Fresh Start: Overcoming Chronic Disorganization and Hoarding Group Manual

Fresh Start: Overcoming Chronic Disorganization and Hoarding Group Manual by Barbara Jo Dennison, PhD, LISW-S and Ms. Karen Kruzan, LISW-S, CPO-CD, a manual for the development and maintenance of support groups for people with clutter challenges, is one of the few books I’ve ever read which I’ve hesitated to review. I hesitated for two reasons:

  1. This book is intensely, deliberately focused for therapists. I didn’t know if it was necessary for me to review it. I could let myself leave it to counselors to find the resources they need.
  2. While I’m not a medical provider in any way, nor a statistician, I am nonetheless skeptical of some of the tools which Dr. Dennison and Ms. Kruzan employ, explicitly the DISC and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality assessment models. There is debate concerning their validity (how “real” the idea is, how connected to fact and/or how well you can test the ideas). There are also questions about the reliability of the tests used to measure the occurrence of the ideas (that the tests’ results can be reproduced without unexplained variations from use-of-test to use-of-test to use-of-test). Disclaimer – I’m not sure I’m explaining validity or reliability at all well!


In the end, I’ve chosen to review Fresh Start because all materials which provide possible assistance to people with clutter challenges are valuable. There’s no way to predict what might work for who. Dr. Dennison and Ms. Kruzan are highly-esteemed therapists. I’ve taken continuing education courses from each of them. I own fundamental books to which they’ve contributed. Their perspective is deeply informed by years of experience and training. Their approach is extremely compassionate, extremely accessible for laypeople, and has been carefully refined over time in light of feedback from group members. In other words, my skepticism about the DISC and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality tools may be entirely wrong. Or even if I’m correct, separate the chaff from the wheat. If I’ve just pointed even one provider to a new, inspiring way to think about their work, YAY!!


About Lauren Williams

Lauren Williams, Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Virtual Professional Organizer®

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