Therapists say admitting one has a problem is the first step toward recovery. For San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, that could be tricky.
The first-term mayor and former congressman starts two weeks of intensive therapy today while facing a sexual-harassment lawsuit and calls for his resignation amid allegations that he groped women for years.
Even as he undergoes treatment, Filner is set to be grilled by lawyers under oath this week in a lawsuit brought by his former communications director that claims he asked her to work without panties, told her he wanted to see her naked and dragged her around in a headlock while whispering in her ear.
Neither Filner nor his office has released details about his therapy or its location. Filner is picking up the tab for the treatment.
Filner’s accusers, his one-time supporters and voters have expressed skepticism that any two-week program is an appropriate remedy for what Filner himself has described as years of inappropriate behavior toward women. Longtime therapists questioned how much progress could be made.
“It is pie-in-the-sky to think that in two weeks anyone could be a new man,” said Helen Friedman, a St. Louis psychologist who has treated compulsive sexual behavior for 30 years, though she said it was a good start.
Success will depend on how far Filner, 70, goes in acknowledging his problems, experts said.
Some voters wondered whether the therapy stint was simply an effort to buy time amid extraordinary pressure to resign.