Open Access

ISSN: 2332-0915

+44 1223 790975


The Objects of Desire: A Cultural Case Study in Hoarding

Yavar Moghimi

Hoarding is increasingly recognized by North American psychiatry and popular culture as a distinct disorder that warrants specialized treatment. These understandings are predominantly based on biological and cognitive behavioral conceptualizations that view hoarding as a part of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum. In this article I conceptualize a psychotherapy case study of hoarding by drawing on the extensive sociocultural literature on “person-object” relations. Understanding hoarding through this lens appropriately contextualizes it as an extreme within a spectrum of relationships that people have with objects. This lens gave me a better understanding of my patient’s meaning and relationship with her objects, which allowed for more meaningful therapeutic interventions. I specifically examine the unique relationship hoarders may have with objects in regards to public and private value of material possession attachment and the difficulties with the disposition of the objects in their lives.