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So it began to dawn on me that even with the notoriety and nationwide attention given the subject by the popular television series on A&E and the appearance of some good literature that many people were still in need of a concise way of understanding the disorder and a grasp of the steps of a helpful approach. Hoarding has come out of the closet. People who had been trying on their own to put the pieces together are joining others who have an increased interest in the disorder and, whether lay or professional, want to be part of the conversation and bring up their skills to effectively address it. They want to be better equipped in dealing with a problem that, truly, is often found right in our own backyard.

In writing this book I am not trying for a lengthy treatise, but rather a pocket guide. I’ve assembled my own experience along with some of the best material that has come out over the last few years, as a digest, written in plain language that can be read through and assimilated relatively quickly. I’m thinking of the social worker out there, who has been called into a hoarder’s situation with little previous background, or the worried family member who wants to approach it knowledgeably in order to do their best. My hope is that this little book will make the subject more accessible to a wider audience and serve as a springboard for future learning and experience. I especially hope, as with that young man mentioned above, that any whose heart has been troubled or patience stretched by the prolonged crisis that hoarding is, may herein find a light as they proceed forward.

–– Mark Chidley, August, 2011

Author’s Note

Cases described in this book are either shared with clients’ permission or are representative of typical client stories. Some stories have been combined and names or other identifying details have been changed to protect privacy.

Although this book offers tools to help you deal with a hoarder, it is

not a substitute for professional help. Please contact your local Task Force on Hoarding, Animal Control, or Public Health Department. They may suggest a qualified mental health professional in your area if you need additional support.

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