HURRAH, HOARDING SHOWS I LIKE!!!!! I am sooooooooooooooooooo soooooooooooooooo thrilled to be able to point people to hoarding reality TV which is gentle, thoughtful, empathetic, realistic and even carefully humorous. We need to go across the pond to Britain.
Jasmine Harman, Help for Hoarders, bravely documented her experience as the daughter of Vasoulla, her Mom with hoarding disorder, in a 2011 BBC One documentary My Hoarder Mum and Me. Equally courageous, her Mom also speaks on camera about her battles and triumphs with articulate insight and increasing self-compassion. My Hoarder Mum and Me led to the 2012 series Britain’s Biggest Hoarders with Harman and her Mom. Harman and her Mom offer personal support to people with hoarding disorder, and also bring in complementary therapeutic and organizing support as needed.
I’m also keen on The Hoarder Next Door, a series which ran on Britain’s Channel 4 from 2012 – 2014. The Hoarder Next Door stars psychotherapist Stelios Kiosses and Professional Organizers Zoe Steel and Allyson Pritchard of Declutter Divas. I’m not even slightly surprised that the Divas belong to APDO, the Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers, the UK equivalent of my beloved NAPO, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.
Why do I like these shows? They emphasize therapy first, sorting and letting-go next. They emphasize a deliberate, months-long, purely-client-driven process, even if that activity involves a sequence of one bag out and two bags in, two bags out and no bags in, one bag in and three bags out… They avoid, as scrupulously as possible, inducing the on-camera client meltdowns I LOATHE on their American counterparts. And when such meltdowns do occur, as they must sometimes, the staff of the shows have established authentic relationships with their clients – because they’ve been working with their clients before, repeat BEFORE, the sorting begins, and genuinely address the issues spilling over. Unless I’m utterly mistaken, the American versions only introduce clients and therapists the day the filming begins. To some degree, avoiding drama is qualitatively easier for The Hoarder Next Door: none of the situations in this series involve eviction notices or public nuisance fines, the hoarding is generally indoors. But Harman rolls up her sleeves with people who or may not lose everything.
It’s not easy to find these shows – I’m catching them on the YouTube channel Only Human. But worth it.
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