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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

A Clinician’s Guide to Understanding and Treating Clients with Hoarding Disorder

by Heidi Ardern, PhD 3 CE Credits

Approximately 2-5% of the U.S. population meets diagnostic criteria for Hoarding Disorder, a new diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5). Individuals who hoard exhibit a tendency to keep items, irrespective of usefulness or value, often to the detriment of their own and others’ emotional and physical health, relationships, and/or finances. Despite its high prevalence, Hoarding Disorder often remains hidden, since symptoms are only evident to the client, and to those who are aware of the client’s living conditions. Until the DSM-5, many hoarding clients would have been diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or Anxiety Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified. However, these diagnoses do not accurately capture the symptomatology of hoarding, nor do they guide clinicians to effective treatments. This online course provides an overview of Hoarding Disorder, including factors related to its onset, course, and prognosis. Because clients with Hoarding Disorder are often not self-referred for treatment, motivation to enact behavioral change is often lacking. Therefore, strategies to motivate and guide clients through the treatment process, as well as ways to engender collaboration from those involved in the client’s life are provided. Finally, specific interventions to treat Hoarding Disorder are discussed, along with the most common challenges clinicians are likely to encounter during the treatment process.


Continuing education for this online course is offered through the following approvals:


  • HealthForum is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. HealthForum maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • HealthForum (ACE Provider #1156) is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. HealthForum maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: (6/20/2017 to 6/20/2020). Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 3 Clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • HealthForumOnline, LLC, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0355
  • HealthForum has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6216.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. HealthForum is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Hoarding Disorder: Prevalence & Relevance
  • Diagnostic Criteria
  • Associated Characteristics: A Closer Look
  • Onset & Associated Risk Factors
  • Psychiatric Co-morbidities
  • Hoarding Across the Lifespan
  • Assessment of Hoarding Disorder
  • Treatment of Hoarding Disorder: The Problem of Insight & Motivation
  • Challenges in Working With Hoarding Clients
  • Case Summary
  • Web-based Resources
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Recognize the 6 DSM-5 criteria necessary to diagnose Hoarding Disorder, as well as the 2 specifiers associated with the diagnosis.
  • Discuss at least 6 factors associated with the onset and course of Hoarding Disorder and at least 3 common co-morbid conditions.
  • Identify 5 assessment measures and 5 theory- and evidence-based interventions used in this context.
  • Distinguish 4 challenges commonly encountered by clinicians who work with clients diagnosed with Hoarding Disorder — along with an illustrative case summary.