Call us on 44 7700 900693

Home » News » Hoarding & Trauma informed Practice

Hoarding & Trauma informed Practice

Approaches to trauma informed practice with Hoarding logo



Kayley Hyman, from Holistic Hoarding, looks at how understanding trauma is key to supporting those with Hoarding Disorder/Behaviour.

The link between trauma and hoarding behaviours

In most cases of hoarding, there is an emotional attachment/response to the items being hoarded, experiencing a traumatic event is often one of the biggest triggers. Hoarding is the response to a prior event, the best way to be able to support a client on their hoarding journey is by understanding the reasoning behind it.
Below is a few of the most common forms of trauma seen in those who hoard.
  • Bereavement – Bereavement is one of the most significant traumas that humankind can experience, Hoarding can come as an entirely natural response to this. Items can offer a safety net to protect individuals against what they have/will go through.
  • Hoarding as a form of control – Controlling behaviour is fear based, usually triggered by an event that makes individuals feel unsafe. Control is then used in an attempt to avoid the painful past, seen in those with Hoarding Disorder / Behaviour by the control they keep over their hoard/belongings.
  • Hoarding is an addictive behaviour – Addiction is common in so many areas of life, alcohol, drugs, food and this is exactly the same manifestation for those who hoard. To break the hoarding cycle would be equally as challenging as quitting smoking.

Hoarding & Continued Trauma

Hoarding & Housing 

As discussed above, trauma can be what manifests into hoarding and the trauma unfortunately does not stop there. A lot of individuals then face the threat of losing their home due to their hoard.

32% of all people who hoard are currently threatened with imminent eviction.
44% have a previous history of legal eviction proceedings.
20% have been evicted from their home at least once.
For an individual who has already gone through a life event which has taken away most of their control, to then be threatened with losing the one thing that protects them ( the hoard ), it can cause even more irreversible emotional damage. A clinical treatment centre in Oregon works with people who are facing eviction, the treatment they offer to these clients is the same treatment offered for PTSD.
Understanding the extended pressure this puts on individuals with hoarding disorder / behaviour heightens the need for services to be in place that support them fully through the process of managing their hoarding. Threatening eviction and forcing entire clearances does not fix the problem, it only makes it worse.
causes and feelings of trauma

Hoarding & Suicide 

Having touched upon some areas that cause/spike trauma within individuals who have hoarding disorder/behaviour, understanding the affects this then has and how it can be combatted is a vital part of supporting clients through their hoarding journey.

Hoarding Disorder has a lifetime suicide attempt rate of 24.1%

When comparing side by side, the risk factor list for hoarding disorder and the list for suicide, they match up nearly identically. When looking at the impact of the trauma linked to hoarding, limited access to appropriate support and then the misunderstanding of others around, it unfortunately is clear why.

Creating compassionate dialogues with people who’ve experienced trauma

hands making a heart showing compassion for trauma

Treating the client separately to their hoard is key.

They are not the items they collect, they are the human who has gone through a traumatic life event, resulting in finding comfort in a manner which worked for them.

We need to hear the positives about this behaviour and acknowledge with the person that this behaviour is bringing them something that is missing in their life – safety… protection… enjoyment… companionship.

We need to reiterate to them, time and time again, that they are deserving of all of these things.”

Interested in further training?

Clouds End will be launching a full day session with Kayley, Holistic Hoarding, very soon. With the focus entirely on Trauma Informed Practice.

Sign up to the emails to be the first to know when this is available to book.

Contact us for more information

Clouds End logo

Hoarding Support –

Hoarding Training – 

3 Responsesso far.

  1. Tsega Spence says:

    The training and information regarding hoarding /trauma is vital to understand the issue and hopefully to deal with it appropriately.

  2. CAROL MCCABE says:

    Interested in further training

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *