Module 8: Problematic Collecting

When collecting is a problem

If you are collecting sexual images of children, then this is always a problem because it is harmful to both you and the children in the images.

Collecting can also become a problem when it starts to negatively impact on the other things in your life, such as:

  • You are not giving enough time to friends and family and prefer to spend your time collecting or feel distracted even when you’re with them
  • You are unable to build new or sustain existing relationships
  • You are unable to concentrate on your job or you are unable to hold down a job
  • All of your available money is going on your collecting or you are unable to pay your bills or have debts because of it
  • Although you may enjoy collecting, it also makes you feel stressed or worried about it


Let’s take a look at what effect collecting is having on your life, using Exercise 2.

Exercise 2: The impact of collecting on my life

Download printable version of this exercise >

Answer the following questions.

When do I do most of my collecting?

1.      What time of the day?

2.      Is it when other people are around or when I am on my own, or both?

3.      Do I create opportunities to be away from people so that I can concentrate on my collecting?

4.      How much time do I spend per week on my collection?

5.      How much time do I spend searching for material for my collection? How much time do I spend gathering the material? How much time do I spend organising my collection?

Am I missing out on anything?

6.      Do I ever turn people down or say no to a social gathering so that I can spend time collecting?

7.      Do I ever avoid picking up the phone or answering my emails so that I don’t have to speak to someone and can concentrate on my collecting?

8.      Have I ever forgotten someone’s birthday or another special occasion because my mind was on collecting?

9.      Am I avoiding developing a new relationship by collecting?

10.  Is it easier to just concentrate on collecting?

11.  Are my loved ones beginning to get agitated or annoyed with me?

Am I impacting on my life financially?

12.  Am I finding it difficult to commit to my job or other responsibilities because of my collecting?

13.  Am I struggling to pay my bills because I have lost a job due to collecting?

14.  Do I have debts due to money spent on my collection?

Not everybody seen as a ‘problematic collector’ will find that their behaviour negatively affects all areas of their life. It might just be that it affects one area. By understanding why you collect and how it impacts on your life, you will recognise if it is something that you need to address.



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