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Core Skills Of SSP Delivery

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Building the Foundation of Success:
Exploring the core skills essential for effective Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) delivery and positive client outcomes

Context: Psychoeducation

Psychoeducation plays a crucial role in SSP sessions. Your therapist will provide you with information about the autonomic nervous system, your own autonomic experience and tendencies, and the SSP can help you and the process of ssp delivery. Not only does psychoeducation provide good context for your client, but it can also Empower them to be a proactive agent in their own healing process.

Common topics:

  1. The Role of the Autonomic Nervous System:

    • The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is responsible for regulating automatic bodily functions, such as heart rate, breathing, digestion, and stress responses.

    • It consists of two branches: the sympathetic nervous system, which mobilizes the body's resources in response to perceived threats, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and restoration.

  2. Behaviour, Thoughts, and Emotions Resting on the Platform of Autonomic State:

    • Our autonomic state significantly influences our behaviour, thoughts, and emotions.

    • When our ANS is in a calm and regulated state, we are more likely to experience positive emotions, think clearly, and engage in adaptive behaviours.

    • Conversely, when our ANS is dysregulated or stuck in a stress response, it can impact our emotional well-being, cognitive processes, and ability to regulate behaviour effectively.

  3. The Capacity for the Nervous System to be Re-tuned:

    • The nervous system has the capacity to be re-tuned or regulated, allowing it to return to a balanced state after experiencing stress or trauma.

    • Through therapeutic interventions like the SSP, the nervous system can be supported in finding a state of equilibrium and resilience.

  4. Key Principles of Polyvagal Theory:

    • Polyvagal theory, developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, explains the neurophysiological basis of our responses to threat and safety.

    • Neuroception is the subconscious detection of cues of threat and safety from our body, our environment, and our relationships that determine our physiological state.

    • Hierarchy refers to the organization of our autonomic responses into a hierarchical structure, where the most adaptive response is accessed based on the perceived level of threat.

    • Co-regulation emphasizes the importance of social engagement and connection in regulating our autonomic nervous system. Positive social interactions can promote a sense of safety and help regulate our nervous system.

  5. How One's State Drives One's Story:

    • Our autonomic state influences the way we perceive and interpret our experiences.

    • When our nervous system is dysregulated, we may have distorted perceptions, heightened reactivity, or difficulties in processing information.

    • By regulating our autonomic state, we can cultivate a more accurate and balanced narrative about ourselves and our experiences.

  6. Your Client's Individual Nervous System:

    • Each client has a unique nervous system with its own patterns, sensitivities, and capacities for regulation.

    • Understanding the client's individual nervous system helps tailor therapeutic interventions to meet their specific needs and promote effective healing.

  7. Ways to Regulate the Nervous System:

    • There are various strategies to regulate the nervous system, including deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness practices, grounding techniques, physical movement, and self-soothing activities.

    • The therapist collaborates with the client to identify and implement personalized regulation strategies based on their individual preferences and responses.


Choice: Titration

Titration in the context of SSP refers to finding the "just-right" amount of listening to the therapeutic audio to calm and regulate the nervous system. Titration, frequency, duration, and intensity require individualized assessment and ongoing collaboration between the therapist and the client. The therapist's expertise and the client's feedback and responses guide the decision-making process to ensure the SSP sessions are tailored to their specific needs and promote optimal nervous system regulation.

1. Titration for balancing intensity:

  • Titration involves finding the "just-right" amount of therapeutic audio to provide optimal regulation and avoid overwhelming the nervous system.

  • It ensures that the intensity of the audio stimulus matches the client's capacity to process and integrate the experience.

  • Through titration, the therapist continuously monitors the client's responses and makes necessary adjustments to maintain an appropriate level of stimulation.

2. Continuous monitoring and decision-making:

  • Titration requires ongoing monitoring of the client's responses and careful decision-making by the therapist.

  • The therapist observes the client's physiological and emotional cues, tracks their level of comfort, and assesses their capacity for regulation.

  • Based on these observations, the therapist makes informed decisions about adjusting the intensity, duration, and pacing of the therapeutic audio to support the client's progress best.

3. Supporting program design and changes over time:

  • Titration plays a significant role in program design and modifications over the course of therapy.

  • The therapist considers the client's individual needs, goals, and progress to determine the appropriate starting pathway and adjust it as necessary.

  • As the client's nervous system becomes more regulated and resilient, the therapist may gradually increase the intensity or move to a different pathway within the SSP program.

4. "Stretch and savour":

  • The concept of "stretch and savour" is relevant to titration in SSP.

  • It refers to a dynamic process of gradually challenging the nervous system by stretching its capacity to tolerate stimulation, followed by periods of rest and integration to savour the progress made.

  • This approach supports the client in building resilience and capacity for regulation over time.

5. Frequency of SSP sessions:

  • The frequency of SSP sessions is typically determined collaboratively between the therapist and the client.

  • Sessions are typically scheduled once a week or every few weeks, considering the client's availability, needs, and treatment goals.

  • The frequency may be adjusted based on the client's progress and ongoing assessment by the therapist.

6. Duration of listening sessions:

  • The duration of each SSP listening session generally ranges from 60 to 90 minutes.

  • This allows sufficient time for the client to engage with the therapeutic audio and for the nervous system to regulate.

  • However, the specific duration may be adjusted based on the client's tolerance, response, and therapeutic objectives.

7. Intensity and SSP pathway selection:

  • The intensity and SSP pathway selection depend on the client's readiness, tolerance, and therapeutic goals.

  • The therapist selects the appropriate pathway from the available options within the SSP program, considering the client's unique needs and capacity for regulation.


Connection: Co-regulation:  

Co-regulation is how our nervous system connects with others and reflects the need shared by all humans to regulate our autonomic state by connecting through reciprocal social interaction.

Supports access to the social engagement system and allows connection and a more regulating ventral vagal influence in the nervous system.

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