Lab News

New Research Presented at CACBT 2018!

May 2018

Dr Sheila Woody chaired a symposium at CACBT 2018, which was held in Vancouver, B.C. this year. The symposium, titled “Hoarding Disorder and the Psychology of Ownership” featured research presented  by Brent Stewart and Grace Truong. Way to go, team!

For more information about CACBT 2018, click here.

(From left) Alison Tracey, Adri Khalis, Kate Kysow, Sophie Smit.

Kate Presented Research Psychfest 2018!

May 2018

Kate Kysow presented her research at UBC Psychology’s Psychfest 2018. Second year Master’s students and first-year PhD students presented their research for the rest of the department at this annual Psychology Department event. This year’s theme was Star Wars!

Here is the abstract for Kate’s talk:

Understanding the complexity of hoarding cases is a challenge faced by clinicians and communities alike. Although classified as a mental disorder, the consequences of hoarding extend beyond the internal experience of the client, creating problems for neighbours, landlords, and society. Research in psychology has focused on assessing the internal experience of those with hoarding disorder, as well as developing treatments to reduce hoarding behaviours. In contrast, communities across North America have been focused on assessing the public safety threats posed by hoarding cases and responding through a harm reduction approach. The two approaches to assessing and responding to hoarding disorder are considerably different. The present study bridges the gap between these approaches through a research collaboration with the Vancouver-based Hoarding Action Response Team. By examining data collected from community hoarding cases through a clinical psychology lens, this study develops a comprehensive representation of hoarding case complexity considering both sides of the picture.

For more about UBC Psychology’s annual Psychfest event, click here.



Bana Ashour presenting at PURC 2018

Bana Presented Research at PURC 2018!

April 2018

Bana Ashour presented her Directed Studies research at the 20th Annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference at UBC. Bana’s research project, The Mental Lives of Objects, investigated the role of anthropomorphic empathy and compassion in hoarding disorder.

For more information on the conference, click here.




Brent Stewart, Christiana Bratiotis, Jordana Muroff, Sheila Woody

Brent presented research at ABCT 2017!

November 2017

Brent participated in a symposium on “Issues Involving Special Populations in Hoarding Disorder” at ABCT 2017. Brent spoke about research on the Assessment of Hoarding Over the Life Span. Great job, Brent!

For more on the conference, click here.




Kate Kysow at ABCT 2017

Kate presented new data at ABCT 2017!

November 2017

Kate successfully presented her poster entitled Effectiveness of Community-Based Interventions for Hoarding at ABCT 2017!  Kate looked at Vancouver’s Hoarding Action Response Team (HART) as an example of a community-based intervention for Hoarding, and found that the HART team was able to significantly reduce clutter volume in spite of numerous challenges.

Kate is also the recipient of the Elsie Ramos Memorial Student Poster Award at ABCT 2017! Way to go Kate!

For more on the conference, click here.




Congratulations, Kirstie!

Congratulations, Kirstie!

November 2017

Kirstie successfully defended her PhD thesis on Tuesday November 14th! Her thesis, When saving seems like the right choice: The role of utility and space in hoarding disorder, focuses specifically how past utility and space constraints guide decision-making among people with Hoarding Disorder.

Congratulations, Kirstie! We couldn’t be more proud!







Upcoming ABCT Conference Presentations

October 2017

The lab will be well represented at the 51st annual convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies on November 16-19 in San Diego.  Christiana Bratiotis and Sheila Woody will be giving a full day Pre-Conference Institute on treatment of Hoarding Disorder. Kate Kysow will be presenting a poster on community-based interventions for hoarding. Finally, in symposium sessions, Christiana will give a talk about the contexts in which animal hoarding occurs, Brent Stewart will be speaking about hoarding across the lifespan, and Sheila will talk about the degree to which research samples of hoarding reflect cases that come to the attention of communities.

Good luck at CAMH, Kirstie!

October 2017

Kirstie Kellman-McFarlane has moved on to her new position at the Centre for Additction and Mental Health in Toronto. The lab seems a bit emptier without her already, and we all miss her guidance and mentorship as the senior graduate student of the lab – not to mention her cheesecake brownies 🙂 – but we all wish her the best! Good luck Kirstie on this new chapter in your life!

Christiana Bratiotis and May Luu presented at the 24th Annual OCD Conference, July 2017

August 2017

Christiana Bratiotis and May Luu both presented at the 24th Annual OCD Conference in San Francisco, July 2017. This conference was hosted by the International OCD Foundation. For more on the conference, click here.

