The Shulman Center 1


    Greetings from The Shulman Center!

Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding Newsletter August 2012 

       Happy Dog Days of Summer!


Celebrating 20 years  

 of Serving People! 

       1992 - 2012


  Mr.  Shulman's  10th  Wedding Anniversary!

August 8--Thanks Tina!



Quotes of the Month


"When you make a sacrifice in marriage, you're sacrificing not to each other but to the unity in the relationship" --Joseph Campbell


"The bonds of matrimony are like any other bonds--they mature slowly."  --Peter De Vries.


"Lovers don't finally meet somewhere; they're in each other all along." -- Rumi


"A successful marriage requires falling in love every time, preferably with the same person"--



"Success in marriage does not come merely from finding the right mate, but through being the right mate." -- Barnett R. Brickner 


"To keep the fire burning brightly, there's one easy rule: keep the two logs together, near enough to keep each other warm and far enough apart for breathing room. Good fire, good marriage: same rule. -- Marnie Reed Cromwell



Stats of the Month 


-19 our of 20 retailers have been victims of organized retail crime.--

National Retail Federation


-The most shoplifted items in the last year include the following:

cigarettes, energy drinks, alcohol, infant formula, allergy meds, diabetic testing strips, pain relievers,  weight loss pills, electric toothbrushes and head replacements, lotions and creams, pregnancy tests, denim jeans, designer clothing, handbags, cell phones, digital cameras, digital recorders, GPS devices, laptops, LCD monitors and TVs, high-end vacuums, and kitchen aide mixers.--National Retail Federation


-54% of hoarders admit having trouble paying their bills.


-22% of hoarders admit to not filing taxes for at least one of the last five years.


-75% of hoarders admit to excessive shopping or spending.


--Various sources



Persons of the Month 


The Olympians!


Can you imagine the hours, sweat, injuries, and discipline of each athlete in the current Summer Olympics? Imagine all those who failed to qualify, those who will fail to medal, and even those who didn't get a chance to compete (about 100 of them) due to illegal drug use or other infractions. 


Only a few will rise to the level and medal and, assumedly, meet their destiny and claim it was worth all their efforts. There's a human story behind each participant. Imagine the support of so many family and friends. 


To watch each athlete push him or herself to their physical and emotional limits inspires awe and admiration. The games also remind us we can put politics aside and find a forum to applaud the excellence in each other, no matter which country we're from.




Books of the Month:


Living Nonviolent Communication, (2012, Sounds Trueby Marshall Rosenberg


I'm in the middle of reading this book and highly recommend it to learn simple, effective ways to express our needs to others and to hear others' needs and to learn conflict resolution skills. Mr. Rosenberg has written a couple of other books on this topic. See article in this e-Newsletter. 



Film of the Month:


"We Need to Talk About Kevin" Directed by Lynne Ramsay. (2011)


Based on the best-selling book of the same title by Lionel Shriver, I rented this DVD in the wake of the recent Aurora, Colorado shooting. This story is concerns an average family whose son, Kevin, seems to have been born with some non-descript condition which interferes with his ability to bond and communicate feelings. Actress Tilda Swinton is excellent as Kevin's mother who struggles between loving and hating her son prior to and after a murderous spree in his teens. 


The movie offers no easy answers and cuts back and forth in flashbacks. What's unique about the story is it let's us inside this mother's journey and feelings and the burdens she suffers in her own soul as well as from her community. 


Hard stuff and no easy answers. Haunting...


See our updated websites at:


Mr. Shulman's books now in e-books through


Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery


Biting The Hand That Feeds: The Employee Theft Epidemic


Bought Out and $pent! Recovery from Compulsive $hopping


Cluttered Lives, Empty Souls: Stealing, Spending & Hoarding 




If you're a therapist and wish to be trained & certified in the assessment/treatment of compulsive theft, spending and/or hoarding, PLEASE CONTACT THE SHULMAN CENTER NOW! See  our website:


ATTENTION: Opportunity to assist with "Nightline" shoplifting show!

