Stephen Porges, PhD, is a behavioral neuroscientist who has been studying the body's fight, flight or freeze and rest & digest systems since the 1960s. His research into the Vagal nerve system and how it works lead to the groundbreaking Polyvagal theory which has revolutionized the treatment of trauma in the US. Polyvagal theory states that there are in fact 3
His research has also shown that in all mammals autonomic state is integrated with the neural regulation of muscles in the middle ear, larynx and pharynx. This means that heart rate, as well as the many other functions of the autonomic nervous system (such as body temperature, gastro-intestinal issues, etc.) can be moderated by the use of these muscles.
Safe and Sound Protocol
The Safe and Sound protocol (SSP) is a non-invasive behavioral neural intervention that is delivered via audio. It utilizes the middle ear muscles via listening to change a person's neural state and move them from immobilization to fight or flight or fight or flight back into rest and digest. By calming the physiological and emotional state, SSP can open the door for improved communication and more successful therapy.
SSP is an evidence based intervention that has been found to improve social and emotional difficulties, auditory and other sensory sensitivities, auditory processing difficulties, anxiety and trauma-related challenges, inattention, reactivity, stressors that impact social engagement, difficulties in regulating physiological and emotional state, chronic pain and fatigue, depression, difficulty sleeping, gut issues, and low resilience.
Of most relevance to patients of NYC CBTp are its positive benefits for people with a history of trauma, and those experiencing Long Haul symptoms of covid such as chronic pain and/or fatigue, difficulty sleeping, gut issues, difficulties regulating physiological and emotional state, sensory sensitivities and difficulties with attention and brain fog.
How do I access the Safe and Sound Protocol?
SSP works optimally when done in conjunction with psychotherapy to help the person understand and reconcile the changes that are happening in their body. For this reason the SSP is available to patients currently in weekly therapy with Dr. Riggs. It is delivered through a convenient app-based digital platform (available on Android and iOS) and over the ear headphones. Please ask Dr. Riggs if this treatment would be right for you.