Many children struggle with “stress behaviors,” because their social engagement system is frequently offline. This can be an adaptive response to family stress. It is common for there to be chronic stress in many families. Often the parents’ social engagement system also adapts to family stress by shutting down. Parents may feel more vigilant and in a task mode, where they feel a lot of pressure. This state allows the parent to respond to the demands of work and to juggle all the pragmatic needs of the family, but also makes them less available to convey a sense of presence and attunement with their child. So, it helps if the parent first has support bringing their own social engagement system online with a supportive therapist, so they are prepared to meet the child’s emerging relational needs that may begin to express due to the treatment. It also gives the parent a direct experience of what the protocol feels like both physiologically and emotionally. This helps the parent both understand and trust the process with their child.
Therapeutically Guided Safe Sound Machine Treatment – ADULT/PARENT
Interview and Assessment, 60 minutes
I will will provide to you an assessment that will help us identify historical and current issues that may be interfering with your ability to access a sense of well being. This assessment helps identify current autonomic nervous system (ANS) health and body awareness, and also takes into consideration the impact of any early childhood adversity or early patterns of relational disruption that may be continuing to impact your current functioning. We will gain a general sense of your current relational health from a nervous system perspective. The first interview will allow you to share your needs and help me understand ways in which you are hoping gain more support.
Safe Sound Machine Treatment, 5 – 90 minutes sessions
We will schedule five consecutive days where we will meet for 90 minutes. During these sessions, I will be with you holding a nonjudgmental, receptive space to allow you to safely explore your physiological responses to the altered music. This will help you to experience relational safety, so that you can explore your responses, both physical and emotional. This process provides for memory reconsolidation. What this means is that when your social engagement system is stimulated, you may feel happy and excited or relaxed and you may want to seek out connection with me. You also may have fluctuating responses in your body that tell your social engagement system to shut down. Your body may be uncomfortable, because there may be historical adaptive reasons why your nervous system would need to be in a state of defense. In allowing for any response and being present with whatever emerges, we give your system cues of safety. Our ability to hold a receptive and non-judging presence for you and for whatever reaction your body expresses, allows us to incorporate a new memory of safety into the implicit body memory of threat.
Follow Up Session – 60 minutes
Many people have an immediate response to the treatment, however the effects also build over time especially during the first 4-6 weeks. I will provide to you guidance on the how to attune to your body and recognize ways in which your nervous system is adapting to the treatment and ways to support those shifts. This session is intended to allow you to ask more questions about what you are experiencing, and gain support around what kinds of therapies, activities, or others ways that you can continue to nourish your system. The Safe & Sound Protocol treatment is a neuro-platform that opens you to be more receptive to other things you are already doing to support your relational health. Those things could include psychotherapy, body therapies, singing or engaging in music especially with others, and other ways in which you nurture your need to connect to others while feeling good in your body. The follow up session can be scheduled any time between the first and sixth week of treatment, based upon your needs.
Possible Positive Outcomes
- More spontaneous
- Better sleep
- Greater focus
- More likely to reach out for physical touch and comfort
- Ability to relax and just be
- Greater tolerance for conversations with others
- Greater tolerance for emotional vulnerability
- Increased desire for intimacy
- Better able to recognize state changes in the body and respond in helpful ways
TREATMENT COST (9.5 hour treatment) – $1,900
Therapeutically Guided Safe Sound Treatment – CHILD
Interview and Assessment, 90 minutes
I will will provide to you a brief assessment that will help us identify historical and current issues that may be interfering with your child’s ability to feel good in her body and manage emotions. This assessment will help us identify her current autonomic nervous system (ANS) health and body awareness. This assessment will take into consideration the impact of any early adversity or patterns of relational disruption that may be continuing to impact her functioning. The first interview will allow you to share what you believe your child needs and ways in which you hope to relieve her suffering. We will use this time to understand the key behavioral and emotional ways your child is struggling. This interview will help us devise the best way to administer the protocol based upon your family’s unique needs.
Safe Sound Machine Treatment, 5 – 60 minutes sessions
We will schedule five consecutive days where we will meet for 60 minutes. During these sessions, I will work to provide a pleasurable and relaxed environment for your child to listen to the safe sound machine. This gives me an opportunity to assess your child and cultivate a sensitivity for their needs and relational style. This session is intended to be pleasurable and relaxing for you and your child. This will also give you confidence to take the machine home and use it in the evening before bed. This is my general way of administering the protocol with children, because they can become dysregulated later in the day, and doing the protocol before bed often supports rest.
We will have time during each session for you to share with me how your child responded to the treatment the day before and ways to adjust our schedule and technique to make the protocol the most comfortable for your child.
As with the adult treatment, this process provides for memory reconsolidation. This means when the child’s social engagement system is stimulated, she may feel happy and excited or relaxed and will likely express nonverbal and verbal bids for connection. It will be my role to recognize and respond to these bids and to help you prepare to do the same at home. This can be a very pleasant experience.
Your child may also have fluctuating responses in her body that tell her social engagement system to shut down. The earphones may feel uncomfortable, or she may become instantly bored, or she may have the urge to move. I will support these responses and help you understand how to respond to them at home.
I will show you how to accept and allow any of her responses, which will give her system cues of safety and allow the treatment to be much more successful and allow for more optimal neural learning.
Follow Up Session – 60 minutes
As with adults, the benefits for the child can build over time especially during the first 4-6 weeks. This is more likely to be true if the relational and sensory conditions in the environment of the child support the child’s nervous system. The most important key for success is the availability of calm and receptive adults who are ready to receive the child’s relational cues and provide emotional and nervous system safety. This is a tall order for many families, which is why I advise that at least one parent participate in the therapeutically guided safe sound treatment prior to the child. This gives the parent a direct experience of the protocol and also nurtures the availability of the parent’s social engagement system.
Many children have an immediate positive response to the treatment. There is also a period of adjustment and change. Sometimes more positive behaviors do not emerge immediately and there can even be a temporary increase in the problematic behaviors and emotional distress while the child’s nervous system adapts to the changes. Each child is different, and some children require shorter doses of the sound treatment over a longer period of time, for example 10 days rather than 5.
What kinds of changes might we see in our child?
- More eye contact
- Increased singing and laughter
- Better sleep
- Greater awareness of hunger and satiety
- Greater attention
- More likely to seek physical touch and comfort
- Greater emotional regulation
- Less dependence on proprioception for self regulation (jumping on furniture, shoving into others, banging body against things, flopping around without body awareness)
- More likely to express feelings
- Better able to engage in play with others
- Greater emotional tolerance
- Less audio sensitivity
TREATMENT COST – $1,900
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