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 De-Cluttered Workspace

by Robert London, MD

I made a great professional connection recently that broadened my perspective about clutter and hoarding. Having long pondered the relationship between clutter, hoarding, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), I decided to consult with a professional decluttering expert, Gillian Wells, a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, who aids people with issues of clutter. Ms. Wells studied architecture at New York’s prestigious Cooper Union, and now runs a successful business organizing homes, apartments, and offices.

Why is a psychiatrist specializing in cognitive-behavioral therapy interested in decluttering? Over the years, I have worked with a number of OCPD hoarders. In my own work with these patients, I have used guided imagery aimed first at separating into categories items to be disposed of, and then linking a pleasant experience with the act of disposing of the items. In addition, I have used a cognitive-behavioral approach, challenging the absolute need for certain items with a broader range of possibilities and probabilities. For example, I’d say to the patients: “It’s possible that you might need that item, but what is the probability that you would need it?” I’ve found this cognitive approach to be therapeutic when challenging all-or-nothing concepts involving fixed, rigid perceptions as it relates to holding on to clutter and hoarding.

Read in Full:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/two-minute-shrink/201011/decluttering-is-it-therapy



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