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Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring

Help is on the way: Support for individuals, couples and families in the community.

Compulsive hoarding and acquiring involves the acquisition of, and inability to discard, a vast number of possessions. Compulsive hoarding is distinguished from collecting, or from normal household clutter, in three ways:

  1. The items collected appear to be useless or of limited value
  2. Rooms in the household of someone living with compulsive hoarding are so significantly cluttered that they can no longer be used for the purpose they were designed for
  3. The impact of a person’s hoarding behaviour causes significant distress or impairs their ability to function in everyday life.

Items that are commonly hoarded include old newspapers and magazines, junk mail, receipts, food wrappers, lists and containers.

The homes of people living with hoarding are hazardous; the clutter serves as a fire hazard; individuals are at increased risk of falling, or having items fall onto them and collected waste can lead to unsanitary conditions. Consequently, people with compulsive hoarding are often too embarrassed to have people visit their homes, and as a consequence, have limited social interactions.

Hoarding behaviour has a strong relationship with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and it is estimated that 25-30% of individuals diagnosed with OCD have symptoms of compulsive hoarding. It is estimated that OCD affects 1-3% of Australians.


The Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring Group is a ten week program that uses cognitive behavioral therapy to address the thoughts and behaviors that lead to, and maintain, hoarding behaviour. The program targets decision making deficits, emotional connection to items hoarded, the avoidance of storing items appropriately and the avoidance of discarding items. The program challenges the beliefs that participants have about the nature of their possessions.


To be a part of the Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring Group individuals are required to complete a three hour assessment with a counsellor at the Psychology Clinic and obtain a referral and mental health care plan from their doctor.


Groups are run a number of times throughout the year. Due to limited places, waiting lists may apply. For more information on program dates please contact the Psychology Clinic at


There is a $25 fee to be assessed for the Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring Group. A $372 up-front fee is required for the group, for which you may be eligible to receive a Medicare rebate. If you are unable to pay the program fee in one lump sum please contact the Project Officer to discuss alternate arrangements.

How to apply

If you would like to find out more or register your interest in this group, please contact the Psychology Clinic at