30 October, 2011

The Secet Lives of Hoarders

Title: The Secret Lives of Hoarders
Author: Matt Paxton with Phaedra Hise
Genre: Non Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Library

From Goodreads: The Secret Lives of Hoarders is much more than harrowing tales of attacking the ugliest, dirtiest, and most shocking hoarding cases in the country. It is a behind-the-scenes look at this hidden epidemic- what it means, how to recognize it before it gets out of hand, and how to deal with it.
Through his work with hundreds of clients in the worst circumstances- from the giant "rat's nest" that hid more than $13,000 in cash to a vast cache of cartoon pornography to twenty-five years' worth of unopened mail-Matt Paxton has learned to understand this disorder and his clients' impulses to collect, to speak the hoarders' language, and to reach out to them with compassion and concern while avoiding criticism and judgment. Most important, he guides compulsive hoarders successfully through every step of the clean-up and healing process.
The Secret Lives of Hoarders is an engrossing and sometimes unsettling look at extreme clutter but one that helps hoarders, their families, and their friends to find meaning in the chaos.

What I thought: You know, I can't tell you what drew me to this book. It's most probably the psychology angle. I think in another life I would have been a psychologist - I have always had a fascination with unusual or non neurotypical behaviour. I also love transformation shows and lets face it, the cleaning of a hoarders house is the ultimate transformation! Having said that, because I don't have pay TV, I have never seen Matt Paxton's show Hoarders, but I have a feeling I would like it! What I found interesting about this book is the emphasis on how the clean is not solution. Just because a hoarder's house is clean, doesn't mean you have addressed the reasons why they hoard. Also interesting was the fact that it has not yet been decided where the compulsion to hoard sits within psychological disorders. Many hoarders suffer other psychological conditions such as OCD, depression, anxiety or addiction. The question often is is the hoarding triggered by the other psychological conditions, are those conditions trigged by the hoarding or are they completely separate from one another? Finally, I identified a few traits within myself that are hoarder like. I do let the mess get overwhelming at times, I can find it hard to throw things away. However, in the end, the mess gets to me and I go through massive stages of purging all the junk from my house. Unless these phases end, I think I'll manage to stop it becoming full blown hoarding!

Recommended for: those with an interest in this area or think they know someone who is a hoarder and wants to know how to help.

Challenges:  100+ Challenge,