• Dr. Ferguson is currently full for new therapy clients.

    Assessment openings available in January 2022.

    •• Serving all of California via Zoom••

    •• In-person sessions suspended due to Delta variant surge••


    Neurodiversity Affirming*

    Assessment, Diagnosis, Therapy, Advocacy

    Spark Psychological Services

    Laurie Ferguson, Psy.D.

    Licensed Clinical Psychologist

    Laurie Ferguson, Psychologist, Inc.


  • Philosophy

    My grandfather was a machinist and tinkerer, and his garage was filled with things that needed fixing -

    toasters, car engine parts, radios. I was fascinated by his skill in turning sheets of metal in to things that were

    useful and beautiful. He made things run smoother, and he saved things that others thought were beyond repair.


    I approach psychological services in much the same way, with the idea that school, work, home life, and relationships can be more fulfilling and coaxed in to running more smoothly through hard work, dedication, skill, support, and creativity. Nobody, and no situation, is "beyond repair." Neurodivergent people do not need "fixing," and services are provided from a neurodiversity-affirming perspective.

    If you are ready to get on the right path, then let's get to work.

    Support and Strategies,

    Not Judgment

    It takes a lot of courage to make the call to a psychologist. I consider it a privilege to become part of your or your loved one's treatment. My style is interactive, directive when it needs to be, and non-judgmental. Only you can truly understand what it is like to walk in your shoes. When counseling or assessing children and teens, parents and caregivers are crucial to treatment. While respecting confidentiality laws and a child's or teen's privacy, I make parents an integral part of the process whenever possible.


    photo description: red and green vintage radios.

    You Are The Driver

    My grandmother drove an old white station wagon with fins and bright red "pleather" seats. She absolutely loved to drive, and I remember the feeling when I took the wheel of my first car, one that my grandfather fixed up - a junkyard Ford Pinto that he spray painted bright yellow to cover the Bondo filling the dents. Pure bliss.


    You are the driver in your therapy or assessment. You and I work together as a team - on your goals, not mine - and I am up front about

    what I believe is needed for you to meet your goals. I coordinate with your physician, school,

    and others as needed. If I think that another professional is needed, then I get you connected with that provider.


    photo description: steering wheel from vintage Crysler car.

    A Whole Person, 

    Not "Just A Diagnosis"

    I still have the Polaroid camera I bought as a teenager - one of those cameras that spits out a picture and it develops in front of your eyes. Magic. A moment caught in time.


    Likewise, a diagnosis does not capture all of you. You or your loved one is more than a "label" in a medical chart. What a diagnosis may do is open doors to school supports, agency services, or insurance coverage. A diagnosis can be affirming and validating as you seek to understand your own way of processing information and social relationships.


    When we conduct assessments or work in therapy, we are looking at a moment in time. A snapshot. I am a firm believer in the idea that the past does not have to dictate our future.


    photo description: Polaroid LM 630 camera.

  • Services

    Assessment, Diagnosis, Therapy, Advocacy

    Assessment & Diagnosis

    Help your loved one reach their potential.

    Dr. Ferguson specializes in assessment and diagnosis of autism, ADHD/ADD, anxiety, OCD, depression, mood concerns, behavioral issues, chronic pain, and related concerns for children, teens, and adults. Some kids are bright but still have trouble in school. Adults can have trouble in relationships, work, or sometimes in living independently. Maybe you have always thought that something is different for you or your family member, or maybe this is a new concern. Let's figure it out and get on the right track. Dr. Ferguson is a privately-contracted assessor for Tri-Counties Regional Center, school districts, attorneys, and families. Evaluations can be completed for Social Security services, supports in school or college, or for your other providers who need more information to better serve you. Click on the Assessment tab above to learn more.

    photo description: boy in a hat looking up at airplane contrail against a blue sky with Morro Bay, CA in the background

    Therapy for children, teens & adults

    What are your goals?

    Research-based interventions are the foundation of Dr. Ferguson's work, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Play therapy and art therapy are also important ways that children learn to talk about emotions, coping, and getting better. For teens, they are often more able to talk about what is happening, although art continues to be an excellent avenue for exploring identity, relationships, goals, and stress resilience. Anxiety, OCD, mood difficulties, and living well with ADHD/ADD are common reasons that individuals of all ages come to see Dr. Ferguson. Adults may also come in to learn about autism in themselves or a loved one. Life can throw us curve balls at any age, so let's get you living the life you envision. Photo credit: Xavier Bailey Photography. Photo is of a wooden sailboat on the ocean with the sun shining behind the sail.


