top of page

Joanna Savarese, PhD

Executive Director/ Owner

Neuropsychologist & Licensed Clinical Psychologist ~ PSY24973

Joanna Savarese, Ph.D. is the Founder and Clinical Director of San Diego BrainWorks. Dr. Savarese is a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist who has specific focus in neuropsychological, psychoeducational, and psychological assessment. Her expertise is in the evaluation of Learning Disorders, ADHD, and differential diagnosis using psychological testing. She has worked extensively with children and adults providing both neuropsychological assessments and psychotherapeutic treatment. She has worked with various clinical populations including ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Reading/Writing Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Dementia. Dr. Savarese is passionate about individuals receiving the proper diagnosis of learning disorders, such as dyslexia, and appropriate and effective treatment recommendations.

Dr. Savarese has more than 15 years of graduate and post-graduate experience in the field of psychology, neuropsychology, and assessment. Dr. Savarese has also been teaching at the college level for more than a decade and lectures in the community on topics such as: Understanding Neuropsychological Evaluations, Learning and the Brain, and Building a Positive Relationship with your Child. She has appeared on ESPN radio, NBC News San Diego, and has written articles for Parenting Magazine. She also wrote several features for the textbook The Neuroscience of Learning: Principles and Applications for Educators (2014). 

work photo for BW.jpg

Jessica Lenihan, PsyD

Pediatric Neuropsychologist 

Training Director


Dr. Lenihan is a licensed pediatric neuropsychologist whose expertise is the assessment of a wide variety of disorders, including traumatic and nonaccidental brain injury, concussion, seizure disorders, autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, learning differences, pediatric stroke, spina bifida and genetic disorders. She utilizes neuropsychological assessment in diverse contest in order to diagnose, plan intervention, conduct screenings and monitor progress with pediatric populations.


Dr. Lenihan provides a comprehensive assessment approach and tailored recommendations to assist with academic support, tutoring, psychotherapeutic treatment, and parental resources. She specializes in neuropsychological evaluations, Independent Educational Evaluations, psychoeducational evaluations, pre and post-surgical evaluations, and concussion management.


Dr. Lenihan received her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from an APA-accredited Clinical Psychology program at Loma Linda University with an emphasis in Child Clinical Psychology in Loma Linda, California.  She completed her one-year internship in Pediatric Neuropsychology and Pediatric Psychology at Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. She completed her two-year APPCN approved pediatric neuropsychology fellowship at Advanced Neurobehavioral Health of Southern California in San Diego, CA.

ricky pic.jpg

Ricky Metcalfe, PsyD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist 


Dr. Metcalfe has worked in a number of clinical settings, including outpatient, residential treatment, integrated medicine, and behavioral medicine/inpatient psychiatric hospitals. His primary focus has been with youth and their families, providing both psychotherapy and comprehensive psychological evaluations. He has specific training and experience working with children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD, Autism, Learning Disorders, psychological disorders (depression, anxiety, OCD), and personality disorders. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from San Diego State University, followed by his Master’s and Doctoral Degrees in psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego. While completing his doctorate, Dr. Metcalfe enjoyed concurrent roles as an assessment specialist, group therapist, and individual therapist with children and adults at Loma Linda University’s Behavioral Medicine Center and through the Riverside University Healthcare System. As an adjunct to his graduate school work, Dr. Metcalfe also conducted psychological assessments with adults under the tutelage of some esteemed psychologists in San Diego.  


His broad clinical training allows for a multi-faceted approach that emphasizes holism (i.e., mind-body-spirit). Through his work with clients from diverse backgrounds and varying demographics, Dr. Metcalfe has acquired valuable knowledge for understanding how others’ unique life experiences shape their values, worldview, and decision-making. He approaches his work with respect and care, and strives to offer excellence in exchange for the trust those he serves afford him. He has been working at San Diego BrainWorks for over two years.


Brenda Franz, PsyD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist 


Dr. Franz has a dual master’s degree in forensic psychology and clinical psychology. She earned her doctorate degree at Alliant International University: California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego. She also holds a dual bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and psychology from California State University, San Marcos.


Dr. Franz worked in the mental health field for several years prior to obtaining her doctorate degree. She has experience with the older adult population, adults, adolescents, children, and military in an acute psychiatric inpatient and outpatient hospital setting that specialized in substance abuse, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety. During her training years, Dr. Franz worked closely with high school students in residential treatment, as well as high school students in a specialized trade program. She assisted in IEP’s, 504 plans and conducted individual therapy utilizing CBT and psychodynamic therapy with students on the autism spectrum, as well as students with various learning disorders, depression and anxiety. Dr. Franz’s training also includes working at a long-term women’s substance abuse facility conducting group and individual therapy with clients, as well as with their children as the parent and child therapist. Here, she utilized CBT, DBT, psychodynamic therapy, trauma therapy, and seeking safety. She also created parent/child curriculum to assist the clients in positive parenting, as well as lead Incredible Years classes. She completed her internship conducting Neuropsychological assessments at the Orange Health Care Agency performing a multitude of assessments focusing on traumatic brain injury, dementia, ADHD, personality, and acute mental health disorders. Dr. Franz is committed to providing thorough and comprehensive evaluations for each client.


Golzar Kouklan, PsyD

Licensed Clinical Neuropsychologist


Dr. Golzar Kouklan is a clinical psychologist with 10 years of experience in the field. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Loyola University and went on to earn her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Midwestern University.

Throughout her career, Dr. Kouklan has worked in a variety of settings, including hospitals, federally qualified health centers, and private practice. Dr. Kouklan’s clinical work also includes conducting a variety of neuropsychological assessments encompassing neurocognitive decline, competency, ADHD, psychodiagnostic, and psychoeducational evaluations.

She has a particular interest in working with individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, and trauma, and has extensive training in cognitive-behavioral therapy, acceptance-commitment therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy.

Outside of work, Dr. Kouklan enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, bike riding and traveling to different countries. She is deeply committed to helping her patients lead happier, healthier lives and is grateful for the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Bio Photo.jpeg

Dr. Marissa Gran PsyD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist 


Dr. Marissa Gran is a licensed psychologist with over 15 years of experience providing early intervention services to children and their families. Dr. Gran specializes in the treatment of childhood behavioral problems such as, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, that are characterized by significant impairments in social, emotional, and educational functioning. Dr. Gran also specializes in treating children who have experienced trauma, children with attachment difficulties, children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and children diagnosed with learning differences.

Dr. Gran’s clinical experiences cover a wide range from working with adults in San Diego County Mental Health Center diagnosed with severe mental illnesses to adults struggling with substance abuse at an in-patient treatment program. Dr. Gran has spent most of her clinical career at a non-profit organization providing therapeutic services to low-income families in San Diego County. Dr. Gran is a certified provider for Evidence-based treatment models such as Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Additional therapy models Dr. Gran is also trained in include Trauma-Focused Integrated Play Therapy, Jungian Sand Tray Therapy, Non-Directive and Child-Centered Play Therapy, Attachment-Based Play Therapy and Filial Play Therapy. Dr. Gran’s training began at Florida International University in Miami, Fl. where she received a B.A. in Psychology. Following a move to San Diego, Dr. Gran received her M.A. in Counseling at National University followed by a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.

bottom of page