Safe and Sound Protocol

A listening therapy based on the Polyvagal Theory

Andrea Wood
Transformational Coach
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The SSP is an auditory tool designed to promote resilience, safety, and stress reduction

Service Description: Safe & Sound Protocol

The Safe & Sound Protocol(SSP) is a novel listening therapy that supports nervous system regulation.

The SSP was established to engage the autonomic nervous system using specially filtered music. The music repatterns the nervous system by retraining the middle ear muscles to focus on the frequencies found in human speech.

3 Distinct Pathways

The Safe and Sound Protocol is available in three pathways:

  • Connect: An unfiltered version of the playlist. This list prepares the listener by creating familiarity with the music. When the playlist is familiar, the prospect of nervous system remapping can feel safe and accessible.
  • Core: A specially modulated playlist designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity. Listening to this playlist enhances resilience and social engagement.
  • Balance: A minimally filtered playlist that extends the benefits of SSP core. This playlist is a great tool for stabilization and integration of the remapping stimulated by SSP Core.

The team at AWE will collaborate with you to determine which pathways will deliver the greatest benefit for you.

How Do You Know it Works?

The effectiveness of the SSP has been proven in a wide range of studies including clinical trials involving children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and adults living with PTSD. Case studies discussing outcomes abound.

The team at AWE has witnessed significant shifts in our own client's ability to regulate their nervous system after delivery of the protocol. We've delivered 450 hours of the Safe & Sound Protocol since 2020.

Starting in June 2021, our founder (Andrea) has been an active part of the clinical research team at Indiana University / Children's Wisconsin studying the effects of the SSP on young adults living with Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS).  As part of this trial, Andrea regularly interacts with the physicians managing the studying, and the researchers collecting the data. This study is conducted in a polyvagal-informed setting, by a polyvagal-informed team of scientists and coaches.

Modalities Used

  • Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)
  • Polyvagal Theory
  • Rhythm of Regulation – Foundations of Polyvagal-Informed Practice

Safe & Sound Protocol - AWE Education

Benefits & Outcomes

  • Passive therapy: benefit from simply listening to the music
  • Unconscious Shifts: Autonomic Nervous System  changes prompt shifts in perception and behaviour
  • Safety and calm: Moves system from hyperarousal (fight, flight, defensiveness, nervousness) to safety
  • Improved social engagement: Shifts in connection, communication and ability to focus
  • Resilience: Reduced stress, faster recovery, easier to read emotions and process language
  • Renewed ability to focus: inattention decreases while the ability to concentrate increases
  • Reduced auditory sensitivities: Fewer sound-based reactions
  • Emotional capacity increased: Emotional and social regulation easier to achieve

Time Investment

  • 1 intro session (45 minutes)
  • 1 intake session (60 minutes)
  • 5 listening sessions (30-60 minutes)
  • 1 integration session (45 minutes)

How is the SSP Delivered?

SSP delivery involves the following steps:

  1. Establish safety: AWE creates a space for connection and sharing.
  2. Assessment: A series of personal questions about each individuals sensations and perceptions. A listening schedule is developed based on the responses in the assessment.
  3. Schedule listening sessions: A typical listening schedule will involve 5 consecutive days of 45-minute coaching sessions.
  4. Download the app: Available for Android and Apple phones
  5. Access the playlist: AWE will provide you with access to a playlist. An invitation will be sent to you from MyUnyte.
  6. Attend the listening sessions: Each session begins with a check-in, followed by listening, then a follow-up conversation to close.
  7. Integration: During this period, the nervous system undergoes reorganization and adaptation. We're here to support you through this process

Sessions are as unique as every individual, and we take your personal sense of well-being and safety seriously. At the first sign of stress, we recommend a pause in the listening schedule to re-establish safety. That means listening to the playlist may not be complete in 5 days. It might take a month!


Before completing the SSP, I went into full crisis mode each time I heard a siren or alarm. That was problematic because I spend most of my days in an Intensive Care Unit caring for my patients. Halfway through the playlist I started to notice my reactions changing. Alarms didn’t cause me to panic, they caught my attention. I didn’t fly into reactive mode.
Andrea provided a deeply grounded and nurturing approach to the Safe and Sound Protocol. She readily provided scientific evidence to put my medically trained mind at ease, all while offering compassionate emotional support. The SSP was a life changing process.” - Dr M | Portland, Oregon

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