Safe and Sound Protocol Guidelines

  • Put aside an hour a day for 5 days for listening to the two 30 minute mp3s.
  • Find a quiet place for listening. Low frequency sounds like dishwashers or construction sounds should be avoided. This quiet place might be more challenging to find than you would initially think.
  • It is better to not start the protocol at a time when there is a lot of stress, or change going on (for example moving to a new house). The SSP requires a lot of energy, and when our resources are depleted, it can make it feel more challenging.
  • Start with track 1a, then 1b. This is 1 hour of listening combined. Day 5 consists of tracks 5a and 5 b. There are a couple of paths to the mp3s.
  • The tracks roll over, so you will automatically start another track if you don’t keep an eye on the time.
  • Set the volume to mid-range. Sometimes the sound will seem very quiet, and at times it will become quite loud. As you get further into the tracks (especially day 4 and 5) you may notice other forms of audio attenuation. It is best to find a volume level where you can leave the volume setting alone from then on.
  • It is OK to move around while doing the SSP, but activities that require focus/concentration should be minimized.
  • You may find that after listening to the SSP for a while you become quite reactive. I have had reports of clients wanting to throw the headphones across the room, becoming very frustrated etc (gut rumblings are very common). If/when this occurs, pause the protocol and move around, take a few deep breaths and when you have settled come back to it. More common is the urge to look at your phone, or check to how much longer you have to listen. See if you can just breathe through these impulses. (This reactivity may suggest that the protocol is recalibrating your foundational, unconscious, protective neurology. Given that this neurology initiates our perception of safety (Polyvagal Theory), it is easy to imagine that when it’s working assumptions are challenged, we may experience a broad range of reactions.)
  • For adults, it is sometimes recommended to do the protocol for 7 to 10 days. If after 5 days, you feel that it has been helpful, but that you might derive further benefit from continuing, I recommend that you do so. If you pick 7 days, ideally do days 3 and 4 again (1,2,3,4,3,4,5). If you pick 10 days, start over from the first track. It is also not recommended to do more than the 1 hour per day of listening.
  • I do not like to wear headphones. Can the intervention be administered via speakers instead?  No. Due to the filtering of the music, the intervention needs to be administered via ear cup style headphones. If you have difficulty with headphones, try to practice using headphones prior to the intervention. Slowly build your tolerance for the headphones until you are able to manage wearing them for one hour with a short break at 30 minutes.
  • Can I use earbuds instead of headphones?  No. As the neural network associated with the middle ear muscles is being exercised, the volume of the music will appear to decrease and increase as the different frequencies of music are removed and re-added, and the ear cup on the headphones helps to block out environmental noise to help you attend better to the music.