Service for Hoarders

Most hoarders who receive help from Kahl Counseling do so because of the insistence or intervention of relatives or others who love them and are concerned about their health and safety. And most hoarders resist getting help, insisting that there's nothing wrong with their collecting and that they don't have a problem. So how do we know if someone's a hoarder?

The disorder of hoarding includes these three elements:
  1. The acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value.
  2. Living spaces are cluttered enough that they can't be used for the activities for which they were designed.
  3. Significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding.

There are three components to hoarding. Each hoarder is unique and may be especially challenged by one, two, or all three of these components:
  1. Acquiring possessions compulsively - compulsive buying, or collecting free things.
  2. Saving all these possessions and never discarding.
  3. Not organizing and maintaining all the saved possessions.

The types of possessions saved by hoarders are as individual as hoarders themselves. They may include old and unread articles and newspapers, automobiles or mechanical parts, dolls or stuffed toys, or actual live animals. People who hoard keep things for the same reasons as anyone else:

 * For sentimental value - emotional attachment or to remember an important life event.
 * For utility value - the item is, or could be, useful.
 * For aesthetic value - the item is considered to be attractive or beautiful.

The problem with hoarding is that the collections that once brought comfort and pleasure have expanded to the point where they now bring health hazards, shame, embarrassment, and social isolation. Hoarding is a progressive disorder that not only negatively impacts the indivduals who hoard but also negatively impact everyone who loves them or lives with or near them.

If you think you might be a hoarder, or you love a hoarder, you are not alone. Studies show that about 5% of the population are hoarders. Today we’re finally starting to talk about this traditionally hidden disorder, enabling hoarders to feel less isolated and more hopeful about getting help with changing their hoarding behaviors.

How We Can Help

Kahl Counseling has been specializing in working with hoarding since 2010 and in February of 2013 Polly Kahl founded the Berks County Task Force on Hoarding in order to improve services to hoarders in our region through resources networking. At Kahl Counseling we do not believe that hoarding is the problem: We believe hoarding is the symptom of deeper issues and that if we address those deeper issues the symptom of hoarding will become much easier to overcome.

Some of our services related to hoarding include professional intervention services, individual or family counseling, and occasional group services. We do not work with hoarders long distance over the telephone or the Internet because in our experience the most effective way to meet the special needs of hoarders is to experience their unique worlds through therapy sessions in their homes. If you live in or near Berks County we would be happy to work with you in your home in order to best understand you and your challenges with the disorder of hoarding.

Polly Kahl, M.A., L.P.C.
Office:  610-478-8686
Fax:  267-414-1603

All Rights Reserved © 2013 Polly Kahl, M.A., L.P.C.
Kahl Counseling & Consultation