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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Help for Hoarders Workshop

By Elisabeth Middelberg
“I might one day buy an old record player and then I can listen to all these records I have here” Sallie says, pointing to several stacks of old vinyl records.  It is in itself a harmless statement, except Sallie’s stacks of records are almost disappearing under several other stacks of newspapers, magazines, clothes and boxes with new, small appliances and brown paper bags, the content of which is unknown, even to Sallie. Those familiar with hoarding or excessive cluttering will have recognized Sallie’s explanation of why she cannot let go of her records.

Over time, Sallie has become more and more isolated. Chairs are now used to hold books and papers and can no longer be used to sit on, and Sally does not want others to see her living environment.

Recent reality shows like “Hoarders” have started to shed light on this challenging medical condition and current research is under way to increase people’s understanding of this condition and to develop treatment models. So far it has been difficult to treat people who are hoarders, partly because hoarders often do not see the need for treatment and because the condition is deeply ingrained. Loved ones and neighbors seem more concerned about the living condition and the quality of life of someone who is hoarding than the actual hoarder.

Dr. Maryellen Curran, Ph.D, at Kaiser, Santa Rosa has led several groups for hoarders over the years. She has been able to develop treatment models that have been successful for people who are seeking help and who acknowledge that their hoarding is spinning out of control.

We are quite excited to offer a workshop on hoarding led by Dr. Curran on Sunday, September 25th at 1:00- 3:00 pm, in Guerneville. The workshop is open to the general public and will be hosted by the Metropolitan Community Church of the Redwood Empire.

If you would like to know more about hoarding, either because you have considered treatment yourself, or because you are concerned about a loved one, please join us. The suggested donation is $5.00 - $10.00, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. If you can RSVP, please do so at 707-869-9882. The workshop will be held at the Odd Fellow’s Hall - 16219 First Street in Guerneville.

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