Department of Psychology




Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things (2010)



Think about the one thing you own that you would grab first in a fire. Now imagine feeling that strongly about every single possession. What drives those of us who just can't throw things away? Like Irene, whose hoarding cost her her marriage? Or Ralph, whose imagined uses for castoff items almost lost him his home?

Stuff is the first comprehensive book about compulsive hoarding, a disorder that affecs far more people than is commonly known. Randy Frost and Gail Steketee were the first scientists to study hoarding when they began their work; they expected to find a few sufferers but ended up treating hundreds of people and fielding thousands of calls from the families of others. Now they explore this behavior through a series of compelling case studies in the vein of Oliver Sacks. With vivid portraits that show us the particular traits of the hoarder - piles on sofas and beds that make the furniture useless, homes that have to be navigated by narrow "goat trails," stacks of paper that are "churned" but never discarded, even collections of animals and garbage - Frost and Steketee expose the causes and previously ineffective treatments of the disorder. They also illuminate the pull that possessions exert on all of us: whether we're savers, collectors or compulsive cleaners, none of us are free of the impulses that drive hoarders to extremes.

For the more than six million sufferers, their relatives and friends, and the rest of us with complicated relationships with our things, Stuff answers the question of what happens when our stuff starts to own us.

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Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding (2007)


Buried in Treasures

While most of us find it relatively easy to manage our possessions, a large number of people, between 2% and 5% of the population, find it extremely difficult. If you have a problem resisting the urge to acquire and you find your home filled to capacity with items many people would find useless and unnecessary, you may suffer from a condition known as compulsive hoarding.

Compulsive hoarding is a behavioral problem consisting of excessive clutter, difficulty discarding items, and excessive buying or other acquiring. Hoarding is often associated with significant reduction in the quality of life, and in extreme cases it can pose serious health risks. If you or a loved one has a compulsive hoarding problem, this book can help.

Buried in Treasures is written by the scientists who have worked for over a dozen years to develop a scientifically based and effective program for treating compulsive hoarding. This book outlines a program of skill building, learning to think about possessions in a different way, and gradual challenges to help people who hoard manage their clutter, and their lives. It also provides useful information for family members and friends of people who hoard, as they struggle to understand and help.

Learn to identify the "bad guys" that cause and maintain your hoarding behavior and meet the "good guys" who can help motivate you and put you on the path to change. Useful self-assessments will help you determine the severity of your problem, and training exercises, case examples, organizing tips, and motivation boosters help change the way you think and behave toward your possessions. This book provides easy-to-understand strategies and techniques that anyone can use.


Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring: Therapist Guide (2007)


Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring

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The problem of compulsive hoarding and acquiring is more widespread than commonly believed. It often goes undiagnosed, either because sufferers are ashamed of their compulsions or because they don't believe it is a problem that merits professional attention. As much as two percent of the U.S. population suffers secretly from this condition.

Written by the developers of the ground-breaking treatment, this manual is the first to present an empirically supported and effective CBT program for treating compulsive hoarding and acquiring. This guide gives clinicians the information to understand hoarding and proven tools to help clients overcome their compulsive behaviors. It teaches idividuals how to recognize errors in thinking and uses both imagined and real exposures to teach them the skills they need to manage their problem. Homework exercises include behavioral experiments to test personal beliefs about possessions, developing an organization plan and filing system, and sorting and organizing items room by room.

Designed to be used in conjunction with the corresponding workbook, this therapist guide provides numerous assessment and intervention forms to help clients use the methods described in the program. Complete with case examples and strategies for dealing with problems, this user-friendly guide is a dependable resource that no clinician can do without.


Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring: Workbook (2007)


Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring Workbook

Although most people enjoy acquiring and using their possessions, and nearly everyone keeps some things they don't need or use, people with compulsive hoarding carry this to an extreme. For them, ridding themselves of extra possessions is emotionally exhausting. Organizing is difficult, and resisting the impulse to acquire new things is almost impossible. This book represents more than a decade of research and practice to understand hoarding and develop an effective treatment program that addresses its many components.

Used in conjunction with the treatment described in the therapist guide, this workbook teaches people how to minimize the negative effect clutter has on their lives, as well as the lives of those close to them. Using effective and practical techniques and skills, this program helps people get used to the idea of sorting, organizing, and gradually removing their unwanted possessions. People who hoard tend to overvalue the importance of the things they own and keep. This book will also help people to recognize errors in their thinking and modify their thoughts and beliefs to more accurately reflect the value of their belongings. Worksheets for developing a personal organization plan and determining categories for filing are also included in this interactive, easy-to-use workbook. With these books, users can be active participants who successfully overcome their compulsive hoarding.

Randy Frost



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