digital nation - life on the virtual frontier

Virtual reality therapy in New York

April 23, 2009 _ 19:59 / Caitlin McNally / comments (1)

caitlin and jerry.jpg
vr screen.jpgWe 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.jpgjohn and jeff.jpgDr. 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.

-- Caitlin


I honestly don’t know what to think. I would like to see more data into the results of this ‘virtual therapy’. I feel I can be sure that it does not work for everyone and I fear what consequences can arise for the individuals that become even more traumatized by their therapists. In saying this I understand that one would need to be highly trained to conduct this therapy and hopefully can read whether or not this therapy would work for their patient. Dr. Prout has produced some interesting works into prolonged trauma with the assistance of animals for PTSD suffers. He actually has many insightful works into PSTD treatment that are great for the study of PSTD therapy. His full reference of work on PTSD can be found at

Maurice Prout PhD / November 25, 2009 _ 07:54


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posted February 2, 2010

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