I had the privilege of working as an organizing assistant on the A&E show Hoarders. If you have not seen it, here is the scoop. Each 60-minute episode of Hoarders is a fascinating look inside the lives of two different people whose inability to part with their belongings is so out of control that they are on the verge of a personal crisis.
This week an upcoming episode that was filmed in Houston is being shown. The air date is February 1. Working as an assistant to Certified Professional Organizer – Chronic Disorganization Geralin Thomas www.metroplitanorganizing.com and Clinical Psychologist Suzanne Chabaud, Ph.D., the episode was filmed for 2 days on location at the home. My kudos to both professionals on their approach to a very real life challenge!
Honoring the client’s needs and respecting the client are underlying aspects of Hoarders. The client was facing tough decision making. Dealing with too much stuff can be a shameful experience. From the outset the tone of respect was set. Recognizing the client’s vulnerability, the focus was to help him make decisions and move forward. Others on the set were aware of this and it was clear that the client was anxious about having his things thrown out. Everyone on the set learned about the mental health challenges facing the client in parting with his stuff. And everyone was patient! It took time to make decisions and move forward.
Hoarders portrays the work of a certified professional organizer in a real setting and in a realistic manner. It is really about sorting and decision making! Some of the most difficult parts of working with a client is to understand the depth of the decision making challenge and the need to keep items. Seeing the process of grouping “like” items together at the beginning, moving on to decision making, then finding a “home” for stuff, people are seeing how the process evolves. Truly, a client moves forward at their own pace, not the pace set by the organizer or the therapist. In viewing the challenges of those on the show, people are recognizing their own challenges too! This is an incredible way to make a difference in people’s lives.
Thank you to both of these professionals for sharing their time with all of us, personally and nationally. What an incredible experience to learn as they worked with the client. What was it like behind the scenes? Really no different than what you see on tv! Everyone was there to help the client live their best life!