive. By stimulating the vagus nerve very effectively it nourishes the nervous system as a whole. The effect is deeper, but comparable to that of listening to a supportive friendly human voice.
Imagine a dog turning its ears towards a sound to detect what the sound is about. Is it the friendly owner coming back home? Is it the sound of thunder? After the sound has passed the ears turn back, and the dog relaxes, letting his alertness go. In much the same way do we have the capacity to anticipate danger or to re-adjust and let it go. The inner ears play a bigger role in this total mechanism than you might expect. The SSP brings back our innate flexibility after chronic states of over-alertness, making it easier to dial-down and respond in sync with what the moment calls for.
What I love about this method is the profound bolstering impact it has on our body’s internal control center, resulting in less overwhelm, more fluency, and harmony in processing the many signals from inside and outside our body. Another common effect is that the SSP lowers anxiety and brings back the body's natural tendency to feel safe and socially connected rather than defensive. It often increases our ability to filter, process emotions, focus and think clearly, and to listen and express. Even deepening the sense of embodiment, feeling grounded and expanded body awareness is a common side effect.
The effect noticed can be subtle or strong and can vary from session to session. Many people experience the SSP as a transformative journey.
What is the SSP concretely?:
2 versions of special filtered music that you listen to via over-ear headphones within the context of a therapeutic session/exploration.
Version 1 is more intense and meant to challenge and open the nervous system (this version is called 'Core')
Version 2 is mild and meant to stabilize and soothe the nervous system (this version is called 'Balance').
You will listen at your own unique timing, intensity, and pace with as many pauses as you need. Listening from 3 to 30 minutes maximum per session. (sometimes as little as 5 minutes can have a surprisingly strong impact)
To maximize the effect and safety of listening to the SSP the listening will be an integral part of a sensory exploration where you will gently loosen deep psychological and somatic patterns.
This website via the button below contains thorough information about the SSP:
My own experience with SSP
"I have always been a dreamy type, but it was when I forgot a bunch of crucial groceries and my partner asked me if I had heard what he had said 3 times in a row, that I wondered whether my attention was something to take more seriously. Via a colleague I had access to try the SSP remotely at home. Not being convinced that music could have a real impact at all I listened to the first 15 minutes while laying - feeling skeptical - on the couch. After a few minutes, I noticed an oozing sensation in my body and a feeling of quiet intimacy with the sound. I had to admit my breath responded by deepening; as if I had more space. When the 15 minutes had passed I felt like someone had attentively listened to me, rather than me having listened to music, it was very odd! I also felt more clear and more aware of the room. It was much easier and more enjoyable to focus on a conversation. Going through the rest of the SSP program in the following days I felt an increase in calm and clarity, at some moments even an increase in enthusiasm and outgoingness. I enjoyed social interaction more. Some days the SSP evoked intense fatigue and longer sleeping. I also felt rawer, and more emotionally responsive. Emotions were felt more deeply and were short-lived, like living a bit more fully. Listening SSP longer than 20 minutes was too intense - it gave a sense of disorientation - and so I kept the duration shorter. There were days when I needed to take a break to integrate the change. My tactile sensations felt more alive, for example, the sensations in my feet when walking. The whole SSP was like a journey through many patterns of sensing, thinking, and relating to the outside world. I did the SSP Core and the Balance two times over the course of four months to anchor the effect in daily life. I still listen to the Balance every now and then as a pleasant cue for my nervous system to wind down."
Please know that no two people will have the same experience with the SSP. Its effect is unique per person and varies greatly per session as well. It is my experience that your experience will be fitting to the state of your body, mind and life circumstances.
Available as online sessions and in-person in Voorschoten The Netherlands (near Leiden and Den Haag)