Hoarding might be the source of some perverse amusement when it's in the reality show format, but for those who live with this mental issue, it's nothing to laugh about. Many people struggle with some degree of hoarding tendencies, even if they don't live up to their waists in a mess. Whether you can admit that you're a bit of a hoarder or a loved one is quick to tell you so, it's a good idea to consider speaking to a therapist. This mental health professional can be a useful ally to you as you work to better understand this behavior and correct it. Here are some things that therapy can help you with.

Determining the Cause

It's helpful to determine the cause of your hoarding tendencies. Armed with this knowledge, you'll have better luck trying to curb this behavior. There are many reasons that people engage in hoarding behavior. For example, perhaps you're quick to develop a high degree of sentimentality to your possessions, which makes you unable to throw them out — even if they're no longer useful. Or, perhaps the feeling of excess that surrounds you makes you feel affluent. Whatever the case, your therapist can gently help you to explore and understand it.

Discussing the Removal of Items

Some hoarders never get to the point at which they sit down and think about what life might be like without all of the items that clutter their home. For example, you might just find your surroundings to be a comfort and the thought of cleaning up could scare you. Your therapist can gently guide you through the experience of tidying up your home without actually physically doing it. He or she can offer some thoughts on what the home might look like when decluttered, and you can talk about how this makes you feel. Ideally, it won't be as stressful as you might expect.

Curbing These Tendencies

Your therapist can also help you to curb the feelings that you have that compel you to engage in hoarding behavior. He or she can introduce different techniques that you can adopt whenever you feel the need to keep something that you really don't have a genuine use for. For example, the therapist may advocate the use of some self-questioning, such as asking yourself if you need to keep the item and what's the worst that could happen if you were to get rid of the item.

If you are ready to take the next step and ready to seek therapist services, contact a professional who can help you understand and curb your hoarding.