Working with families of people who hoard: a harm reduction approach

J Clin Psychol. 2011 May;67(5):497-506. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20797. Epub 2011 Feb 28.


Approximately, 3%-5% of the U.S. population suffers from compulsive hoarding but others suffer as well, in particular, the family members who care about them. This article describes the manifold ways family members suffer because of their loved one's hoarding behavior, including the frustration and hopelessness many family members experience in the face of their loved one's steadfast refusal to accept help for their hoarding problem. The article presents harm reduction as a way for family members to help a loved one who is unwilling to accept treatment of the hoarding problem. The article then presents two clinical examples-a private hoarding situation and a public hoarding situation-to illustrate the application of harm reduction to hoarding.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Family Therapy*
  • Female
  • Harm Reduction*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / therapy*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Program Development