Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Our morning presenter: Dr. Randy O. Frost "Knee Deep in Clutter" Conference held on June 19th at Beverly COA

Dr. Randy O. Frost is the Howard Edward and Elsa Siipola Israel Professor of Psychology at Smith College. He is an internationally known expert on obsessive-compulsive disorder and compulsive hoarding, as well as the pathology of perfectionism. He has published over 100 scientific articles and book chapters on these topics. His work has been funded by NIMH and the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation. He has co-authored several books on hoarding including Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring: Therapist Guide and an accompanying workbook as well as Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving and Hoarding (both published by Oxford University Press in 2007). His research has been featured on a variety of television and radio news shows including 20/20 Downtown, Good Morning America, Dateline, National Public Radio (general news as well as the award winning program The Infinite Mind), BBC News, and Canadian Broadcasting Company's The Nature of Things.

Dr. Frost's presentation was entitled "Buried in Treasures: Compulsive Hoarding and its Treatment". He gave an excellent overview of his many years of research on this topic.

To summarize, his definition of compulsive hoarding is: a) the acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions b) living spaces that are sufficiently cluttered as to preclude their intended use c) significant distress or impairment caused by the clutter.

Dr. Frost then went on to describe the manifestations of hoarding: compulsive acquiring, compulsive saving and disorganization. Further information was given on the epidemiology of the disorder, its relation to other types of mental illness, demographics of sufferers, and the course of the illness.

He then presented his conceptual model of compulsive hoarding. The people he has studied have many similar core beliefs and vulnerabilities, information processing defecits, problems with emotional attachments, beliefs about possessions, and emotional reactions.

Dr. Frost's treatment approach entails a cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is detailed in his therapy manual and self-help book.

For more information on Dr. Frost's work, please refer to the links on the left side of this page.

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