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Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195300581
ISBN-10: 0195300580
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Editorial Reviews


"I would recommend this book to treatment providers, professional organizers and the compulsive hoarder. This book, if used properly, will guide the reader to clutter-free living!" -Patricia B. Perkins, JD, Executive Director, OC Foundation, Inc.

"The world's leading experts on compulsive acquiring, hoarding and saving have presented their proven, step-by-step treatment in a practical, easy-to-understand format that will be useful to anyone who hoards, as well as any professional who treats this problem. If you are looking for ways to clear your clutter, you need to read this book now!" -Martin M. Antony, Ph.D., ABPP, Professor, Department of Psychology, Ryerson University, Author, When Perfect Isn't Good Enough

"...[the authors] have been leading the way in documenting characteristics of sufferers and how to treat the condition...an excellent guide for therapists who have only limited experience in treating hoarding, as well as for those who treat other subtypes of OCD but not necessarily hoarding."--Cognitive and Behavioral Practice

"There are a fair number of self-help books out there on aspects of OCD. Buried in Treasures is among the best of them. People with a hoarding problem should definitely find value in this book. It also belongs on the shelf of many mental health providers because whatever population one is working with will have its share of individuals with this problem. I hope that, in future, the authors may bring their knowledge, experience, and excellent writing skills to additional self-help books on aspects of OCD."--PsycCRITIQUES

About the Author

David F. Tolin, Ph.D. is the founder and Director of the Anxiety Disorders Center at The Institute of Living, in Hartford, Connecticut. A leading authority on compulsive disorders, he has been interviewed for The New York Times and the Associated Press, and has been a recurrent guest on The Today Show, Good Morning America, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Randy O. Frost, Ph.D. is the Harold Edward and Elsa Siipola Israel Professor of Psychology at Smith College. He is co-editor of the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation (O.C.F.) website on hoarding. The leading authority on compulsive hoarding, he has been interviewed for The New York Times, Newsweek, and National Public Radio, and has appeared on A.B.C. 20/20 Downtown, Good Morning America, and Dateline. Gail Steketee, Ph.D. is Professor at the Boston University School of Social Work. Her recent research, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, focuses on diagnostic and personality aspects of compulsive hoarding and on effective treatments. She and Dr. Frost have written the manual for mental health clinicians who treat hoarding problems.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195300580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195300581
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 0.7 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alice Price on May 7, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the introduction of "Buried in Treasures", Tolin, Frost and Steketee offer two cautions to the reader. Caution 1 "this book will not solve your hoarding problems". They state "this book is a guide that will provide you with the necessary information to understand the problem of compulsive hoarding and will give you tools to help beat the problem". Caution 2 is that "overcoming compulsive hoarding will be hard work".

The authors emphasize that hoarding is "a problem of emotional, mental, behavioral, and social well-being" and that "some scientific evidence suggests that there may be a genetic component to hoarding". It is basically a description of the treatment program that they have developed over many years of treating patients at their hoarding clinic. While the book discusses the physical side regarding sorting and purging as well as the stopping of the acquiring, its' emphasis is on the mental/emotional side of hoarding.

As opposed to other similar books, this book is based on science and ongoing clinical research. The book is essentially a guide to change and the authors note that "people start to work on their hoarding problem when the reasons for change outweigh the reasons for not changing, and not a moment sooner". Their suggested treatment is based on CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) which is solution focused.

This is somewhat of a workbook. It includes many exercises to help the hoarder to consciously change their thinking. Some examples are a self-assessment test in the chapter "What is Compulsive Hoarding?", a hoarding severity scale that is very similar

to the NSGCD Hoarding Scale, Visualization Exercises, Category & Location lists and questionnaires such as "Comparing Your Perceptions with Those of Others".
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What is going on in our society? Are more people struggling with acquiring, saving and hoarding or are we just more aware of the problem? Either way, some real help is provided in this book and it moves you to turn and face the compulsions.

I work in an outreach program and periodically we come up against a person struggling with this problem. There are other things going on but we discover this aspect usually during a home visit.

There are other titles that address this topic but I have found this one, by David Tolin, to out-distance the others. Why? Because it is a workbook approach first of all, and secondly, it addresses the underlying feelings of those who deal with this in a workable way.

We sit down with the individual and get them started on the book. We then process the insights they have had during the reading. By then they begin to feel a spark of hope that they can manage the compulsion.

One huge asset to this book is that he includes a significant chapter on 'acquiring' and what to do about it. The philosophy behind the need to acquire stuff is fascinating. Once there is an understanding of the need there is motivation to shift and change it.

This book has made a difference. Wish it had been around earlier!!
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Format: Paperback
I have been following Dr. Tolin's research online and was thrilled to finally receive this book. I am a Professional Organizer and I regularly assist clients trying to deal with hoarding. It is an extremely difficult, highly emotional, and debilitating way of life for a lot of people and the authors of this book really get it right. There are still a lot of unaswered questions as to why people hoard, but this book sheds more light and offers more life changing steps than others I have read.
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While it's true that it is not presented in a scholarly way (as a previous reviewer commented), the information in the book represents the most current knowledge we have on hoarding. As others have mentioned, the authors are preeminent experts in the field. All three are Ph.Ds and have published numerous scholarly works on this topic. I believe the authors must have deliberately chosen to leave out the clinical jargon for this book, in order to make the information accessible to those without a medical or science background. I think the book is quite elegant in its simplicity and clarity, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about hoarding.
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"Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding" is for "collectors," of which I most certainly am one! If you are a "collector," you know you must solve--all on your own--this problem of accumulating too much stuff.

Oh yes, it would be wonderful to have someone come in and help you make all the stuff disappear, as the team on "Clean House" does. Sort it in bins, then discard, donate, sell--yep, the way to go, except, Mr. or Miss Collector, you cannot put it in any bins except to keep it. Right?

That's where this book comes in--it actually breaks down every argument your pesky little mind can throw in your way to de-clutter. I won't go into details, but my severe acquiring and cluttering developed as a result of divorce. I literally could not touch anything to put away or discard. It had to just sit there, taking up space, keeping people away. Someone volunteered to help me organize, but the thought put me in panic mode.

"Buried in Treasures" is helping. Writers David Tolin, Randy Frost, and Gail Steketee name the condition as compulsive hoarding and stating that overcoming the problem is hard work. They define three conditions for hoarding:
1. Accumulating, then having difficulty getting rid of things of limited or useless value,
2. Clutter that limits or prevents the use of living spaces in the manner for which they were intended,
3. Both the clutter itself and discarding the clutter cause distress.

In order for the hoarder to address the problem, he/she must understand the causes for hoarding, the results, and reasons to change. Hoarding did not happen overnight nor will the clutter disappear overnight.
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