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Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding, and Compulsive Acquiring Paperback – November 1, 2009
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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
Top Customer Reviews
Fortunately or unfortunately, the majority of the book seems to focus on elderly hoarders (that does put a particular slant on the text), which may be positive or negative, depending on the reader. It goes into great lengths discussing the challenges of dealing with a hoarder in the grips of Alzheimer's or dementia or those who have difficulties getting around without the use of walkers or finding their medications in the clutter.
Unfortunately, for people dealing with younger/youngish hoarders, the condescending psycho-babble in the hypothetical discussions is completely off-putting (eye-rolling at times) & would lose any credibility I personally have with my particular hoarder. Additionally, once a "harm reduction team" is gathered (good luck with that), trying to get the hoarder to sign a contract about how to keep one's OWN property is also condescending, intentionally so or not. This book is really a bit better suited for older hoarders (rather than middle-aged or younger ones).
However, these techniques may work for some. Plus, the more flexible "harm reduction" approach over the more staunch "STUFF reduction" method could potentially open more hoarders to purging.
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."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought this for a friend and family. Not sure if they like it or not. But it came highly recommended by a therapist/physiatrist.Published 7 months ago by Chelzy
A very good explanation of why people hoard! Hoarding seems to be pretty much incurable, but there are a lot of hints about how to help a hoarder get more organized. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jean Diane Posell
Great place for family members to get information on how to help their loved ones with hoarding tendencies. Well worth the read. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Claire Matejka
Informative, practical, and readable work that is a reassuring and hopeful counterbalance to the depressogenic TV series, "Buried Alive."Published 20 months ago by Bruce E. Klosterhoff
Do read this book if you have a hoarder in your life. It does lay out a way forward, albeit a tough one. Clearly, it couldn't be easy. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Happy Hill
Some good tips but not all of the advice is practical or helpful. Read in reference to other materials addressing hoarding.Published on July 26, 2014 by Amazon Customer