    Ever feel like you are going around and around, getting nowhere?

    "Systems" can be confusing - schools, courts, regional center, social security, insurance, agencies - What do they do? How do you qualify? Where do I start? Many families are not aware of the possible services they may be eligible for. Often, parents believe that the school will identify any learning issue early on, and offer support. Every organization is limited by the things that limit us all -- time, staff, and money. Families need to become their own advocate, and Dr. Ferguson can support you, providing guidance, realistic advice, and assessment or therapy services as needed.

    Photo description: Tilt-a-whirl ride at the California Midstate Fair, shot from below with people swinging out against a blue sky.

  • Diversity is celebrated

    People of all backgrounds are welcome in my office, including all racial, ethnic, religious, political, gender identity and gender expression, sexual orientation, neurodiversity*, and socioeconomic backgrounds. To be effective, counseling must be a safe, accepting, and validating space.


    Photo description: Individuals protesting holding a sign saying "No man is free until all men are free."

    *What is Neurodiversity?

    Neurodiversity encompasses the many ways we as human beings think, act, and relate that can be neurotypical (what society tells us is average, "normal," or typical) or neurodivergent (different or atypical from that "average," which is often defined by neurotypical ideals). Neurodivergence describes neurologically-based differences that include autism, ADD/ADHD, anxiety and all it's variations (such as OCD, panic, social anxiety, etc.), learning differences or learning disabilities, certain personality features, bipolar mood disorder, sensory processing differences, epilepsy, and more. People who are neurodivergent are much more likely to identify within the LGBTQIA+ community than individuals who are neurotypical. The neurodiversity community values social justice, inclusion, and support so that neurodivergent individuals can live full lives free from discrimination.

    Your counseling experience

    Neurodivergent individuals are often stigmatized and may be reluctant to seek help, diagnosis, or support. Recent events have highlighted a reality that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and LGBTQIA+ folx have experienced for generations. These inequalities are not new. The intersectionality of multiple facets of marginalized identities compound adversity and discrimination. It is my job to understand and support you in your counseling experience so that you can reach your goals. While I will ask you about your unique background and experiences, I do not expect you to be my educator where systemic discrimination is concerned - it is my job to stay educated.


    Counseling is not just discussions in the therapy office, and then we each go back to our respective lives until the next session. Counselors are in a position of privilege and can be effective allies and advocates, working to change the systems that perpetuate inequality. Rebuilding our institutions to be more inclusive, helpful, efficient, and affordable for everyone has fallen disproportionately to groups with the fewest resources to make those changes. It is time for those with access and privilege

    to do their part as well. I was on the Board of Directors of the Central Coast Autism Spectrum Center for 9 years, and was the Ethics Chair for the Central Coast Psychological Association. I also founded Parents And Allies For Positive Change, which advocates for students, teachers, and school staff. An integral part of my work is advocating for clients in school or college, with the Regional Center and Social Security, and in their work place.

  • Autism

    What is Autism? What about Asperger's?

    Is Autism Spectrum Disorder a "disorder" at all?

    Can Dr. Ferguson assess adults?

    Do we say "person with autism" or "autistic"?

    How do I get an assessment?

    Click right for answers.


    Photo description: Purple wood hyacinth blooming with green foliage behind it.

    So what exactly is Autism?

    And what about Asperger's?

    Autism is unique for each individual, and is a developmental neurological difference that occurs on a spectrum, or continuum. Asperger's is part of that spectrum. Both Autism and Asperger's are now considered under the "umbrella" of Autism (called Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD in medical terminology - click right for more information on the term "disorder" and why it is problematic). You might see common characteristics of Autistic people and those who have ADD/ADHD, sensory processing differences, or learning differences. Being autistic does not necessarily impair functioning for everyone and can bring strengths and skills. Support, understanding, and acceptance are key. There are supports that can effectively improve communication, learning, independent living skills, and social relationships - while preserving and celebrating who you are. What are your goals? It's never too late to get support for yourself or a loved one. Click right for more information.

    Is Autism a disorder at all?