Shoplifting is a serious illness that is misunderstood and has gone unrecognized as a TREATABLE PROBLEM for far too long. That's why ABC News Nightline (national television) is looking to interview YOU--a married mother with kids who has a secret, surprising ADDICTION TO SHOPLIFTING and is currently in treatment and recovery.This would be an ON-CAMERA opportunity and requires someone to be open and brave enough to share their story and APPEAR ON CAMERA--so that others can learn what you have gone through and get the help they need. It also will make the American public appreciate and respect what you have had to deal with most of your life...


IF I WANT TO PARTICIPATE--WHAT DOES THIS INVOLVE? We want to spend 24-48 hours with you in your home town,  cooking with you and the kids, meet your husband and talk openly about your recovery efforts. I would fly in on a Sunday or Monday to attend therapy classes and sessions with you. As an ABC News producer, I travel anywhere in the country with a small camera. I'm basically a documentary filmmaker who wants to come hang out and tell your story.


Terrence Shulman, Founder/Director or The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding will also be interviewed for this segment.


If you are interested in making a difference and sharing your story with millions of Americans who know little to nothing about this addiction, please email me directly at


The Shulman Center on the move and in the news...


July 1--Mr. Shulman was interviewed about hoarding disorder on metro-Detroit radio station.


July--Mr. Shulman's article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding runs in Addiction Professional Magazine. See


July 16--Mr. Shulman was interviewed by a Venezuelan radio station about shopping addiction live via telephone.


July 19--Mr. Shulman appeared on Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show to discuss shoplifting addiction (show aired 5/25/12). See: 


August--Mr. Shulman's article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding to run  in Sante Center's Summer Newsletter.



August 24--Mr. Shulman will present a 2-hour seminar on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding at the Addiction Studies Institute in Columbus, Ohio.  See 


September--Mr. Shulman will have an article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding in Counselor Magazine


Married to Recovery

My wife Tina and I are about to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary on August 8th. According to some traditions, the 10-year wedding gift is aluminum or tin. Who thought of that one?


All I can say is that I have learned a lot about myself, my partner, and relationships over the last 10 years... and something tells me I ain't done learnin' yet!


My parents were divorced when I was about 11 years old and my wife's parents--as she likes to say--should've gotten divorced before they even started having kids! Like many or most of us, my wife and I didn't have the best role models for marriage growing up. But I think what has kept us together is a combination of love, respect, good friends (including many couples), and a continued willingness to work on and look at ourselves.


I can also say that without at least a foundation of recovery in my life, my marriage would have been over long ago.


My wife took a chance on me when, during our second date back in 1999, I divulged my history of shoplifting addiction. She could have simply said, "Check, please!" But she appreciated my honesty and commitment to my recovery. 


Little did we know that, over the 10 years of our marriage, I would come to dance with other addictions including co-dependency, work, TV, Internet, and even food! Fortunately, we have pretty open communication and she expressed her concerns and I could (at least eventually) hear and address them.


Staying recovery-minded in relation to all addictions is imperative in keeping marriage honest and clean. When I'm not caring for myself or living a secret life and pulling away from my beloved, divorce becomes increasingly likely. 


As we approach the 10-year mark, my wife and I have had enough time to see each other's warts and develop a myriad of pet-peeves with each other. We've also let each other in enough to know each other's tender spots and core issues. We recognize that no marriage is "perfect" in the sense that it's always lovey-dovey and issue-free; instead, we've come to appreciate that marriage is a divine opportunity to become more aware of ourselves, to heal and grow, to practice patience and gentleness, to hold the torch for each other's magnificence and to continue to learn how to give and receive and be love (intimacy). It's the journey not the destination!


I've been married to recovery for over 22 years--about 12 years longer than my wife. But recovery is not a jealous mistress--recovery loves that I am married; nor is my wife jealous of my recovery or the time I devote to it, for it gives me half a chance to be the man and husband I dream to be.



