The Root of Hoarding


Does watching “Hoarding: Buried Alive” intrigue you?  Do you ever wonder why someone would live in uninhabitable conditions?  What causes hoarding?

As an LPC-Intern, I continue to learn about diagnoses to extend my clinical knowledge.  One of the specialty areas that I have chosen to improve upon is: compulsive hoarding.  I have watched numerous episodes of “Hoarders” and imagined how I would counsel someone in that situation.

I did not know much about hoarding, except for what was shown on TV.  The conclusions I came to, based off of the TV show, was two things: 1. Children of parents that experienced the Great Depression era are easily susceptible to hoarding and/or 2. Individuals that experienced a great loss and used hoarding as a way to preserve.  So, to expand my knowledge, I decided to dig up a few more interesting facts regarding this topic.

Below are 10 interesting points that has listed regarding compulsive hoarding habits:

1. Roughly 700,000 to 1.4 million individuals are affected by compulsive hoarding.

2. Compulsive hoarding is a variation of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD); 18-42% of individuals with OCD experience some compulsive hoarding.

3. A region on Chromosome 14 has been suggested to be linked to compulsive hoarding behavior.  That means, compulsive hoarding may run in families.

4. Compulsive hoarding may start as early as childhood-teen years.  However, the hoarding usually does not get identified until adulthood.

5. Contrary to popular belief, hoarding is not about saving or collecting.  Hoarding is more connected to the fear of throwing something away.

6. Hoarders = Perfectionists.  Not all, but many, fear making the wrong decisions.

7. Compulsive hoarding may be accompanied by another mental health diagnosis: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.

8. Me?  I have a problem?  Usually the individual that hoards does not recognize a problem until family/friends address the issue.

9. Controlling compulsive hoarding may be difficult.  Many times hoarding is treated like OCD, but the response is not always successful.

10. A therapy technique, known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) may be more effective in treating hoarding than medications.  A consistent behavioral program can assist the individual in his/her beliefs regarding the clutter.

Now that we have discussed hoarding factoids, it is time for some deep cleaning…

Love letter

Love letter

This week I would like you to shower yourself with love. Start off by writing a love letter to yourself. Next call your voicemail and read that love letter to yourself. Lastly, call your voicemail and listen to the message you left yourself. Save that message so that you can listen to it anytime you need to remind yourself why you are important and why you love yourself. If you are stuck and cannot find positive words  to write to yourself give us a call. We have very flexible scheduling and rates.

Vernesa Perry

Effective Grounding Techniques

Effective Grounding Techniques

Parents, I am not speaking of effective grounding techniques to assist in punishing your children… I am speaking of being grounded in the present.  Just being.

Now a days, we run around with our head chopped off trying to juggle all of our adult responsibilities — taking care of children, attending a 40+ hour job, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, budgeting, showering, etc etc etc.  When do we find time to relax?  Well, here is your time.

Below are some effective grounding techniques that I have suggested to my clients (and used on myself) to have a few minutes of relaxation:

1. Deep breathing.  Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor.  Make sure that your ankles align with your knees.  Next, breathe in through your nose for 5 seconds.  Hold your breath for 2 seconds.  Now, exhale through your mouth for 7 seconds.  Repeat the breathing process until you feel your anxiety lowering.  If you are a smoker, you might want to adjust the seconds to 3-2-5.  Please, if you start to feel light headed… stop.  You’ll need enough oxygen flowing through your brain to try the other grounding techniques.

2. Imagery.  This is one of my favorite techniques.  Image yourself being on the sunny Florida beach… the sun rays hitting your skin, wiggling your toes in the soft, white sand, hearing the waves come up on the shore.  Did you find yourself feeling warm, relaxed and wiggling your toes?  If so, you are working with imagery!  If your not a beach fan, choose a scenery that takes you away to a relaxed state of mind.

3. Tense/Release.  Start by tensing up your toes as tight as you can.  Now release.  Move to tensing up your foot.  Release.  Next, tense your calf muscles.  Release.  Work your way upward tensing and relaxing each muscle/ligament.  When you finally release your temples, your whole body should feel completely relaxed.

4. Alphabet City.  Remember when you were a kid picking out signage, streets, and/or buildings with a letter of the alphabet?  This technique is along the same lines…  Start with A and think of a city (whether it be in the U.S. or worldwide) that starts with an A (ex: Albuquerque).  Next, think of B.  Maybe, Berlin?  Attempt to complete the entire alphabet or until you feel calm.

5. Self Affirmations.  You can make it through your hectic day… I know you can!  I have my clients say a positive statement about themselves each morning.  However, self affirmation statements (I am…, I will…, I choose…) can be used anytime during the day/night to boost your confidence and lower anxiety.  Keep your self affirmation statements short and sweet — approximately 3 word sentences.  A positive statement can go a long way, give it a try!

