Do you have depression that has resisted treatment? It just keeps on taking control of your life? Recent studies have evidenced that being "over controlled" makes the depression stick around. The person who has a need to be perfect in every way and to be in control of their thoughts and emotions has a harder time getting rid of depression, according to these studies. What does that mean? Treatment needs to focus on the underlying issues of perfectionism and the problems acknowledging and expressing emotions, not just on negative thinking. Being in relationships with others is good for depression but when one can't connect to oneself, it is hard to connect with others! Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy is a treatment that works on these underlying personality patterns and helps the person kick back perfectionism and also be more open in relationships. And therefore, less depressed.
In our culture, people get too busy to sort, discard, and declutter. When this becomes a problem for the person and/or their family, then that person might call me or someone else with special training in clutter and hoarding. They start with a relatively normal amount of possessions but somehow this number takes off! The hoarder can get started in "letting go" but often becomes overwhelmed and discouraged.
What is hoarding? It is not just collecting. For example, those who save stamps are not hoarding. Hoarding is acquiring and keeping things that are useless or relatively useless. There is usually a lot of anxiety in letting go of these useless things. Hoarders generally have problems making decisions about what to keep, how to sort, etc. They seem to process information differently and in a more complex way about filing and sorting. They may or may not have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Hoarding can lead to social isolation. It also fosters marital discord. When the person is also a compulsive shopper, it can mean financial difficulties. When the person has so much "stuff," cleaning can become more difficult and there can be consequent health hazards.
One of the national experts on hoarding is Randy Frost. Here is his summary on some of the underlying issues which lead to hoarding:
I became a clinical psychologist in midlife, after renting out my house on the East Coast and giving up a job as a school psychologist to move to the West Coast for more graduate work. I had no idea how expensive or how many years it would take, but I am glad that I underestimated all that, and that this second phase of my life came to be. However, after so many years of being a psychologist, as with those in any other profession, things get ..."dry." We can lose a sense of what we were after...for me, that was helping people.
I went to several conferences recently and organized a workshop for sufferers of OCD. That all helped me regain my vision. Seeing people in a large group who were still suffering from OCD reminded me of the impact targeted therapy can have for this population. Perhaps those attending don't know it, but they were helpful to me in ways they probably cannot imagine: they restored my vision.
Then I went to an awesome training for behavior treatment of Tourettes and tic disorders. That might not sound exciting...until you think about the impact that these disorders can have on a person, especially when they get worse at the very worst time of life: early adolescence. Getting scientifically based treatment methods to help manage these symptoms (notice I did not say "cure"!) gave ME an extra reason to be a psychologist. Until recently, the only treatments available were medications, and while these are sometimes effective (and I am not speaking against medication!), they do usually have side effects, and these can be very troubling. So, yes, it was worth the trip to Canada for this training if I can help some people get back in control of their movements and vocalizations and yes, their lives. Makes being a psychologist much more meaningful. Yeah!
I am a psychologist in the Baltimore-Washington area with a special interest in OCD, sexual compulsion, tics, and long-term ways of being in the world which get in the way of success and happiness. I love Exposure and Response Prevention for OCD, CBIT for Tics and Touretttes, and EMDR for Traumas (big and small). I love ISTDP (Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy) for overcoming long-term patterns of interacting that can cause depression and anxiety but which can be overcome. For all of these treatments, collaboration is important. That means you must be an active participant. I also treat children and adolescents, and then their parents need to participate, based on the child's age and level of maturity.