The "Safe and Sound Protocol" (SSP) is now available for professional use! The SSP, formerly known as "The Listening Project Protocol" is based on more than 40 years of research investigating relationships between the autonomic nervous system and social-emotional processes. The SSP protocol is designed to exercise the neural regulation of components of auditory system involved in listening with specifically processed music.
Research suggests that following completion of the intervention, individuals will have reduced auditory hypersensitivities, improved auditory processing, improved behavioral and emotional regulation and will be better able to focus and attend in school, therapy and everyday life.
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There is a growing recognition that stress-related disorders, psychiatric disorders such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and autism, and behavioral problems such as attentional deficits and learning problems are impacting on the quality of life in most families.
These seminars, lectures and articles provide a unique opportunity for professionals working with these conditions and related psychological problems to gain insights into the mechanisms of these disorders and to learn about innovative treatment strategies.
Although the important role of the autonomic nervous system in health and the quality of life has been known for centuries, the publication by Stephen W. Porges of the Polyvagal Theory in 1995 provided new insights. The theory proposed a new model of autonomic reactivity and behavioral state regulation based on the evolution the neural structures controlling the autonomic nervous system. Before the publication of the Polyvagal theory, treatments for chronic stress, depression or autism were based on an older limited understanding of the autonomic nervous system. The old model focused on the paired antagonism between the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system. The paired antagonism model, although useful in evaluating “tonic” states of neural regulation of organs, is deficient in understanding autonomic “reactivity” to challenges and stresses. The Polyvagal Theory provides a new conceptualization that emphasizes a response hierarchy based on three phylogenetic stages of the neural regulation of the autonomic nervous system. Thus, the theory proposes that the autonomic nervous system does not respond solely with synergistic changes in sympathetic and parasympathetic inputs. Rather the autonomic nervous system responds sequentially, functionally removing the phylogenetically most recent neural mechanisms first.
The theory has stimulated both researchers and clinicians. Researchers have used the theory to explain physiological reactivity and cited the theory in more than 200 peer reviewed journal articles. Clinicians who study trauma and other severe psychiatric disorders have used the theory to explain the unique behaviors and behavioral states that are frequently observed in clients who have experienced life threat.
Professor Porges has applied the theory to develop new assessment and treatment tools for individuals with difficulties in social engagement behaviors and state regulation. For example, he has developed an intervention, based on the theory, to trigger spontaneous social engagement behaviors in individuals diagnosed with autism.
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