Monthly Archives: April 2006

a house full of stuff

i have recently heard from a number of people who have difficulties with what could be called “hoarding” – ammassing and keeping more possessions or even animals than one can house in a living space. this oversupply then becomes a problem, either for the person who accumulates these items, and/or for those sharing and/or visiting.

here are some examples of the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that can go along with that. it’s important to keep in mind that not everybody who experiences them has a big problem; or that this list of thoughts, feelings and behaviours is the “packing slip” that always comes with hoarding. however, if anyone recognizes some of these things in themselves and is troubled by them, it’s good to know that you’re not alone, and that there is help.

some people might experience

a fear of

  • losing and discarding important things
  • making mistakes
  • forgetting important life experiences or information that one may need in the future
  • letting things literally “out of sight”

a need for

  • strong emotional attachment to and identification with objects; sometimes these objects are mementos
  • rationalizing why each object “must” be kept (it has monetary, practical or sentimal value; will be needed in the future, by the owner or someone else; there is a responsibility that the items must be disposed of properly; the item is unique; something bad will happen with the item is discarded)

a difficulty with

  • categorizing and organizing objects and information
  • controlling the urge to collect items, even when collecting them is detrimental
  • deciding what things to throw away


  • feeling overwhelmed by a house full of collected items or junk
  • procrastination because it’s hard to know where to start
  • excessive shopping, on and off line, sometimes because shopping reduces anxiety
  • above average “magical thinking” related to objects
  • some people also “hoard” animals, especially cats
  • depression (both as a result and as a cause of the above)

what can be done?

that’s material for a whole new post. in the meantime, here are some web sites that might be helpful for some:
(note: this last site is called “messies anonymous” but i would not consider it a regular 12-step program)

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

anorexia and the naked body

yesterday, at a lovely meeting of the vancouver chapter of valley women’s network, i met laara atley, originally from finland, the land of saunas. we were talking about body image, plastic surgery and the like when laara made the very valid comment that people who were brought up in a culture where nakedness is normal (such as in finland), an obsession with body image may not be nearly as prevalent as here in north america.

i tried to find some research on this but Continue reading

psychiatric medication and diagnoses, working hand in hand

Many Authors Of Mental Health Diagnosis Guidelines Have Financial Ties To Drug Makers, Study Says

The majority of psychiatrists who worked on the most recent edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s widely influential diagnostic manual had financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry before, during or after the manual was published.

more …

are we surprised?

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

the psychology of cyberspace

john suler of rider university on the psychology of cyberspace, with titallating topics like

cyberspace as psychological space
cyberspace as dream world
bringing online and offline living together

and of course it includes a (large!) section on online therapy. in the myths of online therapy, there are two interesting comments:

Many sexual abuse survivors report Continue reading

mood tracking software

medicalnews tells us today

Dutch researcher Maarten de Rijke and his co-workers Gilad Mishne and Krisztian Balog have developed a new programme that can trace and explain significant changes in mood patterns on the Internet. MoodViews is a collection of instruments that maps the mood of bloggers as they write their message.

this is the kind of thing they post:

blog mood analysis

(this changes every 10 minutes or so – so come back and Continue reading

weird psychology

and for today: some weeeeiiiiird ideas about the human psyche:

here we have a list of self defeating behaviours, which, nancy spoolman says, require ‘negative techniques‘. okay, that makes sense so far, although there is something a little strange about these long lists of negativities found on this web site. but how is this for a ‘negative technique’:

“To institutionalize deviant sexual behavior by developing views that society is an ogre for not accepting this behavior as normal, by involving self in the gay and loose liberation movements, and by surrounding yourself with people who reinforce these behaviors.”

hmmmm … gay and loose liberation movements as negative techniques to support self sabotage … interesting …

oh, and stuttering is self-sabotage, too, apparently.


isabella mori
counselling in vancouver