Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP)

The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is a non-invasive listening intervention designed to help you feel better, think better, and connect better. The Safe and Sound Protocol helps adults and children to better regulate their emotions and their behaviour, as well as helping them to better engage socially.

How does it Work?

This non-invasive intervention involves listening to filtered music* that has been processed specifically to retune the nervous system (regulating state) to introduce a sense of safety and the ability to socially engage. Retuning the nervous system introduces a sense of safety and the ability to socially engage. SSP works to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing capacity for social engagement and emotional resilience. By calming the physiological and emotional state, a neurological doorway may be opened for improving communication and thus lead towards more successful therapy, learning and social engagement. The recipient is better able to interpret not only human speech, but, importantly, the emotional meaning of language. Once interpersonal interactions improve, spontaneous social behaviours and an enhanced ability to learn, self regulate and engage socially are often seen.  

Who Can benefit?

Children, youth and adults who struggle with the following:

  • Social and emotional difficulties
  • Auditory sensitivities
  • Anxiety and trauma related challenges
  • Inattention, difficulty focusing, attending
  • Stressors that impact adversely on social engagement


What is Involved?

The SSP involves listening to a specially formulated sequence of filtered music for a total of 5 hours from the comfort of your own home. The timing and spacing of the listening determined collaboratively based on the individual’s history, current emotional regulation, and stress tolerance. The music is played through headphones in a quiet and safe environment. If a child or youth is engaging in intervention they would be supported by a parent or other safe and caring grownup. During the listening time, conversation is avoided however, adult, parent or child may choose to engage in any quiet creative activities. The SSP certified ACS team member will be available to the adult or supporting parent at the beginning of the process, at strategically timed check ins throughout the process, for urgent consultation and at the end to make further suggestions or recommendation.  


How does it Work?

Here’s the science behind the approach! Based on Dr. Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, the program is derived from nearly four decades of research on the relationship between the autonomic nervous system and social-emotional processes. It is designed to stimulate nervous system regulation by exercising and systematically challenging the auditory system with specifically processed music. The music trains the auditory pathways by focusing on the frequency envelope of human speech. As the child learns to process these speech-related frequencies, they improve the functioning of two cranial nerves that are important for promoting overall social behavior. Cranial Nerve VII (Facial Nerve) helps children focus on human voice and tune out irrelevant frequencies. Cranial Nerve X (Vagus Nerve) enables self-soothing and autonomic regulation. *The music for the intervention uses familiar songs which have been specially filtered and modulated to remove high and low frequency wavebands, keeping the sounds to within the bandwidth of human speech (prosody) – specifically to the soothing frequencies which signal safety and calmness to the processes of neuroception (the neurological systems which are involved in detecting threat and safety). Effectively the SSP directly gives the body the cues for neurological safety.

What are the potential outcomes?

Emotional and physiological states are critical to how children approach the situation at hand. So, when a child has better internal state control, not only can she be more socially engaged, but she is also more open to therapy and to new learning. Studies suggest that following successful completion of the intervention, children will be better able to focus in school, therapy, and everyday life and experience a calmed emotional and physiological state. Skills such as attention, state regulation and the ability to engage socially will be enhanced. More detailed information and research of the SSP intervention can be found at

The Safe and Sound Protocol Pathways

What they are, and how you can use them to support your clients' healing journey.
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  • "Cindy has been a real gift to our family. Her support as we navigated the SSP program has proved to be transformational for our family. There is a sense of regulation and calm in our house that we have never experienced before. Cindy has been a guide for navigating through the process and solution seeking through the unexpected. Thank-you!"
  • "My daughter struggled with severe anxiety that restricted her from doing regular day to day things like ordering food, asking for help and trying new things. After the SSP she is so much more regulated. She did math homework for the first time without distress."

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