I recently sat down for an interview with Diane Quintana for her new series on hoarding. While it is a small percentage of clients we work with who have a hoarding disorder, it can be one of the most challenging disorders for not only the person trying to overcome their hoarding tendencies but their families as well.
Hoarding Is Just the Surface Diagnosis
With disorders like ADHD and the chronically disorganized, there is behavior training and approaches that can make it easier to be more organized. For the hoarder, it’s often a matter of addressing the underlying trauma that created the disorder. As I explain in my interview with Diane, I find that hoarding is often a surface diagnosis. Go below that and you find something else. We see clients with childhood trauma, depression, people going through transitions, people suffering a lot of loss. I always say that we are one nervous breakdown away from becoming a hoarder.
When Working with Hoarders, Handle with Care
Because there is often so much more going on that “just hoarding” we work very carefully with our hoarding clients to be especially gentle about the organizing process. We have certain rules that we use:
- The person must make the call themselves to get help with organizing – it can’t be forced upon them by a friend or family member
- We never start decluttering and organizing a hoarder’s home during the holiday season because that time of year is often already fraught with extra stress
- We employ compassion and empathy every step of the way, working at the hoarder’s pace, not anyone else’s
I hope you’ll take a moment to read my entire interview with Diane here.
If you need additional resources, we have several listed below, including recommended books from our Maniac Book Club as well as a great guide for helping hoarders declutter.