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HALACHA-----loshon horah/ therapy

Tikvah Posted - 20 March 2001 18:40

I see a therapist for some serious issues I have. I sometimes talk to her about my family in order to work out my feelings towards them and to create solutions to dealing with them. It helps me sometimes to talk about my problems with them.

Is this considered Lashon Hara even though it is helping everyone involved?

(I just learned that Miriam's sin was Lashon Hara and she was trying to help Moshe by talking to Aaron)

MODERATOR Posted - 27 March 2001 17:00

The laws of Loshon Horah apply to psychologists as much as anyone else. The fact that he is committed not to spread it further or that it is his job is not grounds for a heter.

The only possibility could be that where telling the loshon horah is therapeutic, meaning, it helps the patient, which would mean the talk is "l'toeles".

However, this logic would then have to extend beyond just psychologists, to friends, spouses, and others who feel better when they vent their frustrations to each other, because "toeles" just means a positive purpose, with or without a PhD to back it up.

Then the logic would have to be extended to any types of "feeling good" or "feeling better" that would result from the speaking of Loshon Horah. If someone says "complaining about so and so makes me feel better" we would have to permit him to do so regardless of who he is talking to.

The reality, however, is that feeling better is not a heter to speak loshon horah, and it doesn’t matter who you’re talking to - be it your wife, your therapist or your friend.

Furthermore, even if there would be such a heter, there would be no heter to BELIEVE the Loshon Horah after it is said. Or to tell it to someone who you think would believe it, as therapists often do.

If there is a measurable to'eles for saying the Loshon Horah, such as a case where your parents should know about what your teacher did in class, or your therapist must know what your parents are doing to you, the usual heterim would apply.

Bottom line: The permissibility to speak Loshon Horah depends on the details of what is being said and why. It does not matter who the Loshon Horah is being said to, or if the listener has a PhD and is being paid to hear you say it.

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