First, thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I am a psychotherapist and I recently began a new job in which I will see women (not jewish) in person for Individual psychotherapy. During a session, we sit together in a room for about 45 minutes. Is this a halachic problem and is there something I should do to prevent this?
Thanks so much!
Psychological therapy sessions can involve serious yichud issues when the therapist and patiet are of the opposite genders. Often, since the sessions are long, and not just ten minutes, etc., and done in a discreet manner, there isn’t anyone in the waiting room at the time of the session. Additionally, one of the common heterim for a woman to visit a male doctor is that the secretary or nurse can come in to the room in the middle, which might not be applicable here.
If your wife is in the area, such as if your office is in your home, that might help when she is around. Additionally, if the door is kept open, or at least unlocked so that people can just walk in from the outside, generally this would help. (With a therapist however, depending on the situation, the therapist and patient can develop a friendly, close relationship, especially due to the nature of the conversation, and then it is controversial if this heter would apply). According to some authorities if there is a closed circuit camera, so that someoe can see what is going on in the room in real time, this might help. (However, this might not be practical in your situation).
It would be best for you to discuss this with a Rabbi in person, so that he can understand the enviroment of the office, so he can advise you correctly.
As a side point, in today’s society it might not be a wise thing for a therapist to be secluded twith the woman patient, as people can make up any claim they want and get the therapist into serious trouoble. Especially when dealing with people that are not emotionally stable and have problematic personalities.