Dr. Joanna R. Benavidez, Ph.D.

Preferred Name: Joanna

EMDR Certified Therapist

Online Therapy

About Me

Dr. Joanna R. Benavidez, a distinguished clinical psychologist, graces the field with her expertise and compassionate care. Hailing from a diverse professional background, she embarked on a remarkable journey that led her to the realm of mental health. Initially commencing a career as an Aerospace Medical Service Journeyman and licensed Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in the United States Air Force, Dr. Benavidez developed a profound passion for the intricacies of the human mind upon retiring from the military. To further cultivate her understanding and skills, Dr. Benavidez pursued and successfully attained a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the esteemed California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. In her commitment to advancing her knowledge, she completed her Internship and Postdoctoral fellowship at the renowned Scripps Clinic Medical Group, Division of Mental Health, situated in the picturesque city of San Diego, California. Her professional experience encompasses a broad spectrum of clinical settings, including inpatient psychiatric hospitals, the burn unit at UCSD, residential facilities (like Veterans Village of San Diego), and outpatient care within the esteemed Scripps Division of Mental Health. In her practice, Dr. Benavidez specializes in providing support to individuals of all ages grappling with chronic illness-related/health-related concerns, Acute Stress Disorder, and acute or complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She also extends her scope of practice to adults and adolescents combating depressive or anxiety disorders. Furthermore, she champions inclusivity and welcomes patients from diverse backgrounds, harboring an unwavering belief that one's race, ethnicity, gender, marital status, sexuality, socioeconomic standing, disability status, or religious beliefs should never impede the delivery of exceptional care. With a particular focus on cross-cultural issues and acculturation, Dr. Benavidez possesses a remarkable proficiency in working with Latino/a/x patients, an expertise that was cultivated through her extensive research on psychometric considerations within this population. She is also proficient in practicing multicultural psychology, paying special attention to how one's culture affects their mental health. Employing a comprehensive repertoire of evidence-based psychotherapeutic approaches, Dr. Benavidez tailors her treatments to suit the unique needs of each individual. Her therapeutic toolkit encompasses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Supportive-Expressive Therapy (SET), Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Logotherapy, and Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT). Through psychological assessment and treatment, she empowers her patients to navigate their psychological journeys with grit, grace, and self-dicovery. In addition to her clinical prowess, Dr. Benavidez possesses specialized training in conducting presurgical psychiatric evaluations, ranging from Bariatric surgery evaluations to Spinal Cord Stimulator evaluations and organ transplant surgery evaluations. Her expertise in this domain has led her to establish a partnership with Scripps Hospital in the vibrant San Diego region. Operating a thriving private group practice, nestled in the enchanting locale of Mission Valley West in San Diego, California, Dr. Benavidez extends her reach even further through the provision of telehealth services. This technological advancement enables her to offer psychological support to individuals throughout the entirety of California, fostering healing and growth within the comfort of one's own home.

Education & Experience

A.A. Social Science; B.S. Clinical/ Abnormal Social Psychology; M.A. Clinical Psychology; Ph.D. Clinical Psychology Trained at a medical group (internship and postdoc completed at Scripps Medical Group)

Professional & Volunteer Affiliations

TeenCentral, Scripps Mercy Hospital, Scripps Green Hospital, Pegasus Rising Ranch, San Diego Pride

Specialty Area

  • Abuse/Neglect
  • Anxiety/Panic Attacks
  • Chronic Illness/Medical Issues
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression
  • Domestic Violence
  • Eating Disorders
  • Family Issues
  • Grief/Loss/Mourning
  • Marriage/Relationship Issues
  • Mood Disorders
  • Moral Injury
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
  • Performance Enhancement
  • Phobias
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Psychotic Disorders
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Somatic Issues
  • Stress Management
  • Survivor's Guilt
  • Traumatic Incident

Population Served

  • Adolescents (13-17)
  • Adults
  • Children (4-12)
  • Expats
  • First Responders
  • Immigrants
  • LGBTQ+
  • Seniors
  • Underserved
  • Veterans/Military


  • English


  • Aetna
  • Medicare
  • UnitedHealth