Buried in Treasure

Buried in Treasures (BIT) 15 week course

Hoarding Disorder (HD) is a severe and complex mental health disorder with the potential to affect a person’s health, finances, and tenancy. It may also result in the removal of children living in the home. It also makes it impossible to use the rooms in the home for their intended purposes, such as sleep in their bed, cook in the kitchen, and use the bathroom. 

People with HD may feel shame and guilt, and struggle to understand why they can’t stop the behaviour and community stigma and misunderstanding around this disorder also intensifies the problem, which contributes to the person’s reluctance to seek help. 

HD is often characterised by some or all of the following
• A fear of throwing things away in case it’s needed;
• Very strong, often distorted beliefs about the value of items and their usefulness;
• Strong emotional attachments to possessions;
• High levels of anxiety in discarding items;
• Perfectionism and fear of making mistakes;
• Strong beliefs about being wasteful if they discard anything;
• Underestimating memory so may be reluctant to store things out of sight;
• Very strong beliefs about control, often resulting in a reluctance to discard and receive support;
• Overthinking issues and confusion to the point of inaction;
• Lacking in ability to organise possessions in a way that decreases clutter;
• Making excuses to avoid dealing with the problem because it’s too overwhelming. 

Organisations and front line workers often believe a ‘clean-up’ is the first step in intervention. This ignores the other aspects of the disorder such as the behavioural, psychological and emotional barriers. Without a coordinated approach to manage all these areas, progress and recovery for the person will be minimal. The person with HD may even revert to their old behaviours, or worse, within 1-2 weeks. 

Help is Available
SWS Recovery College offers learning and support for consumers through the Buried in Treasures (BIT) Support Program. BIT is a 15 week course for people struggling to get their clutter under control. SWS Recovery College also invites family members and service providers to participate in the program to learn strategies about how to support people living in excessive clutter. 

The program helps people to understand why they hoard and why they are unable to get it under control. It gives participants the tools and strategies to assist in sorting and discarding, while meeting others with similar struggles.

Student Learning Outcomes

– Understanding the psychological, behavioural and emotional behaviours of a Hoarding Disorder
– Understand the barriers to decluttering
– Develop the skills to declutter and discard

Next commencement:

The next course will be commencing in October 2020 (Spring Term.)
Email swsrecoverycollege@mdservices.com.au or call (02) 4621 8400 to express your interest