    Do autistic people have a "disorder," or is it a failure of our society to support the diversity of human experience? Is the disorder actually in society itself? Are some current interventions and therapies actually harmful to autistic people? Many people in the autistic community feel that the way autism is currently assessed and "treated" results in further marginalizing an already vulnerable population. When you come to Dr. Ferguson for a diagnostic assessment, you are seen as a whole person, not just a collection of "symptoms" and "behaviors." If you are seeking services (such as through school, the Regional Center, Social Security, etc.), the eligibility criteria for those services is important, but Dr. Ferguson will also ask about your experience as a person - in relationships, school, work, and home. Your strengths and skills are part of what makes you unique, and some in the autistic community feel it is autism that enhances those skills. For more information, click right.

    Can Dr. Ferguson Assess Adults?

    Yes! An adult assessment for Autism includes what we used to call Asperger's (some people refer to this as "high-functioning" autism, although many in the autistic community feel that labels regarding level of functioning are imprecise and ableist, and it obscures both challenges and strengths). Perhaps you are looking for support for issues related to job difficulties, college, relationships, parenting, or independent living. Succeeding in these areas can sometimes be more challenging if you are autistic, while you also have unique strengths. "Masking," or covering up your autistic traits to appear more "neurotypical" (NT) can lead to exhaustion and burnout. Sometimes, it is more important for the environment to change, rather than you. Becoming your own self-advocate is important so that you can feel comfortable voicing your needs. Dr. Ferguson can help coordinate with the services you might already receive, and consult with you or your family regarding community resources if you like. Dr. Ferguson communicates in a straightforward, respectful, logical, solution-focused manner to help you achieve your goals. Individual, couples, and family therapy can be provided as needed.​​ Click right for more.

    Do we say "person with Autism" or "Autistic"?

    Autistic individuals largely prefer "Autistic," as it is part of their identity and it is a big part of who they are. You can't take it off like a jacket. The earlier movement to focus on the person first and the "label" second ("person with autism," or "person on the spectrum") was well-intentioned. It arose as a way to show that people with Autism should have the same rights as anyone else. But now many in the autistic community want to highlight the centrality that Autism plays in their life and identity, preferring "identity first" language ("autistic person"). So why do you see both forms here on this website? Because it is not up to me to tell anyone how to view and talk about their autism. Only the individual gets to do that. For those who prefer "person first" language, many say they consider autism to be a smaller part of who they are, and highlighting the autistic part can obscure other important aspects of their life. Some people change their opinion throughout their life regarding how they prefer to discuss themselves and their identity. Bottom line, it is up to the individual. Just ask! So how do you get an assessment? Click right for information.

    How can I get an assessment?

    Email or phone Dr. Ferguson's office at 805-610-8694 to schedule a brief, complimentary discussion directly with Dr. Ferguson. Please be yourself and let Dr. Ferguson know what works for you and doesn't work for you (is email more comfortable than a phone call? Does anxiety make it hard to come to the office?). The same goes for the assessment too: be yourself. Dr. Ferguson wants to make you as comfortable as possible. She will review your needs, your goals for assessment, and any questions you may have. You are welcome to bring a family member or friend with you to the assessment, and support animals are welcome. Your information is kept confidential, and is only released with your written consent, even if someone else pays or makes the appointment for you.

  • Learning Difficulties

    Students struggling to meet their potential

    Adults struggling in work and life

    What is a learning disability?

    What about learning differences?

    Click right for answers.


    Photo description: Child with dark hair looks over a book held in front of them.

    Students Not Meeting Their Potential

    Homework battles. Frustration, tears, school avoidance. Bright students struggling to maintain their grades. Kids labeled "lazy" or "oppositional." College students at risk of failing. Maybe there is trouble with reading or math. Some students seem to understand fine, but can't get all the work done. Many parents report that one day may go well, then another day can be "as if he never saw the material before - we're starting at square one." Learning issues are confusing and frustrating. Dr. Ferguson has worked with many students with learning difficulties and related issues, and each learner is unique. With a solid assessment, we can figure out your student's learning style, develop strategies, and help your student reach their potential. Click right for more.

    Adults Struggling At Work And Life

    Can't stay organized. Losing things, showing up late to work, missing deadlines. At risk of getting fired. Frustration at home and work. Some adults have a hard time with reading and math, or understanding (and remembering) directions. "You have to write it down for me," or "If I can hear it, then I get it." Learning issues can make getting through life frustrating on a daily basis, and can limit your success. There can be related issues, like difficulties with ADD, ADHD, or "executive functions," which help us stay organized and on task. A solid assessment can determine your particular learning style, and how to address difficulties. Click right for more.