Do it for Your Dog: How Pets Help Us Heal  


Are you a pet lover? My wife and I are both partial to dogs and, in our childhoods, each had several. As a couple, however, we've preferred to dog-sit on occasion and, "co-parent" two Shih-Tzus (Benji, 15, and Penelope, 12) with their "momma" our dear friend Carol. They are both such special beings. Isn't it incredible how our love for animals/pets sometimes seems so much more pure and unconditional than our love for people? Isn't it wonderful how we and our pets both melt into each other with love?


Well, Benji celebrated his 15th dog year (that's 105 for you and me!) this past June. He's been losing his hearing, sight, balance and muscle for some time now. Carol was on the verge of putting him down just a few days ago as my wife and I went for a final visit. Then, he seemed to bounce back a bit and gave a look as if to say: "hey, I'm not ready to go yet!" My wife and I are about to have him and Penelope over for a week. We both know his time isn't long but I can now appreciate why deciding what to do with an elderly and/or sickly pet is so painfully difficult.


I got to thinking about the relationship between our pets and our own recoveries and healing processes. As much as it's hard for us to imagine life without them, just stop and think for a moment from their point of view. We're not just a meal-ticket to them! If we don't take care of ourselves, we're depriving them, too!


Have you ever heard of a therapy dog or pet? You know, the ones that typically visit hospitals? Well, when we're feeling down or blue, I bet most of our pets pick up on that. I know Benji and Penelope do. Let them in. And return the favor. If you have access to your pet 24/7, consider trying--if you haven't already--reaching out for your pet if you're at risk for relapse. Pet them, feed, them, cuddle with them, walk them, talk to them, play with them, vent to them; just don't kick 'em or yell at them!


Remember: pets are people, too! As for Benji, I honor this unique little beast with all his different moods and habits and rituals, with his own personality and his own journey. I love how he "leans in" to me by rubbing his head against me as he lets go and becomes more vulnerable. He is my teacher: I get to be as gentle to him and he has been to me and, maybe, must maybe, I can learn how to be as gentle with myself.


The Olympics And Recovery


What do the Olympics have to do with recovery? Well, for one, I am finding myself addicted to them! I don't know about you but I can watch them 24/7 (at least for the 2 weeks they're on TV). First, the opening ceremony was spectacular! Second, I am a sports nut to begin with! Third, I get to root for my fellow countrymen and countrywomen! Fourth, I get to be amazed by all the different events and colorful people and stories! Fifth, I get to be inspired by the discipline and heart of the athletes to push themselves to their limits! And sixth, I get to take a break from my other addiction--following politics!


On another level, I get to remind myself that as a recovering person I, too, am an Olympian of sorts. For recovery is like a marathon (or at least an event made up of many, many sprints). We work hard to understand ourselves and our addictions and to practice, practice, practice new ways to avoid relapse, get stronger, heal, grow and meet the challenges of life each and every day. All that training can make the difference between caving and succumbing to an urge to use/relapse or declaring a greater victory of achieving a personal best, breaking our own record(s), and standing on the podium (if only for a brief time), with our heads held high in dignity.


And like the Olympics which bring together men and women from across the globe and show us how similar we are, addiction is also the great equalizer. None of us can take on addiction by ourselves just as no athlete gets to the Olympics alone: he or she has many coaches, many supporters, and many fellow athletes to be inspired by and to learn from. 


One of the ultimate goals of both the Olympics and recovery certainly is to be all we can be--or at least to give it our all!



Living Nonviolent Communication


You ever have one of those experiences where people keep mentioning or recommending a book, movie, or something or other and, for whatever reason, you're just not ready to follow-through? Well, I first heard about non-violent communication (NVC) a couple or years ago and, then, I heard about it again recently and finally got the book Living Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. Boy, I wish I had read it earlier! It might have saved me a lot of heartache! 


As much as I like to think I know a lot about communication. After all, I've been an attorney for 20 years, psychotherapist for 15 years, I've been in therapy several times in my life, and I've certainly read books about communication. But Rosenberg's book simplified and clarified some basic concepts that I feel really make sense and can be effective in helping to resolve conflicts.


