SSP for Individuals
Your nervous system is on 24 hours, 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 belong in relationships
- whether you find contact with others pleasant or rather stressful
- 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 human beings for 30 years. The so-called “polyvagal theory” stems from 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 auditory system. This creates a new neural basis. This enables a subjective feeling of security. It also makes important brain functions more accessible
Selfcare that lasts
This new neural basis enables faster comprehension, easier learning and thus more effective coaching. After all, if you feel safe and stable, it is easier to deal with unpleasant topics or to hold feelings which you previously had to avoid. In other words, the self is strengthened so that one has better distance from one’s feelings and is less likely to be sucked into difficult states.
The numerous documented effects suggest that the use of SSP advances the myelination of the Ventral Vagus, a protective layer is formed around this cranial nerve, so to speak. It is thus enabled to transmit information much faster. Sensory perceptions of safety, being socially in touch and belonging can thus dominate anxiety thoughts and keep the nervous system in a state of calm and stability. The here and now can be perceived more as here and now. Stimuli that trigger emotional or sensory memories of the past in truth are preferentially re-located there.
The SSP has proven particularly effective with clients with:
- lack of ability to self-regulate
- social and emotional difficulties
- sensitivities to auditory sounds
- chronic inner turmoil
- anxiety and panic attacks
- inability to focus attention on anything
- addictions, and consequences of shock and developmental trauma
- and also for self-care for educators and therapists
The following effects have been described by users:
- I feel wider inside, more open.
- My voice no longer comes from the (throat) head but from the depth of the body.
- My breath flows more easily.
- I feel strengthened and held.
- I can relax better.
- I sleep more deeply and remember dreams better.
- I have to dissociate less.
- Concrete fears and diffuse anxiety decrease.
- I approach people more openly.
- I can keep calm in stressful situations more easily.
- I come out of states of agitation more quickly back into balance.
- I can hold unpleasant sensations and feelings better.
- I can more easily oscillate between different states of arousal.
- When listening to music, I hear not only words and sounds, but every single note.
- In noisy environments (restaurants, street), conversations are easier to follow.
Individual users reported the following changes due to the use of SSP: (according to Stephan Konrad Niederwieser)
A more intense olfactory and gustatory experience.
Less desire for sweets and snacks.
Diabetics were able to reduce daily insulin doses.
They got by with fewer psychotropic drugs on which they had previously been dependent.
People who were prone to motion sickness had fewer to no problems with it afterward.
People with autistic traits reported feeling less overwhelmed after using sensory stimuli.
It was easier to connect with others.
Facial features softened.
The SSP has only recently become available to users. We are just beginning to document the effects. So you can expect that there will be more to come.
This effect and personal experience of the lasting effects convinced me to use it myself.
And this is how the application works:
Before the first application, you will learn from me all the essentials. I explain the technique to you. The headphones you use must not suppress any sounds. On the following days we start with a short preliminary talk, so that I get an impression of how your organism reacts to the SSP.
You will listen to this frequency-modulated music through headphones for 30 minutes to one hour every day. The headphones are necessary because this is the only way to ensure stimulation of the middle ear muscles.
During this time you can rest or paint, knit, play cards, do puzzles, leaf through picture books – anything from which your nervous system is not activated. During the entire application period, I will stay close to you to allow co-regulation. Afterwards, it is good if you engage in physical activity, for example, by taking a walk.
Why the Ear?
What SSP is not:
It is not relaxation music.
It is not meditation.
It does not contain sublime messages of “You feel calm and relaxed now.”
It is not EMDR music.
It is not binaural stimulation.
Nor does it have anything to do with the Tomatis Method or Listening Cure.
SSP does not aim to promote temporary states of relaxation, but to build a new, permanent, neural platform that makes people feel safer in this world.
SSP is not a substitute for psychotherapy, but creates a foundation of safety upon 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. It sounds rather tinny on the first day, empty as if from a can, and becomes clearer and more distinct from day to day.
What time of day is best for SSP?
For best results, schedule treatment so that you do not have to work or be particularly challenged afterwards, but instead can consciously integrate the changes you experience through a walk or other light movement.
In my practice and online I offer the SSP for adults. Both online and in my practice I have had very good experiences.
I am trained and authorized (certified) to use the SSP program online as well. More about polyvagal theory and the work of Dr. Porges at www.stephenporges.com
And this is how people experience it:
The father of a boy with Asperger’s syndrome describes the effect like this:
Dear Mrs. Bornhorst,
I would like to give a short feedback about the change in Jonathan: he is now
More approachable, more articulate, seeks more contact and likes to spend time with us, takes more initiative and makes constructive suggestions, seems more balanced, is no longer so quick to reach his limit.
D. J.; healing practitioner for psychotherapy
In between, it felt like 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 for myself. My fear of people and also my formerly automated strong defensiveness have receded to a degree that makes physical contact possible again. I also now feel myself to be more competent.
N. T. Mannheim
My voice has more power. It is as if I hear my own voice more clearly, even when I speak more softly. I feel more confident in my surroundings and feel more present and connected. I find it much easier to interact with students in the playground. I have greater access to my emotions.
A. A. Friedberg
I find the SSP surprisingly effective. Didn’t think at first that a music therapy tool could have this impact.
At first it seems like listening to music while lying down, which can be nice in general.” But the sensations change and when listening, feelings of love play through the body and greater joy.
And then I noticed in everyday life that I have become a little more confident in my contact with people and the world. I can stay with myself better and hold position. People and the world often seem less hostile to me, and I am more grounded. (D. B. Steinfeld)