    What is a Learning Disability?

    A Learning Disability is a medical diagnosis, which may mean you are eligible for school- or college-related supports, depending on the severity. There are different kinds of Learning Disabilities, although there is a lot of overlap. If you have dyslexia (a reading disability), that can affect math too, such as word problems. A learning disability in math may mean you also have trouble with telling time, reading maps, and understanding left/right. A Non-Verbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) can mean that you have trouble understanding communication that isn't verbal, such as reading facial expressions, body language, and other social cues. Some individuals who have trouble completing work on time may have difficulties with executive functions (prioritizing, organizing), or with processing speed. Some people feel strongly that their learning style is not a disability, but a difference. Whether we see learning as a difference or a disability, a proper assessment can figure out your unique learning style so that school or work can be more successful and less frustrating.

  • ADD and ADHD

    "Scattered, disorganized"

    "Creative and inventive"

    "Doesn't pay attention - unless he's interested"

    "She needs prompts to get things done"

    Click right for answers.


    Photo description: City scene at night with car headlights and buildings lit up. 

    Smart, but scattered

    One day she finishes things well, and the next day it's like she's never seen the task before. It's because she has "spent" all her energy and needs to replenish. Think of ADD and ADHD like a bank account. It takes time to save up enough capital for the next task. It's not because she can't do the task, it's because she can't always do it when required. People with ADD or ADHD get mislabeled as "lazy" and "oppositional." Most of my clients with ADD or ADHD want to get good grades, do well at work, and not upset their parents, boss, or spouse. Most feel terrible that they are letting people down. If it goes on too long, those negative labels are easier to believe about yourself. So how do we help people before that happens? Click right for more.


    Even things that are very important don't get finished. Cell phones get lost, homework he worked hard on is left on the counter, she was fired - again. Everyone is frustrated. Chances are, the individual desperately wants to do better and they are not trying to purposefully fail. With ADD or ADHD, it makes life harder for everyone. The first step is to accept the limitations that are part of this brain-based neurological difference. Know that productivity, organization and attention will be inconsistent. Regulation (feeling and behaving in a balanced, "even" manner) is very difficult. But improvement is possible. ​Click right for more.

    "Can't" Pay Attention

    People with ADD and ADHD are often extra creative, out-of-the-box thinkers who can focus intensely on their passion (art, science, video games, fixing cars, or...?). Their minds can jump ahead several steps and maybe even think up a great invention, while everyone else is still on problem #1. They are paying attention - just not to what other people think is a priority right now. These can be great qualities in entrepreneurs and inventors, but not so much for the student trying to graduate and the employee who needs to pay the rent. We can nurture creativity while helping people to be successful through supportive interventions, therapy, and sometimes medication through their physician. But how do you know if it's ADD / ADHD or something else? Click right for more.

    You can live with ADD / ADHD

    Some students find that they can show what they know if they have more time on tests, a quieter room for test-taking, help organizing assignments, note taking help in college, priority registration, and maybe tutoring or small-group instruction. At work, chunks of productivity broken up by strategic breaks can help, along with improving planning, organization, memory, and attention skills. Understanding what your unique needs are to keep you optimally alert (not over-energetic, not too relaxed) can improve your studying and work pace. Maybe insomnia, anxiety, depression, stress, or medical issues are exacerbating issues. A solid assessment, treatment plan, and effective strategies for your unique situation can get you on track.

  • Anxiety / Panic / OCD

    "The worst can - and probably will - happen"

    "I feel like I can't breathe"

    "It needs to be just right"

    "Am I anxious - or an introvert?"

    Anxiety, panic and OCD cause immense suffering - and all are very treatable.

    Click right for answers.


    Photo description: Child with long hair carries a child in a striped shirt on their back across a field with sunlight shining behind them.

    Our world slowly shrinks

    Maybe first you avoid crowds, parties, or school / work events. Then social situations - or friends. New situations can evoke panic. Relationships, career, and self-esteem can suffer. Obsessive-compulsive symptoms might be controlling how you do certain things - or seemingly everything. Anxiety, panic, and OCD share the ability to shrink our world and limit our happiness, all while providing an elusive "just right" feeling that becomes more and more difficult to sustain. It seems impossible, but anxiety, panic, and OCD are very treatable. Click right for more.

