'Dr. Judy' Doubts Casey Anthony's Penchant for Lying Can Be Cured

Dr. Judy says it is "exceptionally difficult" to treat a "pathological liar."

ByABC News
July 18, 2011, 6:23 PM

July 19, 2011 — -- Casey Anthony's lawyers have said that Anthony has suffered "trauma" and will need counseling now that she is a free woman, but experts aren't sure Anthony can be helped.

"It would be exceptionally difficult for anybody to treat her. There is no magic pill that's a truth serum for a person who's a pathological liar," said Judy Kuriansky a psychologist from Columbia University, but better known from her radio show as Dr. Judy.

Kuriansky believes that Anthony likely feels that she has been rewarded for her lying with her acquittal and release from jail.

"Why would she want to go to therapy when she basically got what she wanted? There's no motivation for her to seek help," Kuriansky said. "If she had been sent to jail, maybe she would want to see somebody because her style didn't work, but it did."

Anthony, 25, is in hiding after being released from a Florida jail following her acquittal on murder charges for the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. She has received death threats and as she left jail protesters chanted "Caylee, Caylee."

Casey Anthony Therapy Will Be 'Challenge'

Anthony's criminal lawyer Jose Baez has said, "It is my hope that Casey Anthony can receive the counselling and treatment she needs to move forward with the rest of her life."

Her civil attorney Charles Greene was quoted as saying Anthony was "emotionally unstable" following the trauma of her daughter's death and the grueling trial.

Psychologists interviewed by ABCNews.com agree that the desire to change is the key to successful treatment for pathological liars, which some believe Anthony may be.

Casey Anthony Verdict in Pictures

While acquitted of murder, she was convicted on four counts of lying to police. One of her lies was that Caylee was kidnapped by a fictional nanny named Zanny. Zanny was one of a dozen bogus characters that Casey had created. She also lied about working at Universal Studios.

None of the psychologists who spoke with ABCNews.com have treated Casey Anthony, but spoke from observations and personal experience.

Two of the potential issues Anthony could suffer from are borderline personality disorder and psychopathology, the experts said. The main thing these issues have in common is a total lack of empathy, according to LeslieBeth Wish, a psychologist and licensed social worker in Sarasota, Fla.

"They can turn a person into a non-person," Wish said. "Borderline personalities have more emotional regulation problem and often use lying to get away from something and not ever feeling like they're responsible."

Wish explains that for people who suffer from these problems, separate lies can quickly become entire narratives that the teller can even come to believe as true.

"A lie begets a lie and it's easy to get trapped in telling lies to protect other lies," Wish said. "Does she believe her lies? She might, but more than likely she believes that she's good enough to make you believe her lies."

While Kuriansky emphasizes that she cannot make a diagnosis on a patient she has not seen, she does believe that Anthony has a personality disorder. Her personality disorder could have "narcissistic features with particular attention to pathological lying."

The symptoms of this problem include volatile moods, extremely manipulative personalities, a lack of empathy of others and a strongly defensive nature, she said.

"I believe there is something that can be done for people like this," said Tony Ferretti, a psychologist in Melbourne, Fla. "The behavior has been learned and can be unlearned. A person is not born a liar."

The problem with Anthony, Ferretti believes, is that she does not appear to have the motivation or desire to change her behavior.

"It's kind of like an addict, until they acknowledge that they have a problem or desire or motivation to change, nothing is going to chnge," Ferretti said.