There are many more grounding techniques available.  My suggestion is to attempt each technique and see which one works for you.  If you are aware of another grounding technique, feel free to comment below!

Now you can return to your busy schedule with hopefully a little less stress.  Be blessed!


The oxygen you need

When you are not communicating in your marriage you are giving the devil uncontested time to talk to each of you separately, sowing seeds of suspicion, doubt and lies. The silent treatment is the loudest invitation of trouble in your marriage. Regardless of how bad things get between you and your spouse, keep talking. Here is a daily communication activity you can start:

Appreciations: Share five things you appreciate about each other. These can range from the simple “I like your smile” to the sublime “I like it that you were able to kiss and make up after I forgot to pick you up last night.” It can be a nice surprise to realize just how much our partners notice and appreciate.

Wishes, Hopes, and Dreams: Describe three things you hope for in the long run (“I hope to complete a marathon by the time I’m 40”) and in the short run (“This week-end I’d like to spend a half-hour alone with my dad when he visits.”) A partner who understands your dreams is able to help them happen.

New Information: We often forget to update our partner about a change in plans or circumstances. We tell people at work or a family member and think we’ve told our spouse. Make the daily updates a ritual. Information like “The dentist said Bobby won’t need braces after all” is crucial to staying in-synch and feeling connected.

Puzzles: Clear-up big or little mysteries before they become suspicions, jealousy, false assumptions, or resentments. Most “puzzles” have simple explanations. “You promised you’d water the tomatoes before you left this morning. What happened?” You have to ask.

Complaints with Request for Change: Get in the habit of saying what you want rather than what you don’t want. Describe a specific behavior that bothers you and explain how you’d like it done. Instead of “I get furious when you call and don’t leave a message,” say, “Honey, when you call and get the machine, please don’t say ‘It’s me’ and hang up. Say why you’re calling, and when you’ll call back, or be home, or whatever it was you were calling to tell me.”

If you are finding that this is not working please give us a call. We have very flexible availability as well as price ranges to meet your needs.

Retrieved from

True Path to Success

true path
“…love yourself, love your work, love the people around you. Dare to love those who are different from you, no matter where they’re from, what they look like, and who they love. Pursue this life of love with focus and passion and ambition and courage. Give it your all. And that will be your path to true success.” – John Legend

Truth about divorce

Truth about divorce

Many years ago, the myth began to circulate that if parents are unhappy, the kids are unhappy, too. So divorce could help both parent and child. “What’s good for mom or dad is good for the children,” it was assumed. But we now have an enormous amount of research on divorce and children, all pointing to the same stubborn truth: Kids suffer when moms and dads split up. (And divorce doesn’t make mom and dad happier, either.)

The emotional scars have visible consequences. More than 30 years of research continues to reveal the negative effects of divorce on children. Most of these measurable effects are calculated in increased risks. In other words, while divorce does not mean these effects will definitely occur in your child, it does greatly increase the risks. The odds are simply against your kids if you divorce.

Research comparing children of divorced parents to children with married parents shows:

Children from divorced homes suffer academically. They experience high levels of behavioral problems. Their grades suffer, and they are less likely to graduate from high school.

Kids whose parents divorce are substantially more likely to be incarcerated for committing a crime as a juvenile.

Because the custodial parent’s income drops substantially after a divorce, children in divorced homes are almost five times more likely to live in poverty than are children with married parents.

Teens from divorced homes are much more likely to engage in drug and alcohol use, as well as sexual intercourse than are those from intact families.

Before you say, “Not my kid,” remember that the children and teens represented in these statistics are normal kids, probably not much different from yours. Their parents didn’t think they would get involved in these things, either. Again, we’re looking at increased risks.

A few more statistics to consider:

Children from divorced homes experience illness more frequently and recover from sickness more slowly. They are also more likely to suffer child abuse.

Children of divorced parents suffer more frequently from symptoms of psychological distress. And the emotional scars of divorce last into adulthood.

The scope of this last finding – children suffer emotionally from their parents’ divorce – has been largely underestimated. Obviously, not every child of divorce commits crime or drops out of school. Some do well in school and even become high achievers. However, we now know that even these children experience deep and lasting emotional trauma.

For all children, their parents’ divorce colors their view of the world and relationships for the rest of their lives.

What parents see as a quick way out often results in emotional damage that the children will carry for 30 years or more. Divorce is no small thing to children. It is the violent ripping apart of their parents, a loss of stability and often a complete shock. While we often think of children as resilient, going through such trauma is a lot to ask of our kids.

In light of the fact that most marriages heading for divorce can be salvaged and turned into great marriages, parents should take a long pause before choosing divorce. While it may seem like a solution to you, it’s not an easy out for you or your kids. We are here to help. Give us a call and schedule an appointment.

Information retrieved from Focus on the Family.