    Anxious - or Introvert?

    A note on introversion -- it's normal! In fact, some researchers think there are more introverts than extroverts, even though society rewards those who are the life of the party. Introversion is not necessarily problematic and may not need treatment - unless it's causing you stress and holding you back in relationships, work, or school. Sometimes, having a mis-match between your introverted nature and your environment can cause anxiety. Many introverts tell me their ideal environment is a "cabin in the woods," but they need to function in a busy home, school, or office. Through proper assessment, we can figure out what is going to help you to feel most at peace, with or without that cabin. Click right for more.

    I'm ready. Sort of.

    Working on anxiety can be... anxiety-provoking. Change is hard, until it becomes too unbearable to continue in old patterns. I see myself as a guide. It's your journey, and you decide how fast to go and whether to stop and take in the scenery. Together, we will set goals, make a plan, and help you lead a fuller, more peaceful life. Treatments known to work are used, including empirically-validated cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention, and acceptance and commitment therapy. You set the pace.

  • Assessment

    Why Dr. Ferguson?

    What does an assessment involve?

    Are there lots of meeting?

    So I get a diagnosis - then what?

    Click right for answers.


    Photo description: Bright green American agave plant against the ocean and light blue sky.

    Why Dr. Ferguson?

    Dr. Ferguson uses only standardized assessment tools that are widely accepted as the "gold standard" for diagnostic evaluations, including the ADOS-2 (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule), ADI-R (Autism Diagnostic Interview), and Wechsler Intelligence Scales, among others. Dr. Ferguson completes all aspects of the assessment process herself to ensure quality at every level. You receive a report that explains the findings in detail using clear, understandable language. If applicable, there are graphs and tables with detailed scores and explanations of what the scores mean. This report can help you apply for services and supports, if eligible. Click right for more information.

    What does assessment include?

    Every assessment includes screening for a wide variety of related conditions, including learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social skills issues, oppositional defiance, stress, sleep problems, mood disorders, sensory issues, auditory processing, information processing, planning and organizing abilities, speech and language skills, fine and gross motor skills, trauma, and other concerns. If more in-depth testing is warranted, an assessment plan is developed with you. Sometimes, Dr. Ferguson may refer you to another professional for further testing or treatment, such as a Speech and Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Audiologist, or Neurologist. It is important to look at the "whole person" so that we can develop appropriate testing and treatment strategies. Click right for more information.

    What does testing involve? Are there a lot of meetings?

    The first meeting with Dr. Ferguson is two hours, which actually flies by since there is so much to talk about. There are lots of toys to keep younger children busy. The client (and parents or caregivers) attend, and we have time to speak individually as well. For adult clients, you decide who comes to the assessment - even if someone else is paying. We discuss development, medical conditions, school/college/work history, social skills, mood, behavior, sleep, likes/dislikes, and goals for the assessment. There are questionnaires to fill out and bring to the meeting. Sometimes, we can answer all your questions and determine a diagnosis during that one appointment. If not, we discuss a plan for further testing. If you are coming from out of town, we can try our best to fit your schedule. The report is usually completed three to four weeks following the last assessment session. We will have a feedback session to go over all results and recommendations in understandable language and answer any questions. Click right for more information.

    How Can I Get An Assessment?

    Email or phone Dr. Ferguson's office at 805-610-8694 to schedule a brief, complimentary discussion directly with Dr. Ferguson. She will review your needs, your goals for assessment, and any questions you may have. Please be yourself!

  • For Professionals

    Dr. Ferguson provides consultation, assessment, therapy, and advocacy individualized for you and your clients.


    The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson


    Photo description: red winterberries on bare branches against a white and grey background


    Private Practice Consultations

    Dr. Ferguson enjoys supporting new and seasoned practitioners locally and throughout the state of California to establish and maximize their private practice. We have a provider shortage and we need good, talented professionals to serve our communities. From setting up your office to insurance, licensing, networking, social media, confidentiality concerns and marketing, Dr. Ferguson can help you to create a welcoming, ethical, and productive space for your clients. A successful practice requires more than just "hanging out your shingle." How can you stand out from the sea of providers in your community? Do you have a specialty (and are potential clients aware of it)? What are your goals for growing your practice and serving your clients?