Christiana participated in three talks at the conference:

Steketee, G., Frost, R.O., Bratiotis, C., Muroff, J., Shuer, L., & Belofsky Shuer, B. (2017).  Managing Clutter and Hoarding in the Community. Day-long pre-conference workshop at the annual meeting of the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation. San Francisco, CA.

Bratiotis, C., Ayers, C., Mayes, T., Timpano, K., & Edsell-Vetter (2017). Community Responses to Hoarding Disorder. Symposium presentation at the annual meeting of the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation. San Francisco, CA.

Timpano, K., Grisham, J., Luu, M., Bratiotis, C., Jewels, K., & Davidoff, D. (2017). Research Update on the Core Features and Risk Factors for Hoarding Disorder. Symposium presentation at the annual meeting of the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation. San Francisco, CA.

Here is the abstract from May’s talk:

Although most hoarded homes are relatively clean, some develop poor living conditions like filth or disrepair. To date, little is known about how homes end up this way. The current study identified unique predictors and generated ideas about processes involved in the development of poor living conditions in hoarding. Three North American community agencies shared in-home assessment data for mainly involuntary clients with problematic living conditions, such as hoarded or filthy homes. Each site completed in-home assessments to evaluate client characteristics and living conditions. Study findings replicated at multiple sites suggest that both high clutter accumulation and kitchen or bathroom problems uniquely predicted squalor. Number of pets was also predictive of one specific indicator of squalor. Study findings also hinted that disrepair might be related to extreme clutter accumulation. These findings help explain how squalor fits into hoarding and have direct implications for community agencies that address problematic living conditions.

Publication: Role of Fire Prevention on Hoarding Response Teams

August 2017

Members of our lab recently examined the role of fire prevention on hoarding response teams using Vancouver’s Fire Rescue Services as a case study.  The manuscript has been accepted for publication in Fire Technology.  See the publications page for more details and a comprehensive listing of all of our publications, or click here for a summary of our research.

Big congrats and welcome to Christiana!

July 2017

We have some very exciting news – Christiana will be joining UBC as an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work!  She’s officially made the move to Canada, and we’ve tried our best to acclimate her – as can be seen from the image! :).  We’re all super excited to have a key collaborator close by to offer her valuable advice and insights as well as to continue with our ongoing collaborations – plus, we’ll all get the chance to try her amazing Greek dishes more often!  Welcome Christiana!


HoardingLabThumbKristieKirstie’s next destination – CAMH!

July 2017

Big congrats to Kirstie for landing a much coveted internship at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto!  Way to go Kirstie – Woohoo!  She will be starting her internship at CAMH this fall – best of luck Kirstie!



HoardingLabThumbBrentNew Grad Student – yay Brent!

July 2017

We are very excited to have a new grad student join the team- Brent Stewart!  Brent will be continuing his work on several projects in the lab, as well as new projects looking at the formation of attachment to objects and the different ways that people with hoarding value objects.  Brent will starting his MA this fall – congrats Brent!



The Death and Life of the Single Family House

May 2017

Congrats to our collaborator Nathan Lauster on the release of his new book, which won the John Porter Tradition of Excellence Book Award from the Canadian Sociological Association!!!

The book describes how single-family homes are a dying breed in Vancouver – and how the city is changing in ways that promote livability and community to help residents to make a home without a house.  You can find more info from Nathan’s blog.







Christiana Bratiotis chaired a Panel Discussion at the Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies

October 2016

The discussion was called Can Evidence-Based CBT Interventions for Hoarding Be Disseminated to Multidisciplinary Human Service Professionals for Community Implementation?, and the panel included social workers and psychologists. Some of the panelists, such as Jackson Sherratt and Karen Rowa, are front-line practitioners who work regularly with hoarding clients. Others, including Jordana Muroff, Sheila Woody, and of course Christiana Bratiotis, are university-based researchers who work closely with community organizations that intervene in hoarding cases involving vulnerable clients, such as those who are threatened with eviction. Gail Steketee moderated the panel and provided useful insights into this work. For more details about this conference, click here.

Kirstie Kellman-McFarlane and Sheila Woody presented our research at the Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies

October 2016

Kirstie presented some of her preliminary findings from her dissertation research in a talk entitled Making Decisions About Objects: Information Seeking in Compulsive Hoarding. In the same symposium, Sheila presented two studies on Hoarding and the Psychology of Ownership. For more details about this conference, click here.

Kate Kysow presented a poster at the Canadian Psychological Conference

June 2016

Kate presented a poster on the procedure and priorities of Vancouver’s Hoarding Action Response Team at the 77th Annual CPA Convention in Victoria, BC on June 9th, 2016.   For more on the conference, click here.

