Patricia T Spangler


Department of Primary Appointment:
School of Medicine
Research Assistant Professor
Location: Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
Research Interests:
PTSD interventions, nightmares, sleep
Suicide prevention, firearm storage
Office Phone


Ph.D., Counseling Psychology, 2010, University of Maryland, College Park
M.A., Counseling Psychology, 2007, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park
B.A., English Language and Literature (magna cum laude), University of Maryland, College Park


Patricia T. Spangler is a Research Assistant Professor and Research Psychologist at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. She earned a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA and PhD in Counseling Psychology at the University of Maryland College Park. Her postdoctoral fellowship in the Laboratory for the Treatment of Suicide-Related Ideation and Behavior at Uniformed Services University was focused on suicide prevention in military personnel exposed to trauma and on revising the U.S. Air Force Guide for Suicide Risk Assessment, Management, and Treatment. Other postdoctoral work included research on the use of dreams in psychotherapy at the Maryland Psychotherapy Clinic and Research Lab at the University of Maryland. Dr. Spangler's research is focused on investigating interventions for posttraumatic stress disorder and comorbid disorders in military personnel and veterans, with a particular focus on treating nightmares and sleep disturbance. Her current research includes a pilot trial comparing Nightmare Deconstruction and Reprocessing (NDR), an exposure-based psychotherapy with the NightWare wristband, a non-exposure treatment for trauma-related nightmares. This pilot study is investigating NDR's and NightWare's feasibility as treatments and potential molecular, genetic, and physiologic markers as factors in exposure treatment process and outcome.

Career Highlights: Positions, Projects, Deployements, Awards and Additional Publications

Co-PI, Pilot Trial Comparing Exposure and Non-Exposure Treatments for Posttrauma Nightmares and Insomnia: Nightmare Deconstruction and Reprocessing vs. NightWare Wristband, August 2023-Present. Defense Health Agency Research and Engineering Restoral Grant, Total Awarded: $940,000. Two-arm pilot trial of NDR and NightWare for trauma-related nightmares and insomnia, integrating physiologic, genetic, and inflammatory biomarkers in assessing treatment process and outcome.

Principal investigator, Pilot Trial of Nightmare Deconstruction and Reprocessing, a Novel Treatment for PTSD-Related Nightmares and Insomnia , June 2018-Nov 2022, United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) Total Awarded: $1,054,000. Multi-site pilot trial of NDR for trauma-related nightmares and insomnia, integrating physiologic, genetic, and inflammatory biomarkers in assessing treatment process and outcome.

Research Psychologist on Suicide Prevention Project, developing podcast entitled, Let's Talk About Your Guns, which provides information how to communicate about on safe storage of firearms, Feb 2022-Present. Total Awarded: $336,504.

Associate Investigator, RECONsolidation of Traumatic memories to ResOLve Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, June 2019-Present. Funding Level: $566,580. Randomized clinical trial testing whether Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories (RTM) achieves a greater and/or more rapid response than prolonged exposure (PE) in treatment PTSD in military service members.

Associate Investigator, Enhancing Fear Extinction via Angiotensin Type 1 Receptor Inhibition: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Sept 2015-Mar 2020. Funding Level: $1,256,356

Associate Investigator, Riluzole for PTSD: Efficacy of a Glutamatergic Modulator as Augmentation Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, June 2013-Nov 2017. Funding Level: $1,948,488.

Jeremy Safran Poster Award, Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration/ Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (APA Div 29) for Poster entry, Nightmare Deconstruction and Reprocessing: Integrating Collection of Physiologic Stress Indicators via Wearable Technology and Genomic Analyses in Piloting a Psychotherapy for Trauma-Related Nightmares, August 2020.

Fellow, Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials, National Institutes of Health Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, July 2018.

Outstanding Publication of the Year, American Psychological Association, Division 17, Supervision and Training Section, for Series on Training Undergraduate Students to Use Insight Skills, July 2015

Outstanding Graduate Student in Psychology, Milton Dean Havron Social Sciences Award, University of Maryland, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, 2008

Representative Bibliography

Spangler, P. T., & Sim, W. (2023). Working with dreams and nightmares: A review of the research evidence. Psychotherapy (Chicago, Ill.), 10.1037/pst0000484. Advance online publication.

West, J. C., Spangler, P. T., Dempsey, C. L., Straud, C. L., Graham, K., Thiel, F., & Benedek, D. M. (2021). Riluzole augmentation in PTSD: Differential treatment effects in a high-hyperarousal subtype. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 41(4):503-506.

Paxton Willing, M. M., Tate, L. L., Spangler, P. T., Benedek, D. M., Riggs, D. S. (2021). Anxiety and depression mediate the relationship of medication-resistant PTSD to quality of life in service members. Military Behavioral Health,

Stein, M. B., Jain, S., Simon, N. M., West, J. C., Marvar, P. J., Bui, E., He, F., Benedek, D. M.,Cassano, P., Griffith, J. L., Howlett, J., Malgaroli, M., Melaragno, A., Seligowski, A. V., Shu, I-W., Song, S., Szuhany, K., Taylor, C. T., Ressler, K. J., Beg, N., Sun, X., Shaikh, F., Spangler, P.T., Dempsey, C. L., Eakley, R., Kaufmann, M. L., Murphy, B. L., Merker, J. (2021). Randomized placebo-controlled trial of the angiotensin receptor antagonist losartan for posttraumatic stress disorder. Biological Ps

Spangler, P. T., West, J. C., Dempsey, C. L., Possemato, K., Bartolanzo, D., Aliaga, P., Vythilingam, M., Zarate, C., & Benedek, D. M. (2020). Randomized controlled trial of riluzole augmentation for posttraumatic stress disorder: Efficacy of a glutamatergic modulator for antidepressant-resistant symptoms. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 81(6):20m13233.

Smith, N. B., Sippel, L. M., Rozek, D. C., Spangler, P. T., Traber, D., & Harpaz-Rotem, I. (2020). Courses of suicidal ideation among military veterans in residential treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. Depression and Anxiety, 37, 273-284.

Spangler, P. T. (2021). Reflections on the plague year: Conducting psychotherapy research during the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychotherapy Bulletin, 56(2), 18-22.

Spangler, P. T., & West, J. C. (2018). Nightmare Deconstruction and Reprocessing for PTSD nightmares. In E. Vermetten, A. Germain, & T. Neylan (Eds.), Sleep and combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder. (pp. 311-316). New York: Springer.

Spangler, P.T., Thompson, B. T., Vivino, B. L., Wolf, J. A. (2017). Navigating the minefield of politics in the therapy session. Psychotherapy Bulletin, 52(4), 20-25.

Spangler, P., Liu, J., & Hill, C. E. (2012). CQR for Simple Qualitative Data: An introduction to CQR-M. In C. E. Hill (Ed.), Consensual qualitative research. (pp. 269-283). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.