9 min read

Hoarding and financial therapy?

Psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, or talk therapy is the most effective treatments for hoarding and hoarding disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help treat hoarding disorders as well, all of the above which should be carried out by a mental health professional. Coaching for hoarding or hoarding disorder is recommended only if you are coaching with a licensed psychotherapist; the reason is that it is a struggle that often brings with it unearthing layers of anxiety, depression, and trauma.

Financial therapy with a licensed psychotherapist is considered an excellent place to begin your healing journey if you feel you suffer from hoarding or hoarding disorder.  Financial therapy is not new; it has been in educational and professional literature for licensed psychotherapists for decades. It is a sub-specialty of some therapists but almost any licensed therapist should be able to help you.

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Tell me the meaning of hoarding?

Someone who exhibits hoarding behavior, hoarding or hoarding disorder, may entail the compulsion to locate and keep anything and everything without regard. Some individuals may have clothes, photos, food, home appliances boxes, magazines, and even magazines in the home. Depending upon the severity, hoarding can result in severe results such as unforeseen economic and legal consequences and may cause various types of psychological and mental health problems. Hoarding is an illness that may occur alone in addition to a particular disorder, such as OCD or OCPD.

If you want to hear a personal story on my podcast of what happened on Instagram, check it out here.

What are the consequences of hoarding?

Hoarding or hoarding disorder, or related disorders where hoarding is a facet,  has serious and unique consequences for each person. Excessive shopping, causing hoarding, often results in monetary hardship. Relational tension grows the disorder also leads to possible loss of a home through depression or persistent difficulty.

Children of those who suffer from hoarding may suffer from depression and anxiety because of their situation or other mental health disorders

Teens often are discouraged and do not invite their classmates into the house because they are upset. Sometimes youth get angry at their parents, frustrated with the unhealthy lifestyles created by hoarding.

Health struggles are not uncommon when it comes to hoarding behaviors. Living spaces are compromised, it is a struggle to clean or even tidy up, there may be animal hoarding, major depressive disorder, excessive acquisition, compulsive hoarding, and difficulty in discarding possessions – even scraps of paper.

Causes and risk factors

Hoarder’s syndrome or disorder is not new per se, but it is an emerging field and it may be somewhat premature to take sweeping findings of the disease. Anyone might be a hoarder; you might not recognize them in work or other settings. An emotional event, such as losing a family member, could lead to worsening the effects of hoarding. Hoarding disorders have characteristics and symptom profiles that are not common to OCD or other disorders.

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Decluttering help

The reason hoarding can get so tough is because people are very happy when they have acquired things. There are television programs that sensationalize and humiliate these people who suffer, even though the person suffering might have allowed them into the home to “help” while being recorded.

Many people suffering from PTSD or anxiety may find that it is very distressing to accumulate items and this can motivate them to seek help. People who suffer from hoarding disorder are not usually distressed by clutter; however, it can be frustrating when they have to get rid of things.

How is hoarding treated?

Hoarding disorder is a diagnosable mental disease that must be treated for recovery. Individuals who hoard might become unreliable can face difficulties with medical care, especially if they lack knowledge or lack understanding.

In some situations, the patient refusing treatment may cause harm to themselves because of their life situation. The person who refused to receive treatment for his or her hoarding could make multiple attempts and eventually be able to accept treatment.

A friend or family member can also choose to consult a mental health specialist to help the hoarders. One must be sensitive to this. On the other end of the spectrum is the hyper-minimalist who might become obsessed with “less” and be judgemental and attacking the person who is hoarding, not seeing that it is less about “stuff” and more about mental illness or emotional struggle.

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Is hoarding money a mental illness?

Being cautious about spending money can earn you a reputation as an efficient person; however, if money gets stuffed into pockets or accumulates too much, it may indicate an obsessively compulsive personality disorder.

Hyper focusing on saving and having emotional responses to say, not picking up a penny on the street, are potential signs of money hoarding.

Cleaning up

There are still many questions that we need to ask to know what treatment works. The lack of information on hoarding disorder, the questions that need to be answered, is enough to fill the book actually. There isn’t enough research on what creates the beginning stages of hoarding, to prevent it early on. It is beyond just clutter. Like an addiction, it might be hidden for months or years.

