Suzanne is in grade five and is known fondly as “little girl, big heart.” Suzanne has a huge capacity for love and kindness; however, Suzanne’s parents have started to wonder whether her capacity for empathy and attachment might be problematic.
They recall Suzanne always has shown a strong attachment to her possessions, becoming highly upset if things were lost or broken. Initially it was manageable, but as Suzanne’s belongings grew and she resisted getting rid of things, so too did the disorganization. Her room is now packed with toys she has outgrown, small knick-knacks from party goodie bags, empty candy and toy boxes, and cast offs her friends have given her. When her parents insist she not bring home materials from art class or that she recycle old worksheets from school, she becomes highly distressed, crying and screaming. Her most recent episode resulted in her kicking her mother, something she has never done before. Furthermore, her parents have discovered that under her bed, Suzanne has been stashing empty bottles and containers, obtained from the recycling bins at school. They are at a loss as to how to help Suzanne, and it seems for every one item they “sneak out,” there always seem to be five more waiting in the wings.