Hoarding (Messies)

Dr. Elisabeth Vykoukal

Related to the phenomenon of "Hoarding" and derived from the word ‘mess’, this term describes people, who cannot use their home as a space of regeneration and relaxation from their duties in the outside world. Some gather things until they overflow their home until they barely find a place in it themselves; some also fail at the tasks of cleaning and handling of food, clothing and laundry.

Since 2000, we have been conducting research based on work with Messie patients in single and group therapy. For Messies, the gathered things and how they are used express the specific personal situation of the affected person. We believe that for therapy to be effective, it is necessary to understand where the personal meaning of this behaviour lies for each individual. A change cannot occur through willpower alone; it is necessary to observe what the situation is and to understand why this behaviour is necessary for the affected person.

 Dr. Elisabeth Vykoukal is the head of the Continuing Education and
 Professional Development Programmes at Sigmund Freud University. She
 received her Doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1975 and has  been a practicing Psychoanalyst performing individual and group therapy  since 1994. Her projects include the Psychotherapy for the Homeless  project at Gruft, Vienna, cooperative projects with the University of Lvov  to establish psychotherapeutic training in the Ukraine, the e-learning  project Septimus carried out with the UK’s University of Sheffield in England
www.septimus.info, and psychotherapy training projects in Moscow, Omsk and Rostov on
the Don in Russia.

Dr. Elisabeth Vykoukal
Room 4009/4. floor
Tel: +43 (0)1 798 40 98/455
CV (pdf)