Hoarding: Skills-based Treatment & Assessment


SKU: LD - 111 Categories: ,


While hoarding is not a new problem, it has finally achieved the status of becoming its own diagnosable condition. Hoarding can impact people’s lives significantly, from the personal distress that the hoarding can cause to family discord and even health concerns of those in the home due to mold and infestation.

Hoarding can be dangerous if there is a shift of items that traps someone or if there is a fire in the home. In fact, a study out of Melbourne, Australia found that hoarding homes account for less than 1% of all house fires, but 24% of house fire fatalities (WPI).

Interventions for individuals who hoard should be multifaceted to ensure successful treatment. Clinicians should assess for acquiring, saving, and discarding/disorganization behaviors. It is also important to assess for executive functioning, decision-making ability, as well as possible ADHD symptoms. Further, the items themselves must be evaluated for sentimental (emotion), instrumental (useful), and intrinsic (beauty) value.

In this course we will review the basics of hoarding, the influences of acquiring and saving and disorganization, and the value that is placed on items. Further, areas of focus, such as attention, decision-making, and executive functioning will be reviewed. Case examples will be discussed from the presenter’s personal cases, as well as his cases from the show, Hoarding: Buried Alive.

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a). Learn how Hoarding is defined in the DSM-5 and is no longer considered a subset of OCD, but its own diagnosis.

b). Learn how to apply the basics of CBT for Hoarding to cases that are referred to you, including assessing areas such as executive functioning, attention, and decision-making.

c). Learn how to approach working with individuals who hoard to clean out their living space in a way that is humane and honoring of their possessions.


Target Audience:

The target audience for this event includes psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed counselors, MFT’s, and other clinical mental health professionals.


Instructional Level: Intermediate

Instructor(s): Patrick B. McGrath, Ph.D.

Material Author(s): Patrick B. McGrath, Ph.D.

Patrick B. McGrath, Ph.D. is the author of The OCD Answer Book and the workbook Don’t Try Harder, Try Different. He is the Head of Clinical Services and Lead Psychologist at Amita Health, (Residential Treatment for Anxiety, OCD and PTSD located in the Chicago Area), President of the Anxiety Center in Illinois, USA, President OCD Midwest USA, and Fellow at the Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies Association. Currently, Dr. McGrath directs both a Partial Hospitalization and an Intensive Outpatient Program for OCD and anxiety. He is the Co-Director of the School Anxiety/School Refusal Program and was awarded a grant from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs to begin a PTSD treatment program for returning veterans from Iraq. In addition to treating clients, Dr. McGrath trains students from graduate schools across the metropolitan Chicago area and provides training on anxiety disorders. Dr. McGrath’s postdoctoral fellowship was at the St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute. His experience includes leading the Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) component at Michigan State University’s Counselling Center and launching the Anxiety Services Program at Linden Oaks Hospital at Edward in Naperville, Illinois, treating individuals with intensive CBT and Exposure and Response Prevention therapy for all anxiety disorders. Dr. McGrath is a regular speaker at conferences for the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation (for which he is on the Scientific Advisory Board), the Anxiety Disorders Association of America and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. He has been featured on PBS television in Chicago for his work on PTSD, as well as in the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and on over 300 radio stations across the USA including WGN, The Sally Jesse Raphael Show and National Public Radio. He has also been featured on the documentary “Anxious” for the Discovery Health Channel, and three episodes of “Hoarding: Buried Alive” for The Learning Channel.

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