Similar research should also be conducted in order to tailor the treatment to the individual neurocognitive characteristics. While treatment options for hoarding disorder are still imperfect, there are some strides to help the person on other levels, from anxiety and OCD, and particularly those who have depression.

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What is the psychological reason for hoarding?

People often suffer hoarding disorder after a difficult event that was difficult in their life. Usually, this is a loss of some type or a feeling of being out of control. I have seen women who hoard as a result of childhood parental neglect as well as trauma in their adult years. I’ve experienced clients who were addicted to home shopping networks and online shopping, to fill time and to initiate a dopamine response. There is no one particular reason for hoarding.

How do I deal with a hoarder legally?

Standard legal intervention is sometimes based on eviction or expulsion from a household. In such a situation, the disorder itself isn’t addressed and recidivism is often high. Understand that if you are a landlord or even a parent, that the hoarding is not usually as intentional as you might think.

Many times landlords feel that the tenants simply did not care about the space, but it was less that and more emotional struggle and a need to control or cope with other areas of their lives.

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Do you need coaching or therapy?

It is noted that often, hoarders benefit from Financial Therapy. They learn to see value in who they are not what they collect. Financial therapy when coupled with coaching and hypnotherapy can be very effective.

Financial therapy is an effective way of guiding the patient toward positive financial outcomes, without bias that might come from someone selling financial services.

What are financial therapy tools?

Financial therapy has its tools built around prevention and intervention models which are developed with evidence-based approaches to the problem including both practical use (the flow of money) and practical application (what should we do to improve our performance financially). In essence, practitioners can be sure that when using evidence-based financial therapy, the intervention is evaluated in the context of the client or patient relationships.

To be less abstract or vague, some tools might include cathartic bibliotherapy or movie therapy, sometimes art, sometimes discussion – all with an emphasis on self-value.

Cautions and Caveats of Financial Planners Doing Financial Therapy

Financial Therapy may be interesting, and on the surface, one might think that it is benign to have a discussion and call it therapy, but you might have to decide to pursue the professional path of psychotherapy if you want to be a psychotherapist. Hoarding has nothing to do with financial planning and that client is showing signs of potential emotional unwellness and even mental illness; it would be unethical to notice this, consider oneself a therapist, and continue with financial planning. Hoarding is best to be referred to a therapist and then work with the therapist as a team to help the client become empowered.

How common is hoarding?

Researchers are trying to understand how widespread each level of hoarding is. The estimated yearly prevalence for hoarders in the US is between 6% and 36%. A man with hoarding disorder is 3 times more likely than a female with the disease. This is shocking to some people as it is always assumed that women or girls hoard more than men or boys.

What is measured in hoarding levels?

Researchers suggest that hoarding causes low levels of anxiety and depression sensitivity. People with serious hoarding can use this behavior to calm stress while the results of hoarding might cause stress; similar to any addiction or coping strategy.

Let me give you another example. A woman might use food to self-soothe then be stressed at the weight she is gaining, only to soothe that stress with more food. It is a cyclical situation, just like hoarding often is.

Are there other signs of needing therapy?

There are signs of needing therapy such as having anxiety, depression, and the awareness that you or others notice your clutter or hoarding. You might need money therapy when you are engaged in chronic and destructive financial behaviors, such as overspending or impulsive spending. You might need therapy when financial stress keeps you up and you lack sleep or are worried about bills throughout the night, and when your finances become a major struggle.

If you are unsure, you can take a self-scoring quiz HERE

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Downloadable Planner

I hope that you will take the first step towards a healthier and more enjoyable life without hoarding by downloading my self-healing journal. It is free, and it can help you declutter your mind and home with ease. I also send you periodic prompts to help you on your healing journey.

You deserve to live in an environment where you feel safe from clutter, not suffocated by it. My goal as a therapist is to guide people through this process of healing so they can lead happier lives – both at work and at home.

In order for me to do this effectively, I need your feedback on what works best for you – which specific activities helped or hindered the progress? Take the first step toward self-healing and download the planner.

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