    Clinical Case Consultations for Providers

    When a counselor or psychologist needs to consult with another professional, is important to seek out experienced feedback. Dr. Ferguson has over 23 years in the mental health field and has worked in hospitals, the San Francisco county jail, and community mental health clinics. For the last 11 years she has been in independent private practice. Dr. Ferguson was the former Ethics Chair of the Central Coast Psychological Association and for 9 years was on the Board of Directors of the Central Coast Autism Spectrum Center. Consultations with Dr. Ferguson can help you generate new ideas to better serve your clients, address ethical concerns, and deliver high-quality care.

    Regional Center Eligibility

    Dr. Ferguson is a privately-contracted assessor for Tri-Counties Regional Center (TCRC), working with children beginning at the age of 18 months to adults. Primarily referred for questions of autism spectrum issues, cognition, and adaptive skill deficits, individuals are also assessed for mental health concerns. Dr. Ferguson provides her findings to TCRC, who makes the final eligibility decision.

    Social Security Eligibility

    Dr. Ferguson conducts assessments that the Social Security Administration requires in order to determine eligibility. Typically, assessment centers around autism spectrum issues, cognition, mental health and adaptive skill deficits. A comprehensive report with analysis of Dr. Ferguson's opinion on eligibility is provided. The Social Security Administration makes the final eligibility decision.

  • Spark Blog

    Thoughts, Opinion, and Strategies For Better Living. Best with a cuppa.

    Photo description: closeup of a cup of dark coffee in a red mug.
  • Social Feed

    News, Articles, Research

  • Insurance

    Dr. Ferguson is a contracted provider for the Tri-Counties Regional Center (TCRC). If you are referred by TCRC, you do not owe any fees or co-pays to Dr. Ferguson, although TCRC may bill your insurance, so be sure to speak with them directly.


    • For all other insurance plans, I am an "Out-of-Network Provider"

    • This means you are responsible for the full fee at the time of service

    • I provide you with a Super Bill for you to submit to your insurance

    • Depending on your insurance plan, you may be reimbursed a portion of the fee

    • However, some insurance companies have made it more difficult to cover assessment for autism and ADHD

    • Be sure to call your insurance company and ask for details.


    Click below to download tips on talking with your insurance carrier about out-of-network benefits.

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  • Fees

    Consultation $250

    In a one-hour consultation, we talk about your concerns and develop a plan to help you reach your goals. This can be helpful if you are not certain if you need a formal assessment, or if you want to see if counseling or assessment with me is a good fit. There are multiple types of assessments and therapies, and I will be able to advise you if a referral to another professional or service is needed (occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, IEP or 504 Plan through the school district, tutoring, educational therapists, job coaches, psychiatry). Navigating these "systems" can be confusing, and together we can develop a road map. There is such a thing as "too much therapy," and families do not have unlimited time and resources, so I can help you prioritize services. I provide referrals if you or I decide that another professional will be better able to support your needs. If you desire follow-up consultation or therapy, fees are $140 for 50 minute sessions, and $150 for 60 minute sessions.


    Diagnostic Assessment With Testing Summary Letter - starts at $1200

    This is an ideal option for individuals who want clarity on diagnosis, strategies that can help improve school and work, and information about their unique traits and patterns of thinking, working, communicating and relating to others. Together, we will assess Autism, ADD/ADHD, mental health concerns (anxiety, panic, OCD, depression and bipolar concerns, trauma) and behavioral concerns. This is a great option for individuals who do not want to apply for formal supports in K-12 school (IEP, 504 Plan), college, Social Security, or the Regional Center (if you are applying for these supports, see Diagnostic Assessment With Full Report, below). This assessment may be sufficient for those seeking ADA accommodations at work, and there is an additional fee to complete this paperwork. Because this assessment service does not include a long report, your fee is lower. Fees begin at $1200 and we meet for a total of 3 hours, plus a one hour feedback session. If additional testing is needed to ensure an accurate diagnosis, the fee is $175 per hour (for most clients, this is not necessary).


