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Handout Updated for Lakeview Library Presentation April 25th, 2023

Courage Counseling

Margo Nelson

Hoarding disorder is a greatly misunderstood condition. Many people wonder why the person with hoarding disorder can’t just throw stuff out. It is complicated. The objects, even seemingly unimportant objects that have lost their function, may be cherished by their owner. The hoarding behaviors serve a purpose for the person with hoarding disorder.

Like most mental health conditions, hoarding disorder usually gets worse over time if left untreated. I recommend addressing hoarding disorder as soon as possible. However, I believe that people are never too old for positive change and it is never too late to start working to be better.

I can help family and friends of people with hoarding disorder gain insight into the problem (and it’s not what you think.) One of the greatest assets to recovery can be supportive, non-judging, loving friends and family. Sometimes friends and family have so many feelings and so much history with the hoarding that they are unable to work with the person with hoarding disorder without shaming them and a professional may assist to create more positive outcomes.

While there are common themes, behaviors, and thoughts with hoarding disorder, each client is unique.

One may have had a significant loss such as a death, change in mental or physical functioning, job loss, or divorce exacerbate their symptoms. Another person might have had scarcity trigger their onset.

Sometimes people with hoarding disorder also experience depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, OCD, or other conditions.

I work with individuals with hoarding disorder, and people who are impacted by the hoarding behaviors of a loved one.

Unfortunately I cannot work with people who do not want to work with me. I can only take clients who are interested in working toward positive change.

In the beginning I work with all clients to create a therapeutic relationship and we work to create therapeutic goals.

We will talk about the history of the development of excess objects. We will work on what from the past created keeping stuff as a coping mechanism and how that coping mechanism is impacting life now.

I also work with people who are living with a person/people who have hoarding behaviors and I can help that person establish both physical and emotional boundaries.

How to help a loved one:

You do not have to understand their behavior to practice kindness and compassion.

Let your loved one know that there are resources available and they are not alone.

Educate yourself:

“Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things,” by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee

“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo

“Tera’s Tale: Rebel on the River- A life story of love, rats, cancer, hoarding, and did I mention love?” By Judith Gwinn Adrian

Angela Brown Cleaning

Why are we so attached to our things? - TED Ed Christian Jarrett

The New Life Your Cluttered Rooms Might Be Holding You Back From- The Oprah Winfrey Show

Facebook: Hoarding Disorder UK CIC


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