The Safe & Sound Program by Stephen Porges
The Safe & Sound Program by Stephen Porges
Your nervous system is "on" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It checks all internal and external signals to find out how safe the current situation is for you. This is called neuroception. The result of this test determines, among other things:
- whether you feel safe and secure in relationships
- whether you find the contact with others pleasant or rather exhausting
- whether you can stay relaxed or feel stressed.
Dr. Stephen Porges has been researching the nervous system and its effect on the subjective experience of humans for 40 years. The so-called "polyvagal theory" goes back to his discoveries. Based on his findings, Porges has developed an application, the "Safe and Sound Protocol", or "SSP" for short. This aims to stimulate the regulation of the nervous system. By systematically training the sense of hearing. This creates a new neural basis. This enables a subjective feeling of security. It also makes important brain functions more easily accessible.
This new neural basis enables faster comprehension, easier learning and thus more effective psychotherapy and coaching. Because if you feel safe and stable, it is easier for you to deal with unpleasant topics or to hold on to feelings that you previously had to avoid. In other words: the self is strengthened, so that you have a better distance to your feelings and are less drawn into difficult situations.
The numerous documented effects suggest that the application of the SSP promotes the myelination of the ventral vagus, a protective layer is formed around this cranial nerve, so to speak. This enables it to transmit information much faster. Sensory perceptions of security, social contact and belonging can thus dominate fearful thoughts and keep the nervous system in a state of calm and stability. The here and now can be perceived rather than the here and now. Stimuli that actually trigger emotional or sensory memories of the past are preferably located there again.
The SSP has proven to be particularly effective for clients with:
- lack of ability to self-regulate,
- social and emotional difficulties,
- Sensitivities to hearing sounds,
- chronic inner restlessness, fears and panic attacks,
- the inability to focus attention on anything,
- Addiction issues and
- Consequences of shock and developmental traumas.
The following effects have been described by users: (after Stephan Konrad Niederwieser)
I can relax better.
I sleep deeper and remember dreams better.
I need to dissociate less.
Concrete fears and diffuse anxiety decrease.
I can keep calm more easily in stressful situations.
I regain your balance more quickly from states of excitement.
I can hold unpleasant sensations and feelings better.
I can more easily commute between different states of arousal.
In noisy environments (restaurants, street), it is easier to follow conversations.
Individual users reported the following changes due to the use of SSP: (according to Stephan Konrad Niederwieser)
A more intensive experience of smell and taste.
Less desire for sweets and snacks.
Sufferers of diabetes could reduce their daily insulin intake.
They were able to get by with less psychotropic drugs on which they had been dependent until then.
People who were prone to travel sickness had fewer or no problems with it afterwards.
People with autistic traits report that they felt less overwhelmed after using sensory stimuli.
Breathing became easier.
It became easier to get in contact with others.
Fears were reduced.
Facial features became softer.
The SSP has been available to users only recently. We are just beginning to document the effects. So we can expect that a lot more will show up.
This effect and my personal experience of the lasting effects convinced me of the application.
And this is how the application works:
On the first day of the application you will learn everything you need to know from me. I will explain the technology to you. The headphones you use must not suppress any noise. This model is one possibility.
On the following days we will start with a short preliminary talk, so that I can get an impression of how your organism reacts to the SSP.
You will listen to this frequency-modulated music over headphones for one hour every day. The headphones are necessary because only in this way can the stimulation of the middle ear muscles be guaranteed.
During this time you can rest or paint, knit, play cards, do puzzles, leaf through illustrated books - everything that does not activate your nervous system. During the entire application period I stay with you online in-sight to enable co-regulation.
Afterwards it is good to get some physical activity, for example by going for a walk.
Which SSP is not:
It is not relaxation music.
It is not meditation.
It does not contain sublime messages of "You are feeling calm and relaxed now.
It is not EMDR music.
It is not binaural stimulation.
It has nothing to do with the Tomatis Method or hearing cure.
SSP does not aim to promote temporary states of relaxation, but to build a new, permanent neural platform that makes people feel more secure in this world.
SSP is not a substitute for psychotherapy, but creates a foundation of security on which psychotherapy can work better, faster and more effectively.
Music you will hear:
Norah Jones, Alison Krauss, Sarah McLaughlin, Tori Amos, Trisha Yearwood, and many other primarily female singer/songwriters. But the music is modulated. On the first day it sounds rather tinny, empty as if from a can and becomes clearer and clearer from day to day.
What time of day is best for SSP?
For best results, plan the treatment so that you don't have to work or be particularly challenged afterwards, but instead can consciously integrate the changes you have experienced.
How much does the application cost?
The application is performed on five consecutive days. On the first day there will be a preliminary consultation, so please allow two hours for this. On the following days I will keep one and a half hours free for you with a preliminary and follow-up consultation. That is a total of eight hours. This includes therapeutic interventions that become necessary during the treatment. For the entire service I charge a fee of 330 €.
In my practice and online I offer the SSP for adults and for children accompanied by a parent or guardian.
I am trained and authorized (certified) to apply the SSP program.
More about Polyvagaltherory and the work of Dr. Porges at www.stephenporges.com
Nobody explains polyvagal theory better than the researcher himself: Dr. Stephen Porges.
And this is how people experience it with me:
At times it felt as if new neural connections were being created in the back of my head. It felt like a slight tingling sensation. My feeling in the world today is one of greater security and deeper compassion. My fear of people and also my once automated strong defensive posture have decreased to a level that makes physical contact possible again. I also feel myself to be more competent now.
N. T. Mannheim
I feel like I came back home after a journey to the wilderness of my attachment wounds.. I now "own" my yearn to connect, (plus the pain that is related to this yearn), and I am more direct with my social engagement. (anonymous)
I find the SSP surprisingly effective. I would never have thought that a music therapy tool could have this effect.
At first it seems like listening to music while lying down, which can be generally nice". But the sensations change and when listening to it, feelings of love play through the body and greater joy.
And then I noticed in everyday life that I have become a little more secure in my contact with people and the world. I can better stay with myself and hold position. People and the world often seem less hostile to me and I am more grounded. (D. B. Steinfeld)