Rosenberg's main premise is that we all have the same basic human needs--pretty much taken from Maslow's hierarchy of needs. But, he says, we usually lack the "literacy" to express our own needs let alone realize or validate others' needs. He explains that most of us think we expressing our needs but, more often, we are either afraid to do so or out-of-touch with what our real need are. Therefore, we either expect others' to be mind readers or we express our needs in a critical, demanding or blaming manner which only evokes much of the same back at us. He also describes the difference between expressing a need and a strategy to get that need met. 


An example might be something like this. An adult child is going through what he feels is a financial and emotional crisis. He tries to manage it as best as he can but gets to the point where he feels the need to reach out for family support. His family has a sense of his crisis and responds to his request for a family meeting. He doesn't specifically ask for what he needs--in part because he's not sure, he only knows that he's feeling scared, stressed and vulnerable and, perhaps naturally, turns to his family for some kind of help--emotional or financial. 


His family responds, in essence, by telling him to "take the emotion out of it" and telling him that he can take his own money out of his retirement account if needed. He feels numb, let down, abandoned, betrayed. He feels unloved and unsupported. What he really needed, should he been able to express it, was just to feel heard, loved, and supported. Perhaps if he stated this, his family could then have asked: "How can we support or help you?" 


Instead, he left the family meeting shut down and feeling unsafe to express his real hurt. A couple of weeks later, he emailed a letter to his family expressing his feelings of hurt, anger and abandonment in order that he might be heard--a need of his--and because he didn't feel it would be honest to pretend he didn't feel that way and he didn't yet feel safe to express his feelings in person based on his own perception of past events. However, the wording of his e-mail evoked an equally shocked and hurt response from his family who then "lashed out" at him at a later meeting they had which, in turn, hurt him even more. Thus, the cycle snowballed. 

Have you ever been in a situation like this? How could this have been avoided? 

At the point he first came to talk to his family, he may or may not have known a strategy they could have used to help him feel heard, loved or supported, but he might have said something like: "I just need you listen, validate me, reassure me, hug me, help me out with a loan or gift, be on my side..." It's unclear but likely that his family may have been able to meet some of his needs. And though his e-mail to his family might have been worded differently, again, things might gone differently if his family had been able to hear his "cry or anger" as a call for understanding or love. Granted, it's hard not to get reactive but that's part of what nonviolent communication skills request of us.


The book also talks about how each party needs to hear and validate the needs of each other. So, in the case at hand, the adult child needed to be somewhat aware of his family's needs, too. Their needs may also have been to be heard and understood where they were coming from but things never got that far. 


Expressing our needs does not ensure they will be met... and that is sad when that happens. But most of the time, the book asserts, we really want to meet each other's needs--we're just not always sure what they are. So, we need to learn what our own needs are, legitimize them and the needs of others, and do our best to hear the underlying needs in any requests and honor them. 


The author claims he has been using nonviolent communication (NVC) skill successfully for years with individuals, couples, families and groups. Imagine a world where we could really hear each other. Let's go there together...


Walk in peace.



The Shulman Center 2012 Events Calendar 


August 22-24--Mr. Shulman will be attending and presenting on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding at the Annual Addictions Studies Institute in Columbus, OH.


August--Mr. Shulman will have an article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding in Sante Center's magazine on on their website. See


September/October--Mr. Shulman will have an article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding in Counselor Magazine.


September 5--Mr. Shulman will be interviewed on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding on metro-Detroit radio by Body, Mind, Spirit Guide Magazine.


September 12--C.A.S.A. (Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous) metro-Detroit celebrates 20-year anniversary.


September 28--October 2--Mr. Shulman will be attending and presenting on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding at the National Conference on Addictive Disorders in Orlando, Florida.


October 25--Mr. Shulman will be presenting a 2-hour seminar on hoarding disorder in Royal Oak, Michigan.


November 1--Mr. Shulman will be presenting a 2-hour seminar on hoarding disorder in Farmington Hills, Michigan. 


