Special Help for People with Serious and Challenging Disorganization

Faith Manierre has special training in working with people who have more serious problems with disorganization, as well as people with hoarding tendencies. In fact, she’s the only professional organizer in Connecticut with this specialized education. Combined with Faith’s passion for her work, her empathy for and patience with clients, and her creativity, you couldn’t make a better plan for overcoming challenging disorganization than working with Faith.

Expert help for people with chronic disorganization

Faith’s passion for her work, along with her education and experience, leads to long-term relationships with clients who need more sustained help. She builds trust with clients and engages with them in a way that creates lasting changes. Find out more about setting up time to talk by phone with Faith to get the process started.

If you’re looking for help with chronic clutter or the more serious organization problems resulting from depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, hoarding, or Traumatic Brain Injury, you’ve come to the right place. Faith has special training in—and years of experience with—working with people who need gentle, patient help to put their lives in order.

More about hoarding and challenging disorganization

What is chronic or challenging disorganization?

The Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) defines chronic and challenging disorganization this way:

Chronic disorganization is having a past history of disorganization in which self-help efforts to change have failed. The disorganization is undermining the current quality of life, and there is an expectation of future disorganization.

Find ICD fact sheets and information about teleclasses on Chronic Disorganization.

What are some causes of chronic or challenging disorganization?

  • The most common cause of organization problems is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)/Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). You might have heard that term applied to school-aged children, but adults also suffer from this neurological disorder that leads to impulsive actions, hyperactivity, and the inability to pay attention.The National Institute of Mental Health (links to http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml) says that adults with ADHD may have trouble getting organized and sticking to a task. Daily tasks like keeping appointments, attending to paperwork, getting to work on time, and being productive at work and at home can be a challenge for adults with ADHD or ADD.
  • Chronic pain can be another cause of chronic disorganization. It’s hard to plan your day, do your errands, clean your house, and check off items from your to-do list when your body hurts all the time. If you suffer from arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or experience chronic pain from another cause, it could play a part in your disorganization.
  • Depression is another condition that can lead to disorganization. It’s hard to stay motivated and organized if you feel hopeless and exhausted most of the time. Sometimes it’s all you can do to get out of bed, let alone organize your kitchen or keep up with a busy work schedule.
  • A traumatic brain injury can also lead to chronic disorganization. Even a mild concussion can lead to problems organizing your time and activities.
  • Other causes of chronic disorganization include short-term memory loss, the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

What is hoarding?

Hoarding is the most extreme form of chronic disorganization. Compulsive hoarding is characterized by accumulating objects that most people would consider useless, being unable to get rid of these objects, and finding the resulting clutter disruptive to your life.

Here’s a technical definition of chronic hoarding from Buried in Treasures, Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving and Hoarding, by David F. Tobin, Randy O. Frost, and Gail Steketee (Oxford University Press, 2007):

Compulsive hoarding is thought to be present when all three of the following criteria are met: (1) You accumulate, and then have great difficulty discarding objects that most other people would consider useless or of limited value; (2) The clutter is so severe that it prevents or seriously limits the use of living spaces in the manner for which those spaces were intended; (3) The clutter, acquiring or difficulty discarding causes significant impairment or distress.

The authors, specialists in compulsive hoarding, consider it a “diagnosable behavioral syndrome…part of a psychiatric disorder.”

How do I know if I have a hoarding problem?

You have a problem if you:

  • Are surrounded by piles of mail, catalogs, paperwork, bills, newspapers and can’t seem to sort through them, discard them, or put them away
  • Have to walk around bags or boxes of things you purchased over weeks and months but haven’t yet put away
  • Are getting worse and worse with your disorganization and chaos
  • Continually try organization systems but don’t stick with anything for very long
  • Are always late for appointments because you can’t focus on one step at a time
  • Are always losing things like your car keys or wallet or purse or briefcase
  • Are always in a state of chaos
  • Are unable to finish projects you’ve started
  • Feel upset by having to stay late to finish your work
  • Avoid having guests over because you’re ashamed of how your home looks

But don’t panic—compassionate, nonjudgmental help is available. (links to Contact page)

What is collaborative therapy?

Faith of Busy Bees Professional Organizing works collaboratively with her clients’ therapists, families, social workers and other sources of support. This process is very helpful when clients have compulsive hoarding or other diagnosed mental health conditions.

Collaborative therapy can involve psychiatrists, psychotherapists, the client’s family members, a professional organizer, social worker and other local agencies all working and planning together to help the client create long-lasting changes in his or her home.

The Collaborative Therapy model was first developed and applied by compulsive hoarding experts Roland Rotz, Ph.D. and Heidi Schulz, CPO-CD®. (links to  http://www.heidischulz.com/pgs/collaboratrs.html)

How can collaborative therapy help me?

Faith’s collaborative work with her clients’ other sources of support is unique—no one else in Connecticut uses this approach or provides this level of professional service for people with chronic disorganization. Through patient encouragement, she assists people who feel helpless and “buried” by their clutter and disorganization. In a gentle, compassionate and adaptable way, Faith will help you:

  • Reduce clutter and the shame that goes with it.
  • Organize and complete a project you thought was unmanageable.
  • Turn your goals into life-changing actions.
  • Invite people into your home again!
  • Work through the challenges you’ll encounter as you make changes.
  • Gain personal satisfaction as you learn new skills that you can apply to other areas of your life.

Like working with a personal trainer, this kind of work can’t be undertaken in just one or two sessions. It’s a long-term commitment to the process, working collaboratively to help you make significant and lasting life changes. And the first step to success with a serious and chronic problem is, of course, that the person who is suffering must want to change. That means he or she must be the one to make the call…

Resources for people with hoarding tendencies

For people who think they might have a problem with hoarding —and for families of people with hoarding tendencies—here are some terrific resources on hoarding from the Anxiety Disorder Center at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut: