Local therapist speaks on what Filner behavioral therapy may entail

Filner facing sexual harassment lawsuit

SAN DIEGO - San Diego's first-term mayor is beginning two weeks of full-time therapy while facing a sexual harassment lawsuit and calls for his resignation amid a flurry of allegations that he groped and forcibly kissed women for years.

Bob Filner's accusers, his one-time supporters and voters express skepticism that his therapy starting Monday is an appropriate remedy for what the mayor himself has described as years of inappropriate behavior toward women. Longtime therapists question how much progress can be made.

10News spoke with a local therapist about what Filner's treatment might entail.

"There will be things like individual therapy, where he meets one-on-one with a therapist," said Dr. Kristin Zeising. "There possibly could be group therapy where he meets with a therapist and multiple other members."

As his treatment begins, Zeising says there will probably be psychological testing to try to get to the root of why the mayor behaves the way he does.

"They will assess his personality, whether or not he has something like a personality disorder like narcissism, assess whether he has a mood disorder, anxiety... all sorts of things," she said.

Zeising says those who will treat Filner will need to focus on his motivation for going into therapy.

"If he's really motivated for change, then two weeks is a start and then hopefully ongoing deeper psychotherapy, but we really don't know what his motivation is," she said.

But Zeising says for true change to happen, Filner has a tough road ahead of him.

"At 70 years old, one's personality and behaviors are typically pretty formed," she said. "He'd have to really want to change and have some real good motivation for change."

Neither Filner nor his office has released details about his therapy or its location.

Zeising says wherever it is, it will probably be pricey.

"It's usually thousands of dollars people will spend in order to engage in a two-week program," she said.

 Filner is picking up the tab for the treatment.

According to the Associated Press, he is set to be grilled by lawyers under oath Friday in the harassment lawsuit brought by his former communications director.

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