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More Than Clutter: How To Understand And Intervene In Hoarding

Seth Wenig
Piles of clutter reach to the ceiling in a New York apartment. In the frantic aftermath of a gas explosion last year, firefighters were confronted by an entirely different disaster. They found the resident nearly entombed amid his hoarded possessions.

Hoarding is a problem that can lead to serious safety and health concerns in its most extreme forms. And as hoarding becomes better understood, more people are seeking resources to intervene in the most serious cases.

On the next Vermont Edition, we learn about what distinguishes collecting and clutter from actual hoarding, and the underlying mental health issues that are often at the root of the problem. Our guests are David O'Leary of the Chittenden County Hoarding Task Force and Kate Tibbs of the Southwestern Vermont Hoarding Task Force.

The Clutter Image Rating scale is one tool that is used in working with potential hoarders to help them understand the scope of the problem. Developed by Dr. Randy Frost at Smith College, the scale provides panels of images to illustrate the escalation of hoarding. See the Clutter Image Rating scale here.

  • Clutter Image Rating scale PDF credit: Steketee, G. & Frost, R. (2013). Treatment for Hoarding Disorder, 2nd Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, USA. www.oup.com/us

Broadcast live on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.