What is Hoarding?

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Hoarding is a debilitating disorder that is characterised by the acquisition of a large number of items and an inability to discard these items to the point that living spaces become so cluttered they cannot be used for their intended purpose (Frost & Hartl, 1996). Additionally this disorder causes the individual distress and/or impairment in their normal daily functioning, often having a flow on affect to others within the environment.

  • It is thought that approximately 2-5% of the Australian population have hoarding behaviours affecting their daily functioning. There are a number of risks associated with cluttered properties such as; increased risk of fire, falls and health complaints to name a few. Unfortunately this is a misunderstood condition that frequently leads people to believe the answer is to simply clean out the property. However, this response creates increased anxiety and trauma for the person with the condition, and the environment often returns to its previous state or worse shortly after. Environmental cleans only address the symptoms, they do not address the causes of the behaviour, nor do they work to create long term behavioural change.
  • People presenting with hoarding related issues have a strong attachment to their items and often present with comorbid conditions such as anxiety, trauma, mood disorders, schizophrenia and/or ADHD, amongst others.
  • Janelle Nancarrow works with clients within a harm minimisation approach and utilises therapies such as CBT, motivational interviewing and graded exposure based techniques. Janelle works towards building insight and understanding for clients and assists them to move towards making sustainable changes in their behaviour.
About Janelle
Janelle Nancarrow has a Masters in Psychology (Clinical), is a registered psychologist with AHPRA and is a member of the APS. She has been working within the community sector for the past seven years and has worked specifically with people with hoarding issues for the past five years. She receives supervision from Dr Chris Mogan and has attended training with Chris, Professor Mike Kyrios; and Dr Randy Frost and Dr Gail Steketee from the USA.
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