Here is the abstract for Kate’s poster:

Hoarding affects between 2% to 5% of the general population and constitutes a serious health hazard in our communities. Our research team has been conducting research into community-based interventions for problems associated with hoarding. We have worked especially closely with Vancouver’s Hoarding Action Response Team (HART), which includes fire inspectors and mental health workers in a coordinated case management approach. Health care priorities involve improving the individual’s physical and mental health and the fire inspectors’ mandate includes ensuring safe living environments and preventing fires caused by excessive combustibles. The collaboration of these disciplines aims to address health and safety concerns for both the client and the community. This poster outlines the team’s procedures and interventions based on data we have collected from their records. We present demographic information on the team’s hoarding cases as well as information about the conditions of the home and fire inspections interventions and health referrals needed for each case. Preliminary data will also be presented on the outcomes of the team’s interventions. We conclude with practical recommendations for other community-based hoarding task forces.

Sheila Woody gave keynote address at Australian Hoarding and Squalor Conference

June 2016

Sheila gave a talk entitled “Community-based Interventions in Vancouver, Boston, and Hamilton, Ontario” at the 4th annual National Hoarding and Squalor Conference in Sydney, Australia in June.  For more on the conference click here.


Kate Kysow

New graduate student!

March 2016

The lab’s newest graduate student will be a familiar face – Kate Kysow! Although Kate was a much sought-after prospective grad student, she decided to continue her studies at UBC, and we couldn’t be happier! Kate will be starting in the clinical psychology program in the fall, continuing her work on the Community Responses and Outcomes project – congrats Kate!



Sheila Woody to present at 8th World Congress of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies

January 2016

Sheila will be presenting a paper (on which Grace Truong and Kirstie Kellman-McFarlane are co-authors) called “Attention and memory effects on ownership” in a symposium at the 8th World Congress of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies in Melbourne, Australia in June 2016. For more on the conference click here.

Publication: Prevalence of Residential Clutter in Vancouver SROs

August 2015

Members of the lab recently examined the prevalence of residential clutter within single-room occupancy (SRO) housing units in Vancouver. The manuscript has been accepted for publication in Housing Studies. For more details, click here for a summary of our research.

New Research Partnership

August 2015

Our team recently met with administrators, resident services coordinators, property managers, and maintenance staff from Beacon Communities. We will be partnering with Beacon to study the processes and outcomes of their recently developed protocol for handling problems associated with hoarding behaviour.






CIHR Operating Grant Awarded

July 2015

The Centre for Collaborative Research on Hoarding has been awarded a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to study the cognitive underpinnings of key features of hoarding: excessive valuing of objects and extreme disorganization of the home. The research team for this 5-year project includes Sheila Woody (Principal Investigator), Nicholas Bogod, Mahesh Menon, Daniel Bartels, Todd Handy, and Grace Truong. This team draws from diverse areas of psychology – from clinical psychology to behavioural economics – to examine cognitive functions using multiple methodologies across a series of studies.



May Luu

New Student – Welcome, May!

June 2015

May Luu has joined us from the University of Calgary. She will begin the MA program in clinical psychology in September. In the meantime, she is working as the lab manager over the summer. May has experience with psychology research on a range of topics, including group CBT for depression and anxiety, cognitive training for older adults, and emotional and physiological stress responses during pregnancy.




Dr. Sheila Woody

Hoarding Interventions Conference

June 2015

Dr. Sheila Woody gave a talk on Community-Based Responses to Hoarding at the 2015 Hoarding Interventions Conference hosted by the Edmonton branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. This annual conference aims to build community capacity for assisting those affected by hoarding disorder.



SSHRC Insight Grant Awarded

June 2015

The Centre for Collaborative Research on Hoarding recently received an Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to study community-based responses to problems associated with hoarding. This 5-year project takes a socio-psychological perspective to track outcomes of interventions in two community settings. Ultimately, we aim to collaboratively develop policy implications, best practices recommendations, and training tools for other communities and housing providers. The team on this project includes Dr. Sheila Woody (Principal Investigator), Dr. Nathanael Lauster and Dr. Christiana Bratiotis as well as our community collaborators, Beacon Communities and the Vancouver Hoarding Action Response Team.


Dr. Christiana Bratiotis

Congratulations, Christiana!

June 2015

Our collaborator, Dr. Christiana Bratiotis, recently joined the faculty of Portland State University as an Assistant Professor of Social Work.