A New Program Being Developed for Hoarders Using Current Psychology Practice

Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring: Group and Individual Treatment

This article has been reproduced from a Group Therapy Treatment Program initiative from Swinbourne University. See information and contact details below.

Help is on the way: Support for individuals, couples and families in the community.

CHAG is a 12-session group program addressing problems with compulsive hoarding and acquiring.

Compulsive hoarding is where
individuals have difficulty discarding items. This leads to the person’s
living spaces kitchens, bedrooms, lounge rooms, etc. becoming cluttered
to the point where they can no longer be used for their designated
purpose. For example, people may no longer be able to cook in the
kitchen, or may not be able to sleep in their beds due to their “stuff”
getting in the way.

Swinburne University’s group treatment program for hoarding is based on the
successful individual program developed by Randy Frost and Gail Steketee
in the US. It is based on the principles of “cognitive behaviour
therapy” and aims to help people develop the skills to deal with their
hoarding themselves (e.g., decision making, tolerance for emotions
associated with sorting). Get Organised with HoardingNote
that in this program, participants remain in control of their
possessions at all times indeed, the therapists will not touch people’s
possessions without explicit permission.

‘We have found that being in a
group with other individuals can in itself be very helpful for hoarding.
In particular, individuals with hoarding can often feel quite ashamed
of their issues, perhaps refusing to let people into their homes so as
to not reveal the hoarding, and it can therefore be very powerful to
meet others with the same problem. Group members also help by giving
helpful suggestions for dealing with the hoarding, by giving increased
insight into the problem through their shared understanding, and by
giving encouragement to people dealing with hoarding’.

The hoarding program was adapted
for Australia by the Psychology Clinic with Prof Michael Kyrios’
research group the BPsyC research centre including clinical
psychologists Dr Richard Moulding, Dr Maja Nedeljkovic and Dr
Christopher Mogan.

Program Details

The compulsive hoarding group
will be open to eight participants and it will be run on a low cost
basis. Medicare rebates may be available for those who would like to
participate. The next Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring Group is set to
commence October 2011.

If you would like to find out
more or register your interest in this group, please contact the Project
Officer (Tuesdays – Fridays) on (03) 9214 5528 or send an email to psychprojects@swin.edu.au.


A trial, run by Professor Kyrios and his team through Swinburne’s
National eTherapy Centre (NeTC), is providing free therapist-assisted
online treatment to people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). For
information on the trial, contact 

Sam Mancuso

For low-cost, face-to-face individual and group treatment for OCD,
compulsive buying and hoarding, at the Swinburne University Psychology
Clinic in Hawthorn. Call 03 9214 8653.

To participate in a project on early childhood experiences associated with compulsive buying email

Kerrin Danswan.

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