    Diagnostic Assessment With Full Report - starts at $3000

    If you are looking to apply for supportive services in K-12 school settings (IEP, 504 Plan), college, Social Security, Regional Center, or work (ADA accommodations), this is the appropriate assessment service for you or your loved one. Diagnostic assessment services include testing for ADD/ADHD, Autism, mental health concerns (anxiety, panic, OCD, depression and bipolar concerns, trauma) and behavioral concerns. The fee includes all testing, diagnosis(es) if applicable, comprehensive written report suitable for applying for supportive services, completion of eligibility paperwork for college or ADA accommodations, and a one-hour feedback session. Because the comprehensive written report takes extensive time (typically it runs at least 20 pages or more), fees for this assessment service begin at $3000. Additional testing may be needed, which is $175 per hour (for most clients, this is not necessary). If you do not need a comprehensive written report, see Diagnostic Assessment With Testing Summary Letter, above.


    Therapy, College and Career Counseling, Life Transitions

    This has been an incredibly stressful time for many clients due to the pandemic, changes in school or work, or relationship concerns. College decisions, career changes, and other life transitions can be easier with a counselor who can support you. Executive functioning differences, anxiety, or depression may benefit from targeted strategies, and together we set your goals. All therapy starts with a 60-minute intake, which is $250. We talk about what has worked and not worked in the past, and we will make a plan to help you reach those goals. Follow-up therapy sessions are $140 for 45- to 50-minute sessions. A 60-minute session is $150.


    Click below for the process to make and confirm your appointment and pay the deposit.

    See the Client Intake Packet, which has details regarding fees, policies,

    and other information about Dr. Ferguson's practice.

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  • Forms & Helpful Info

    The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step -- Lao Tzu

    To confirm your appointment with Dr. Ferguson:

    1) Make an appointment with Dr. Ferguson (email using the Contact tab above)

    2) Use the link sent to you to pay the $100 non-refundable deposit

    (the deposit is applied to your balance)

    3) Download and send the Intake Forms


    Your appointment is not confirmed until all three steps above are complete.

    If all steps are not completed, your appointment and deposit will be forfeited.

    Do not send Intake Forms without first making an appointment with Dr. Ferguson.

    Additional Information About Your Appointment Is Below:

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  • About Dr. Ferguson

    Licensed Clinical Psychologist

    Laurie Ferguson, Psy.D.

    Photo description: Dr. Ferguson seated in a grey chair with bookshelf

    and yellow lamp behind her.

    Thank you for visiting my website to learn more about the services that can help you and your family. 


    My approach is honest, respectful, solution-focused, and based on understanding your strengths. I use techniques grounded in research and based on best-practice guidelines. All Diagnostic Assessments are completed entirely by myself using "gold standard" assessment tools. Together we can help you achieve your goals.


    I have been working in the mental health field helping children, teens, families, and adults since 1996. In 2002 I obtained my doctorate in Clinical Psychology from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Training included an APA-accredited internship at The Children's Hospital in Denver, and a fellowship at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver (now called National Jewish Health). Training also included clinical positions at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the UCSF Child and Family Center, and other out-patient and in-patient settings. Before attending graduate school, I was a mental health worker for the psychiatric units at the San Francisco County Jail and St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco.


    I was a Board Member for 9 years with the Central Coast Autism Spectrum Center. I am a PTA member with my children's schools. I am also a member of the Central Coast Psychological Association, where I was previously the Ethics Chair.


    In my spare time, I love to garden, read, sail, and enjoy the beautiful Central Coast with my family. Fixing up our 1970's ranch house has been a labor of love, and I've become pretty adept at drywall, painting, and finding the right fuse before I attempt minor electrical projects.

  • Contact

    Dr. Laurie Ferguson, Psy.D.

    5975 Entrada Avenue • Atascadero, CA 93422 (click here for map)

    805-610-8694 phone • 805-460-6818 fax

    DrF.SparkPsych@gmail.com • FacebookTwitter


    Serving all of California by confidential telehealth (zoom) and in person appointments.

    Please read the following before submitting an appointment request:


    Dr. Ferguson DOES NOT:

    X conduct assessments or testify in court regarding parental fitness, child custody, or visitation; or provide court-ordered therapy or worker's compensation assessments (to preserve your legal rights, it is important to work with counselors or assessors who specialize in these areas; Dr. Ferguson is not a specialist in these areas)

    X treat addictions, substance abuse, or eating disorders.

    X accept insurance. You will be provided with a Super Bill for you to submit to insurance,

    and any reimbursement depends on your insurance plan. See Insurance above for further information.


    Dr. Ferguson is licensed by the Board of Psychology in California.


    Photo credit: closeup of a vintage rotary phone

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