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  • Writer's pictureSaralicia H.

Music to Our Brain: How the Safe and Sound Protocol Works

Dr. Stephen Porges, renowned for his groundbreaking Polyvagal Theory, created the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP), formerly known as The Listening Project. The SSP is an approach known as listening therapy, which means that the vehicle for treatment is sound. Dr. Porges developed a way to filter music within tones that are experienced as safe and soothing by our nervous system. Backed by decades of research, this tool communicates with our body and delivers a message of safety.

As we listen to the music, participate in the co-regulating relationship that therapy provides, and learn to receive this message and regulate our own emotions/reactions, our nervous system begins the journey towards healing. It is not only our brain that is plastic, but our whole nervous system! By listening to the music and navigating our stress reactions, we give our body the chance to gradually move closer to a state of calm and connection, thereby repatterning our nervous system. This repetition allows our brain (and by that I mean the embodied brain) the chance to become a master at what it practices: flexibility and fluidity between states. In other words, we become resilient.

The SSP was initially recommended for Neurodivergent individuals and people with Sensory and Auditory Processing Disorders such as Misophonia, but research has proven its efficacy in a wide number of conditions, such as Anxiety, Depression, Chronic Pain, Long Covid, IBS/Digestion issues, insomnia, trauma history, Autonomic Dysfunction, POTS/Vasovagal Syncope, among many others.

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