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Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding, and Compulsive Acquiring Paperback – November 1, 2009
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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“If your loved one has a problem with compulsive saving, this book can help you both save what really counts—yourselves! With equal parts compassion, wisdom, and practicality, Michael Tompkins and Tamara Hartl offer step-by-step instructions for helping family members and friends with hoarding challenges. The authors’ passion for their work comes through on every page, and their extensive experience is evident in every nugget of advice they offer.”
—Jeff Bell, author of When in Doubt, Make Belief: An OCD-Inspired Approach to Living with Uncertainty
From the Publisher
In Digging Out, two psychologists who specialize in compulsive hoarding show readers with a friend or family member who hoards how to use harm reduction, a proven-effective model, to help their loved one live safely and comfortably in his or her own home and improve their relationship with the hoarder.
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First off I read it and learned exactly what hoarding is from a therapist's point of view and how to begin working on the problem without upsetting anyone. The main lessons were aimed at minimising harm and they simple language the two authors use got the message over really quickly and didn't leave me guessing about any big medical terminology. They even have a section on planning out your decluttering process. We worked through the book and have made progress. It's an opn-going thing and slowly we're learning to change the way we view our home and are really beginning to enjoy it now it's not a dumping ground for junk.
Other reviewers criticize the book for its emphasis on the elderly and/or dementia sufferers. I did not find this emphasis distracting, though I must admit I see my situation inevitably heading in that direction. A more distracting technique was the repeated use of the phrase "loved one" to refer to the hoarder. Writing well is not a matter of search and replace. Nevertheless, I was motivated to finish reading the book despite its occasional formulaic quality.
The book is quite forward looking in its recognition that hoarding behavior might not be confined to OCD syndromes but also include ADHD profiles, which puts it near the leading edge of contemporary research. I wish there had been more in the book that directly addressed the relationship between OCD and ADHD behavior in hoarders. The biggest shortcoming of the book is that conceptually, and in the form of many sample dialogs, the authors assume at least some level of cooperation on the part of the hoarder. Total denial is so common yet so insurmountable that the examples seemed (to this reader) almost cartoonlike. Still, this book has schooled me in a more humane and caring approach toward my own "loved one."