Hoarding is a distinct disorder with its own diagnostic criteria and treatment requirements.Many hoarders hide their compulsive behavior from family, landlords, neighbors, insurers, and more. Once discovered, they may face scrutiny from animal and child protection officers and code enforcement officials.
Overcoming the mental disorder recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, requires more than pop psychology and a 30-gallon garbage bag. In the new book Conquer the Clutter , social worker Elaine Birchall, founder of the Canadian National Hoarding Coalition, and co-author Suzanne Cronkwright, give potential and practicing hoarders -- as well as family, friends, and helping professionals -- practical strategies for getting out from under the overwhelming piles and regaining control.
In her 17 years as a leading hoarding disorder specialist and clutter coach, Birchall has seen that enduring success results from a combined approach of individualized therapy and hands-on cleanup. Unlike the more common academic treatises on hoarding, this book offers straight talk -- as well as checklists, worksheets, risk assessment tools, and links to resources. Actual case studies -- of parents at risk of losing custody of their children, for instance, or a retired lawyer reckoning with disability and a move into assisted living -- destigmatize the face of hoarding and illuminate how others resist triggers and overcome barriers to make peace with their compulsion to possess.
Elaine Birchall, MSW is the director of Birchall Consulting and the founder of the Canadian National Hoarding Coalition. A hoarding behavior specialist and clutter coach, Elaine provides training, consultations, and counseling to people and organizations across the US and Canada.
Suzanne Cronkwright ia a technical writer, editor, and documentation and courseware consultant with over 36 years’ experience.