Monday, November 29, 2010

How do you help a hoarder?


There are TV shows about hoarders and support groups for the children of hoarders. There is a push to make hoarding a separate mental illness and a new story about a hoarder pops up, it seems, every few weeks. We hear about animal hoarders and people who die in fires because their homes are so packed with stuff. The stories are revolting and fascinating and perplexing, all at the same time.

Why do people hoard? Do you know somebody who is a hoarder? What should you do to help them?

Randy Frost, a professor of psychology at Smith College in Massachusetts, is one of the nation’s top experts in hoarding. Frost and Gail Steketee, a professor and dean of the school of social work at Boston University, have co-written a book, “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things.” More (see transcription of chat)

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