November 14-16 (prospective) Mr. Shulman to present on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding at the Association for Financial Planning, Counseling and Education's Annual Conference in St. Louis, MO.


Late 2012--Mr. Shulman has penned the "Foreword" for upcoming book Shoplifters: Are They Out of Control? by California forensic psychologist John C. Brady.


Ongoing ...


The Baton Rouge, Louisiana court system has a court-ordered, facilitated educational program for retail fraud offenders. The program is based on material from Mr. Shulman's book Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery.


Mr. Shulman created a 1-hour employee theft online course with 360 Training. Learn why people steal from their jobs, how to deter it, prevent it, and what to do when confronted with it. Enroll at:  


Mr. Shulman created an online continuing education course on compulsive shopping and spending called Bought Out and $pent! based on his book and Power Point presentation. The course, CEs offered, through The American Psychotherapy Association. at:




Tom Lietaert of Sacred Odyssey and the Intimacy with Money programs offers individual money coaching as well as various group workshops on money. Check out Tom's two websites at: /




Gary Zeune of Columbus, Ohio has been a friend and colleague of mine for nearly two years. He has been a consultant and teacher on fraud discovery and prevention for nearly 30 years. He is interviewed in my book Cluttered Lives, Empty Souls: Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding. I recently saw Gary in action recently when he presented an all-day on fraud to metro-Detroit accountants. 



Eve Cantor, a 30-something professional organizer in the New York City area offers in-person and Skype coaching for women in need of assistance with their wardrobe and clutter. See Eve's wonderful website and video at




Kevin Colburn, of Vancouver, British Columbia has been in the loss prevention field for many years and recently was trained in Israel to work with layered voice analysis technology. LVA allows interviewers (and interrogators) to accurately determine a subject's truthfulness or evasiveness. See: 


THE MONEY SHIFT (Book, Board Game and Seminars)


Tom Palka, CFP, a metro-Detroit area financial planner, and I recently met. He's worked in finances for over 25 years and has written a book, developed a board game, and offers seminars on transforming our thinking about money and wealth. See his website at


POSITIVE RETURNS Court-orderd Programs for Shoplifting


Terry Richardson, LMSW, of Joplin, Missouri recently contacted me and we had a long-talk by telephone. Terry worked in the correctional system before returning to school to obtain his MSW. In 2003 he was approached and soon founded the first court-ordered program for theft offenders in Joplin, MO. It seems this small town was experiencing a steady rise in shoplifting and Terry developed a program that has made a real dent in shoplifting and has helped countless shoplifters of all backgrounds. His program is available for sale. See:




Mr. Shulman's books

available for purchase now!




Something for Nothing: 

Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery (2003) 

See also:






Biting The Hand That Feeds 

Biting The Hand That Feeds:

The Employee Theft Epidemic... New Perspectives, New Solutions (2005) 

See also:





Bought Out and Spent 

Bought Out and $pent! 

Recovery from Compulsive $hopping/$pending (2008) 

See also:






Cluttered Lives, Empty Souls: 

Compulsive Stealing, Spending and Hoarding (2011) 

See also:




Contact The Shulman Center:


Terrence Daryl Shulman, JD, LMSW, ACSW, CAADC, CPC  


The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding


P.O. Box 250008 

Franklin, Michigan 48025




Call (248) 358-8508 for free consultation!



Our Web Sites:

The Shulman Center

Shoplifting Addictions

Kleptomaniacs Anonymous

Something For Nothing

Shopping Addictions 

Shopaholics Anonymous

Bought Out and Spent 

Employee Theft Solutions

Biting the Hand that Feeds

Hoarding Therapy

Hoarders Anonymous


Books by
Terrence Shulman: 


Something for Nothing:Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery

Biting The Hand That Feeds:The Employee Theft Epidemic

Bought Out and $pent! Recovery from Compulsive $hopping and $pending

Cluttered Lives Empty Souls: Compulsive StealingSpending and Hoarding


All book are available for $25.00 each (includes shipping and handling).