Hoarding: Practical Steps to Staging an Intervention

Hi, and welcome to this week’s blog post on our series on Hoarding.

The last couple of posts, we have been preparing you for taking this important step to support your loved one.

In the second post, we talked about planning the steps before staging the intervention, and making sure it is the right way to go with your particular hoarder in mind.

Checking other avenues before staging an intervention might be key as it might not actually be necessary – this will depend on the hoarders’ state of mind and openness to conversations about their current situation.

Let’s get right to the steps we might need to take into account when working towards the date you’ve scheduled your intervention for.

The main thing to keep in mind, we believe, is to back up everything you say and do during the intervention.

This will build up your confidence before and during the meeting, and ensure the best results possible.

Of course, we can’t guarantee your loved one’s reactions or whether they’ll take your support.

All you can do is try, and trying will be appreciated, now or later.

Another thing to be mindful of is that they might not say “yes” to your support straight away.

They might need some time to think about it, and work through any feelings that might come up for them during the session (anger, sadness, guilt, shame, resentment, and other strong emotions might come up for your loved one during the sessions, and this is OK.)

Be prepared for those strong emotions, and be ready to sit with these as they come up.

Finding ways to keep everyone safe is key and a therapist will help you get strategies and ideas in place so you can build up your resilience and anticipate these strong emotions and your responses to them as they arise.

This is where having a session with a therapist, like myself, might be helpful.

I (Karin) have trained to be able to sit with a variety of different situations that bring up strong emotions in my clients, and an intervention will certainly bring a lot of stuff up!

Through Stacey’s website, you can book an initial call with her, and then she’ll put you in touch with me (or you can contact me directly, and I’ll liaise with Stacey in order to support you in the best and most holistic way possible).

Having spoken to a professional organiser and therapist will give you more tools to prepare what you’ll say.

Having a team behind you will show your loved one that you’re serious about helping them, and that you’ve done your homework before addressing this directly with them.

During your planning, take into account the personal experience and situation of your loved one, as well as their personality and the ways they respond to difficult conversations and situations in their lives.

You know them best, and this will help you plan your words carefully, in a way that will be compassionate, caring, and aware of their autonomy and right to make decisions that, to everyone else, might seem like “wrong” decisions.

Writing down what you want to say will be important.

We’ve all been there, we have all the things planned out in our minds, and when it comes to the moment of having the conversation, we get diverted, or emotions get the best of us and we miss out saying all we wanted to say.

We might also get nervous and forget half of the stuff we wanted to say that might have been helpful.

Getting together to plan this will make your intervention more fruitful.

Again, it will also build your confidence in what you are tackling, and build the team’s trust and confidence in one another.

Each member can take up one item on the list of things you want to run through with the hoarder, lightening the load for everyone.

Even though Stacey and I are available online as well as in person, we can’t be available to everyone, especially if in a different part of the country, so get in touch us for conversations about your particular situation, and we’ll do our best to help out with as much as we can.

In the case where Stacey can’t travel to your location to help with the decluttering process, we recommend you get in touch with local businesses that help with decluttering, and places where your loved one can donate their belongings.

Stacey works with Shelter, which is a great charity to work with!

By mentioning donation, your loved one might also be given food for thought regarding making a difference in someone else’s life, by giving their unwanted clutter to someone who will benefit from it once they’ve taken the step to get rid of it.

Finally there are two more steps to take to ensure your intervention runs as smoothly as possible:

Trial run!

Get together with the team that will be present during the intervention – friends, family, professionals – and plan for as many eventualities as possible.

Putting your heads together to figure out how to tackle each arising challenge, and writing down (as mentioned above) what you want to talk about, will be key.

Summary sheet

Providing a summary of what the meeting was about, and what you spoke about, as well as including services and people you’ve contacted to enquire about hoarding support, will allow your loved one to go away and think about these things.

You can include our blog post links if you’d like.

A summary sheet will allow them to read the content and spend time thinking about what they want to do about their hoarding issue.

This sheet might also be a great starting point for them to get the help they need, both psychological and practical.

If anything has come up for you while reading this post, do get in touch to discuss this. Stacey and Karin will be happy to help!

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