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Rep. Weiner says he's seeing professional treatment

By Andrew Adams | Posted - Jun. 14, 2011 at 7:15 p.m.



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MURRAY -- Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, has announced he's taking a two-week leave from Congress and seeking treatment for the behavior that led him to the recent sexting scandal and his online relationships with multiple women.

This begs the question, what exactly is the problem he would treat? And what would that treatment be like?

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Weiner's office isn't specifying, but KSL asked two local therapists those questions.

The problem

At the Family Counseling Center in Murray, therapists have seen a rise in these kinds of cases. They have experience treating them, but the real difficulty comes in diagnosing the problem.

Paul France, a therapist at the Center, speculated as to the types of issues Weiner may be dealing with.

"It could be relationship-oriented," France said. "It could be trying to get the rush and the high." Or, he said, it could satisfy the need for a connection.

Center executive director Kate Della-Piana said it boils down to finding the underlying pain.

"That's extremely difficult," she said.

Regardless, the therapists acknowledged the first signs of trouble may have surfaced long ago; this was just the first time they were made public.

"Denial about behaviors, thoughts, actions that are problematic kind of allows us to maintain a secret," Della-Piana said.

The treatment

Treatment for Weiner appears to have a more definite course. Once the underlying problem is identified, therapists can work with Weiner to realize and correct his wrongs.

The goal of treatment would be to "have the person walk through that problematic behavior, get to the point where the draw to that kind of behavior is not as strong as it used to be," France said.

Once attempts to do that are successful, therapists say it is possible for Weiner to potentially mend fences eventually with his wife. She is expected to return to the United States Wednesday following a diplomatic mission with her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

But it's not easy, France said. These ordeals, he said, are traumatizing. They raise questions of why, and what the underlying motivations are for the behavior.

"It's a process that the spouse has to walk through as well, and needs help and support as they go through the process," France said.

Email: aadams@ksl.com

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Andrew Adams

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