When the body is exposed to a threat, the autonomic nervous system sends an individual into a state of fight, flight, or freeze. These are the three main stress responses. During these states, a myriad of hormones are released and individuals experience physiological changes such as trembling or shaking or a change in heart rate or pace of breath. Once the perceived threat is removed, the nervous system calms down and the individual can return to their pre-threat state. Some individuals, however, have been repeatedly exposed to perceived threats and find themselves living in a constant state of hypervigilance. This might look like increased irritability and anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, having difficulties connecting with others, and having troubles remaining focused.
The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) is a new and innovative way of calming the nervous system down by listening to carefully selected and crafted music to reprogram the polyvagal nervous system by going through the middle ear right to the vagus nerve. Once a teen is stabilized in the day treatment program, we can start SSP. It requires about ten 30-45 minute sessions to administer the SSP. We are seeing great improvements in clients’ outcomes by using this technique.