I worked with a client who had only allowed two people to visit him in his home in the last ten years. He had shut himself off from the world. His place was filled with amazing amounts of clutter. It was held back with bungee chords so it wouldn't cave in on him. There were narrow pathways throughout the place. The place was filthy and smelled terrible. He seemed sad and desolate. He told me he was suicidal. A part of him had given up. But he hired me so I knew he wanted freedom from this kind of dire living.
We worked everyday for a while. At one point I found a loaded 45 pistol under a bunch of paper. He told me he had a lot of guns. He took them out and showed me. There was a shotgun, a .38 special, a rifle, and nine more guns. I asked him why he had the arsenal. He said he needed to protect himself. There was a sign on his front door that said, "Occupants are home and are armed." Armed was underlined.
I asked him if we could take down the sign. He said no. He felt it worked because no one had ever tried to break into his home. I said, "It's funny that the one person it couldn't protect you from was yourself." He was silent. Then he started crying. I sensed the mighty wall in him that kept him from feeling, the wall that had manifested the overwhelming clutter, was crumbling. He couldn't stop the flow of tears. When he was done, he told me to take down the sign on his door. I took it down and threw it away.
He looked alive again. It was like he had been possessed and then exorcised. We worked at a faster pace after that. It didn't take us too much longer to clear the place.