Patricia Watson, PhD

Psychologist, National Center for PTSD

Dr. Patricia Watson, Ph.D. has been a psychologist and senior educational specialist for the National Center for PTSD since 1998. Prior to joining the National Center for PTSD in 1998, Dr. Watson was an active duty Navy psychologist for eight years, working with adults for four years, and children and families for four years. Her education includes a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Catholic University, and a postgraduate fellowship in pediatric psychology at Harvard Medical School. In the course of her work at NCPTSD, Dr. Watson has:

• Collaborated with federal working groups to create publications for public and mental health interventions following terrorism, disaster, and pandemic flu. In collaboration with authors from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and National Center for PTSD, she has co-authored the Psychological First Aid (PFA) Field Guide and the Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) Manual, designed to intervene in the immediate and intermediate phases after disasters and terrorism. She participated on a recent multi-national collaboration to create SOLAR, a disaster recovery intervention, as well as a methodology to trial its effectiveness.

• Co-edited three books on disaster behavioral health interventions, and numerous articles, guidance documents, courses, and chapters on disaster mental health, combat and operational stress, military culture, early intervention, and resilience.

• Collaborated with authors from the Department of Defense and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, to co-author a peer support model called the Combat Operational Stress First Aid (COSFA). She then went on to spearhead versions of Stress First Aid for Firefighters and Emergency Services Personnel and Curbside Manner (a public facing version of Stress First Aid), as well as creating versions of Stress First Aid for law enforcement professionals, forest firefighters, nurses, probation officers, and rail workers.

• Served as project manager and co-author of toolkits and courses related to burnout and secondary traumatic stress, provider resilience, disaster mental health, police, chaplains, assessment of PTSD, military culture, anger management, and sleep management courses.

Dr. Watson is co-chair of the Early Intervention special interest group of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. She served as assistant director of terrorism and disaster programs for the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress from 2007 to 2010, and as an assistant professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School from 1999 to 2010.

Selected Publications
Watson, P. (2019). PTSD as a Public Mental Health Priority. Current psychiatry reports, 21(7), 61.
Watson, P.J. & Hamblen, J. (2017). Natural Disasters/Community Trauma. In Cook, J., Gold, S., & Dalenberg, C. (Eds.), APA Handbook of Trauma Psychology, American Psychological Association.
Watson, P. J. Acute interventions for traumatic stress. (2017). In R. J. Ursano, C. Fullerton, L. Weisaeth, & B. Raphael (Eds.), Textbook of disaster psychiatry, 2nd Ed. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Watson, P., Lightley, K., Gist, R., Taylor, V. Evlander, E., Leto, F., Martin, R., Vaught, D., Nash, W.P., Westphal, R., & Litz, B. (2017). Stress First Aid for Wildland Firefighters and Emergency Services Personnel. Department of Forestry.
Watson, P. J. (2015). How Different is Psychological First Aid from Other Psychotherapeutic Modalities? Vicarious Trauma and Disaster Mental Health: Understanding Risks and Promoting Resilience, Vicarious Trauma and Disaster Mental Health. Quitangon, G. and Evces, M.R. (eds.). Taylor Frances / Routlege.
Watson, PJ., Gibson, L, & Ruzek, J.I. (2014). Public Mental Health Interventions Following Disasters and Mass Violence. In Friedman, M.F., Resick, P. & Keane, T. PTSD: Science and Practice-A Comprehensive Handbook, 2nd Edition. Guilford Press.
Watson, P., & Neria, Y. (2013). Understanding and fostering resilience in persons exposed to trauma. Psychiatric Times, 30(5), 20-20.
Watson, P., Gist, R., Taylor, V. Evlander, E., Leto, F., Martin, R., Vaught, D., Nash, W.P., Westphal, R., & Litz, B. (2013). Stress First Aid for Firefighters and Emergency Services Personnel. National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Watson, P., Litz, B. T., & Southwick, S. (2012). Preparation for Deployment: Improving Resilience, Ritchie EC, ed. Combat and Operational Behavioral Health. In: Lenhart MK, ed. Textbooks of Military Medicine, Washington, DC: Department of the Army, Office of The Surgeon General, Borden Institute.
Watson, P.J., Brymer, M. and Bonanno, G. (2011). Post-Disaster Psychological Intervention Since 9/11. American Psychologist Special Issue: The 10th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks.