Developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) utilizes a non-invasive, auditory intervention to balance and regulate the nervous system, improve social engagement, and decrease sensory and auditory sensitivities. SSP results in improved emotional and behavioral control, and is successful in decreasing symptoms of anxiety, trauma, and improving social engagement. SSP is an evidence-based intervention.
This protocol is used with children, teens, and adults.
Dr. Merrill Graham is trained and certified in the SSP.
In 1994, Dr. Stephen Porges introduced the Polyvagal Theory to researchers and clinicians. Since then, he has published over 275 peer-reviewed papers, written 10 books, owns 4 patents, and hosts a multitude of podcasts on the subject. The Polyvagal Theory
has contributed to the understanding of how the autonomic nervous system is directly linked to social behavior and emotional regulation. Clinicians use this theory and findings as a means to understand, teach, and help clients to manage their autonomic nervous systems: For trauma survivors and those with anxiety, it helps in decreasing the fight/flight/freeze sympathetic reactions. For those with depression, it helps to manage the depletion/"faint"/collapse withdrawal response.
SSP and EMDR can be combined to help increase healing by targeting the trauma that is held in the autonomic nervous system, and restoring a sense of felt safety. The SSP helps to reduce sound sensitivities, improve auditory processing, and assist with emotional and behavioral state regulation. It can also be used to determine client's affect tolerance and ability to move through autonomic states while learning to understand the role that physiological arousal plays in managing mental health. The SSP/EMDR combination follows a therapeutic framework that is grounded in trauma theory, attachment theory, Polyvagal theory, and the Adaptive Information Processing model.
“You need a healthy vagal tone to allow you to get close to someone. And, if the vagus nerve is not functioning well, you aren’t going to demonstrate as much compassion...Vagal tone has both direct and indirect effects on morality.” Darcia Narvaez, Professor Emerita of Psychology at Notre Dame. pub 1/18/22, Notre Dame News
Watch this video to better understand trauma and the nervous system, and how EMDR Therapy and the SSP can help...