We had a great shoot at the Manhattan VA last week. We filmed a virtual reality therapy session with Sgt. Jerry Della Salla and Dr. Michael Kramer at the VA's PTSD clinic. Jerry and Michael let our cameras follow an entire session, in which they used VR equipment -- head-mounted video goggles, sound stimuli and a remote control attached to a replica of an M-4 rifle -- to revisit some traumatic situations Jerry experienced in Iraq. Jerry spent a year there as part of the Army Reserves, and his tour included a post as an MP at Abu Ghraib prison after the scandal surrounding photographs of detainees broke.
Dr. Kramer is one of the only practicing clinicians in New York City using virtual reality therapy to treat PTSD, and he talked us through the benefits of a technology-enhanced therapy session as opposed to more traditional methods. He also described the immense gratification he feels in helping a veteran overcome the worst fears imaginable.
The footage will be up next week as part of our new unit exploring technology's role in war and the lives of military members. We'll also feature Dr. Kramer's interview and Jerry's account of his time in Iraq and his experience with PTSD treatment through virtual reality. Check back in: it will be a whole new site.