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Counseling and Psychological Services

People who are blind or have low vision may not require psychological services just because of their disability. However, blind people are people, and sometimes the right tool to address life issues is psychotherapy.

The LightHouse provides counseling, psychotherapy, evaluation and consultation for people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired, and/or for those who are family members or partners of someone with visual impairment or blindness. Such services help to promote healthier emotional development, social participation, and the ability to talk about and understand feelings in a safe, confidential setting. Individual, couple and group sessions are available, and our qualified staff can assist you in determining which of these is best suited to clients’ needs and/or preferences.

People seek therapy for a variety of reasons. A person’s vision-related changes or challenges may add a unique set of realistic and practical aspects to his or her life experiences, yet this may not be the only or even the primary reason for seeking services. On the other hand, if adjusting to change associated with blindness or visual impairment is of primary concern, the LightHouse is uniquely positioned to respond with particular expertise and sensitivity. Our clinical staff are all themselves people with visual impairments who walk the walk every day.

For more information, contact Dr. Connie Conley-Jung at cjung@lighthouse-sf.org.

FAQ

Q: Do you have to be blind or visually impaired to be eligible for counseling services at the LightHouse?

A: Anyone who is blind or visually impaired, or who has a family member who is blind or visually impaired, can receive counseling and psychological services at the LightHouse.

Q: Can I get help with non-blindness related issues?

A: A person’s vision-related changes or challenges may add a unique set of realistic and practical aspects to his or her life experiences, yet this may not be the only or even the primary reason for seeking therapy. On the other hand, if adjusting to blindness or visual impairment is of primary concern, the Lighthouse is uniquely positioned to respond with particular expertise and sensitivity.

Q: Is therapy only for people with really serious problems that keep them from functioning?

A: No. Many people use therapy to understand their feelings about their relationships, careers, or fear of success, and may look to the world like happy successful people, but underneath they may feel confused and anxious about the next step to take. Therapy can provide a safe place to explore your concerns and find the answers that may be inside you, waiting to be discovered.

Q: Is therapy private?

A: Yes, confidentiality is an important part of the therapy process and it means that everything talked about is between you and the therapist. In our new headquarters building, clients enjoy exceptionally private purpose-built rooms in which to meet and talk with their therapist. Insurance companies require minimal information in order to process claims and for this reason, those who are able may prefer to pay for their own therapy.

Q: How do I know if I need more than a friend to talk to?

A: It can be great to talk to a friend who understands you, but talking with a therapist can help you go deeper into your feelings. If you notice that you keep talking to your friends about the same problems and don’t try new ways or get new insights, you may want to try therapy. In therapy the focus is on you, and there’s no need to take care of the therapist or share the time as you might do with a friend.

Q: What kinds of problems can I take to therapy?

A: Almost any problem that you feel the need to talk over with someone else can be brought to therapy. This can include sadness, isolation, dating and relationship concerns, school and work issues.

Q: How long does therapy last?

A: Therapy can last as long as it is needed, sometimes a few months and sometimes years. You and your therapist can talk about what you need.

Q: How do I know if I am depressed?

A: Some signs of depression are isolation, tearfulness (or withdrawal); sleep disturbance, appetite changes, and feelings of hopelessness. Meeting with a therapist can help you determine if you are depressed.

Q: My doctor asked me if I wanted to take anti-depressants. Should I consider seeing a therapist also?

A: Depression is caused by many factors and talking with a therapist can help you along with certain medications prescribed and monitored by a psychiatrist or other qualified provider. When appropriate, Dr. Conley-Jung collaborates with other providers on behalf of the clients she serves.

Q: How much does therapy cost? Do you take insurance?

A: Fees vary by service. Certain insurance plans are accepted. Please contact Dr. Conley-Jung to discuss the current fees. Specific payment arrangements may be available for those who are using their insurance to help pay for services, or for those who otherwise demonstrate a financial need. It is recommended that you check with your insurance company to find out if they would cover your work with a psychologist like Dr. Conley-Jung.

Northern California's leading provider of services, advocacy and community for those who are blind or visually impaired.