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One way is to use a Pattern Fill Layer.
Put a Pattern Fill Layer above your text by going to Layer>New Fill Layer>Pattern and check Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask and click OK.
A clipping mask permits only the text to be filled with a pattern instead of the whole document
In the next dialog you can choose the Pattern.
To change the pattern later, double click on the Pattern Fill Layer icon in the Layers Panel.
At first I tried it and it didn't give the expected result. Upon closer examination, the layer had a Layer Style applied.
I take it that Layer > New Fill Layer > Pattern does not work when you have a Layer Style applied.
Once I removed the Layer Style it worked as expected
It should work with most layer styles, but maybe that particular one had a blending mode that hid the pattern.
Was the layer style one that ships with photoshop elements?
If so, do you recall which one it was?