I am excited to announce that I have been trained to provide a groundbreaking new protocol for stress, anxiety, trauma, attention difficulties, digestive issues, and other social, emotion and mental health conditions. The best part is, instead of giving shots or starting IVs like when I was a nurse it involves listening to music for 5 hours! The Safe and Sound Protocol was developed by Dr. Stephen Porges and is based on his Polyvagal Theory. Read on to learn more. (Photo credit by Jackson Simmer, Unsplash.com)
How Are You Wired?
Did you know that your brain and nervous system are constantly monitoring for cues of safety and danger? Decisions are made based on sensory input in a split second and happen below our awareness. This is called neuroception. For many of us, our system can misinterpret these cues from our environment and we react to a danger when in reality no real danger is present. We have a tendency to feel more stress than others which can result in decreased physical and mental health which can look like the following:
- Social and emotional difficulties
- Sensitivities to sound and other sensory processing difficulties
- Anxiety and trauma related challenges
- Learning, cognition and attention difficulties
- Digestive issues
- Other stress related physical and mental conditions
Shift Your State, Shift Your Story
Our Internal Control Center – The Vagus Nerve
The mind and body are connected through the vagus nerve, which is the longest nerve in the autonomic nervous system, stretching from the brainstem to the intestines. It is our internal control center, allowing the brain to monitor and receive information about many of our bodily functions.
The vagus nerve helps to regulate many of the body’s functions including the heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, digestion, and even speaking. As the body takes in information, the vagus nerve processes the signals and cues from the world around us and, in turn, determines how we react through three physiological states:
- Parasympathetic / Ventral Vagal state— our centered “true self” state, where all social interaction, connection and productive thinking occurs
- Sympathetic state— feeling of threat or danger, and feeling the need to either “fight” or “flee” from a situation to seek safety
- Dorsal Vagal state— our “freeze” state, when we feel our lives are so immediately threatened that we become immobilized
Change State to Regulate:
We all process cues and signals from the world around us differently. Some of us may naturally feel more calm and spend more time in a ventral vagal state while others, due to genetic makeup and life experience may feel more threatened or endangered and default to sympathetic or dorsal vagal state. This is especially true of those who experience the effects of trauma, or with conditions such as anxiety, ADHD, autism or PTSD.
Stimulating the vagus nerve and providing cues of safety can enable our nervous system to reset and change our physiological state — helping us to more easily access our ventral vagal state and to more consistently feel safe and calm.
Developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is a five hour listening intervention designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience. Based on Dr. Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, the SSP activates the vagus nerve, calms our physiological and emotional state, we feel better, we think more clearly and we connect with others better. Participants report feeling more alive, more awake, more flexible in their responses to the world.
Before the listening begins, clients learn how to map their own nervous system. This is a “bottom-up” approach, meaning, clients are guided away from the thinking mind and analysis into the body, honoring what is present and what is needed. Personal cues of safety and danger are discovered and clients are given tools to use to learn to shift their state from danger to safety. The experience is one of discovery, nourishment, empowerment and partnership.
Through re-toning the vagus nerve through the Safe and Sound Protocol, the nervous system is able to receive, process and respond to those environmental cues and signals from the world around us in a more effective way. This helps us to learn how to more easily and consistently feel better regulated in the face of our day to day challenges.
The SSP uses specially-filtered music to train the neural network associated with listening to focus on the frequency range of the human voice. What you hear, and how you hear it, influences how your body responds. This protocol enhances or allows for additional therapies, learning, and other healing modalities to work more effectively.
I am able to work remotely with clients with the newly developed app and platforms such as Zoom. You get to listen in the comfort of your own home using an app on your smart phone. If you are interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to discuss the possibility of working together with the SSP.
More information about the SSP: https://integratedlistening.com/ssp-safe-sound-protocol/