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Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Gail Steketee and Randy Frost

Randy Frost and Gail Steketee were the first to study hoarding when they began their work a decade ago; they expected to find a few sufferers but ended up treating hundreds of patients and fielding thousands of calls from the families of others. Now they explore the compulsion through a series of compelling case studies in the vein of Oliver Sacks.With vivid portraits that show us the traits by which you can identify a hoarder—piles on sofas and beds that make the furniture useless, houses that can be navigated only by following small paths called goat trails, vast piles of paper that the hoarders “churn” but never discard, even collections of animals and garbage—Frost and Steketee explain the causes and outline the often ineffective treatments for the disorder.They also illuminate the pull that possessions exert on all of us. Whether we’re savers, collectors, or compulsive cleaners, none of us is free of the impulses that drive hoarders to the extremes in which they live.

In Digging Out, you will find a complete guide to helping your loved one with a hoarding problem live safely and comfortably in his or her home or apartment. Included are realistic harm reduction strategies that you can use to help your loved one manage health and safety hazards, avoid eviction, and motivate him or her to make long-term lifestyle changes. You’ll learn how to handle a roommate or spouse with a hoarding problem, identify and work through special considerations that may arise when the person who hoards is frail and elderly, and receive guidance for healing strained relationships between people who hoard and their friends and family. Take heart. With this book as a guide, you can help your loved one live more comfortably and safely, salvage your damaged relationship, and restore your peace of mind.


Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding (Treatments That Work) by David Tolin,‎ Randy O. Frost, and‎ Gail Steketee

This fully updated Second Edition of Buried in Treasures outlines a scientifically based, effective program for helping those with hoarding disorder dig their way out of the clutter and chaos of their homes. Written by scientists and practioners who are leaders in studying and treating hoarding disorder, this book outlines a program of skill-building, learning to think about possessions in a different way, and gradual challenges to help people manage their clutter and their lives. It also provides useful information for family and friends of people who hoard, as they struggle to understand and help.



The Hoarding Handbook: A Guide for Human Service Professionals by Christiana Bratiotis,‎ Cristina Sorrentino Schmalisch, and‎ Gail Steketee

Organized around the common ways hoarding captures the attention of social service providers, this user-friendly guide provides tools to assess the problem, to coordinate and delegate tasks among helping professionals, and to work directly with reluctant hoarders and those affected by the hoarding. Chapters give hands-on guidance and decision trees for who should be involved and what strategies are needed for each case. This book is compassionate and comprehensive, an invaluable reference for social workers and human service providers in a broad range of fields.



Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Workbook (Treatments That Work) by Gail Steketee and Randy O. Frost

This Second Edition of Treatment for Hoarding Disorder is the culmination of more than 20 years of research on understanding hoarding and building an effective intervention to address its myriad components. Thoroughly updated and reflective of changes made to the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5), this second edition of the client Workbook and accompanying Therapist Guide outlines an empirically supported and effective CBT program for treating hoarding disorder. This Workbook is meant to guide clients through their treatment for hoarding disorder with their clinician. It includes homework, forms, exercises, and behavioral experiments for clients to test their personal beliefs about possessions, develop an organization plan and filing system, and sort and organize items room by room. A major goal of the treatment is to recapture the positive role of possessions in the lives of people with hoarding problems, and strategies are outlined for sustaining gains and making further progress, as well as for managing stressful life events that can provoke problematic acquiring and difficulty discarding.

Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring: Therapist Guide (Treatments That Work) by Gail Steketee and Randy O. Frost

Written by the developers of this groundbreaking treatment, this manual is the first to present an empirically supported and effective CBT program for treating compulsive hoarding and acquiring. This guide gives clinicians the information to understand hoarding and proven tools to help clients overcome their compulsive behaviors. It teaches individuals how to recognize errors in thinking and uses both imagined and real exposures to teach them the skills they need to manage their problem. Home visits by the clinician are a part of the treatment, as well as consultations with other professionals who might assist if necessary. Homework exercises include behavioral experiments to test personal beliefs about possessions, developing an organization plan and filing system, and sorting and organizing items room-by-room.


If you know of another book that belongs on this list let us know here or tell us about it in the comments. Make sure you’re also following The Therapist’s Bookshelf on Facebook and Instagram.

Many therapists enjoy recommending books to their clients to supplement the work they are doing together. We also use books to help ourselves grow as people and practitioners. Remember though that books are never a replacement for real human connection or for therapy when it’s needed. If you find yourself needing a therapist, a great place to start is Psychology Today. If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.


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