Pilot Outcomes of a Filmmaking Intervention Designed to Enhance Treatment Entry and Social Reintegration of Veterans

Charles E. Drebing, Daria Mamon, Rachelle M. Calixte, Rivka Tuval-Mashiach, Benjamin Patton, Arielle A.J. Scoglio, Caitlin Girouard, Seiya Fukuda, Wenwu Gao, Walter E. Penk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Military personnel transitioning to civilian life have reported significant challenges in reintegrating into civilian culture. Filmmaking has been used as a therapeutic intervention to enhance the community reintegration of veterans, but there are no published quantitative data documenting its impact. The present study provides outcome data on 40 veterans who participated in the I Was There (IWT) filmmaking workshop. This 3-day (20-hr) group intervention involved veterans working in small teams with a film coach, making short films designed to communicate some aspect of their experience during or after military service, and then creating a screening event to show their films to community members. The sample consisted of community-dwelling veterans who reported at least some mental health symptoms and who were not engaged in mental health treatment for those symptoms. Targeted outcomes included engagement in mental health care, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, and reported perception of community interest in their experience as veterans. Fifty-six percent of participants entered treatment within 4 months of participation. Significant decreases were noted in symptoms of PTSD at 1-month follow-up but not at the 4-month follow-up, while changes in depression were not statistically significant. Participation was related to increased perception of community interest in veterans’ experience, and increased interest among community members who viewed the films. These data provide initial support for the conclusion that the IWT film workshop is a potentially effective tool for treatment engagement and for community reintegration among veterans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-595
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Services
Issue number3
Early online date21 Feb 2022
StatePublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes

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© 2022. Psychological Services.All Rights Reserved


  • Community integration
  • Engagement
  • Film
  • Social integration
  • Veterans


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