Opportunity to Assist in Forthcoming
Cable TV Series on Criminal Addictions
recently talked by phone with a representative from Indigo Films
which is developing a new series for the Discovery Network
titled "My Strange Criminal Addiction." This is what I was
program features real life stories of people who find themselves
caught up in the justice system because of their unusual addictions,
compulsions or unconventional lifestyle choices. While the title
sounds a bit sensational, it's simply meant to grab viewer's
attention. This series does not criminalize or judge people, but
rather gives them a chance to tell their side of the story outside
of a court room and without commentary from the news media. It is
particularly interested in the psychological aspect of this issue.
It will also focus on people's efforts to rehabilitate themselves.
the years, Indigo Films has produced a wide range of top rated
programs for Discovery and other networks. Indigo Films prides
itself in allowing people to tell their own stories in their own
words and thereby helping the audience to better understand and even
empathize with others. While this may be an emotionally difficult
experience to re-live, many of our former participants have found
participating in an on camera interview to be a highly rewarding
experience. For those concerned with privacy, Indigo Films is open
to the idea of allowing people to use an alias on a case by case
basis and is also considering some form of compensation for those
who appear on the program."
interested can contact Amanda Clayton at Indigo Films either at
415-326-4919 or email@example.com
put out the word already to various people and I may be involved in
this project in some way--either interviewed as a therapist who
works with people who've stolen or maybe even as a subject myself
since I've been in recovery since 1990 from addictive-compulsive
shoplifting and stealing.
of whether this project goes forward or I'm involved at all, I find
it very encouraging that major film company (and, assumedly, a major
cable network) is thinking about criminal activity as becoming an
addiction in itself. Stay tuned!
A BOOST with MONEY LIFE-COACHING!
Lietaert of Sacred Odyssey and the Intimacy with Money programs
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workshops on money. Check out Tom's two websites at:
My Hometown Detroit Files for Bankruptcy:
An Isolated Incident or a Sign of the Times?
have by now heard that Detroit recently filed for Chapter 9
Municipal Bankruptcy, listing some $18 billion in liabilities,
including nearly $4 billion in pensions due to its employees, with
no real way to pay much of this debt anytime soon. Earlier this
year, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder appointed an Emergency Financial
Manager for the city, Kevin Orr, to see if he could help Detroit
avoid the bankruptcy filing. Apparently not. There are legal hurdles
to come, including a county judge who already ruled that the
bankruptcy filing violated the state's constitution, and the many
creditors and pensioners who will fight vigorously for what they
feel owed. Detroit isn't the first U.S. city to file for bankruptcy
but it is the largest--even though its population has dropped by
over 50% from 1.4 million residents to about 700,000 in just a
I grew up in Detroit until I left for college at age 18 in 1983 and
have lived in the suburbs mostly since. I feel sad, embarrassed and
concerned for "my city" and its image. There are various
opinions about how Detroit got to this place. It's safe and fair to
say that there has been intermittent mismanagement for decades but,
certainly, the economic recession over the last five years
exacerbated and hastened its financial misfortunes.
there are parallels between individual, family, and corporate
bankruptcies (where, also, a combination of bad decisions and bad
luck often come into play), what's more alarming is the general and
overall trend of more and more bankruptcies filed. Something is
going on! We are not living according to our means, individually and
collectively. We are living in a changing world in terms of the job
market, the stock market's security (despite a record high), and the
promise of the American Dream.
know it's complex. Some would say drastic cut-backs are the only way
to balance a budget--but some budgets are too far gone. Also,
whether with a family, a corporation, or a city--it's easier said
than done to just cut to the bone of a budget. It's become a
relatively sad truth that many have to borrow to keep essential
services going and investment in the future for a better day.
may be a cautionary tale for many other cities, though it does
appear that some cities, such as Pittsburgh, managed to pull itself
up despite facing similar financial woes. Likewise, Ford Motor
Company didn't need a government bailout as GM and Chrysler did.
Every situation may be different. I only hope that, whatever happens
with Detroit, that the city, its residents and those who work and
believe in Detroit can get "a second chance" just like
others who file for bankruptcy are afforded. I hope we make the most
of it and don't ever fall into this mess again.
Stories in the News on Compulsive Shopping
were two good recent stories highlighting compulsive shopping
recently. The first was in USA Today's Sunday newspaper supplement.
See: USA Today
was also a great 1-hour radio interview about how shopping addiction
affects families on National Public Radio on July 15th at: WHYY
some highlights of the USA Today Article by Jeff Wuorio:
Brittany Falconer, a new jacket is often a matter of circumstance
and a bit of time. Need isn't always part of the equation.
stop in because I'm passing by a store, I have some time, and
suddenly I've bought another Cole Haan jacket I really don't
need," says Falconer, 25, a public relations account executive
from Brookline, Mass. "It's the 'compare to' price. Even though
the jacket I bought cost $150, the would-be price was $300. I feel
like I come out on top."
sort of illogical impulse buying isn't limited to younger consumers.
One 82-year-old woman spent $1,200 buying books, vitamins, clothing
and jewelry - all within 24 hours, all online and all completely
shopping statistics are dated but disturbing. A 1998 study estimated
North Americans spent more than $4 billion a year on impulse buys.
In the absence of more current research, some analysts contend that
price increases and other impulse-friendly developments (ATMs, the Internet)
easily push impulse shopping into an annual $5 billion-plus consumer
bash. Possibly much larger than that.
consequences can sting, from strained relationships to money
funneled from mortgages to overloaded credit cards.
become a major issue for all sorts of people," says Tonia
Boterf, a certified life coach who worked with that impulsive
82-year-old to rein in her binges.
behind the impulse?
causes of impulse shopping are varied and sometimes complicated. For
some, it simply feels good - perhaps acquiring a status product
boosts self-esteem. For others, it offsets depression or anger.
Still others, like Falconer, revel in the thrill of the
have shown that when someone considers a purchase, a biochemical
change occurs, which causes a mental high. "There's a spike of
dopamine in the brain at the excitement of an immediate form of
reward," explains David Krueger, author of The Secret Language
of Money: How to Make Smarter Financial Decisions and Live a Richer
Life. "It makes bad decision-making easy."
can set things in motion. Discouraged you didn't get a promotion?
Even though an impulse buy high may be short-lived (which often
leads to buyer's remorse when the thrill fades), you remember the
rush you felt when you lugged that 42-inch HD TV home a year ago.
There are sweet models an aisle away at 10% off and 10 inches wider
- today only and $75 less than you paid for your first one!
increasing pattern of impulse buying can evolve into compulsive
buying, which, as New York psychologist April Benson explains, can
be more chronic, more difficult to resist and more financially
factors are powerful, too. When you're out with a group of friends
on a shopping odyssey, buying something can earn implicit approval
for "treating" yourself.
shopping outing with children can be an impulse shopping gauntlet.
When your kid starts howling over a toy or cereal, tossing it into
the cart unplugs a public tantrum.
and shopping are parents' weakest link," consumer activist
Christopher Elliott says. "Retailers know that if they get your
kids, they get you."
marketers and others have crafted impulse shopping lures into
insidious sales weapons. It's not happenstance that sugary snacks
are positioned at kids' eye level or that milk, eggs and other
staples are generally at the back of the store, requiring a trip
along an array of temptation-laden lanes. A $300 suit inches away
from an outfit twice that price seems a crafty buy. The fact that
you don't need a new suit is irrelevant.
are other selling tricks. It's a rare grocery store that doesn't
have at least one free sample set up. "They're trying to
portray a carnival-like atmosphere," says Kristy Reynolds, a
marketing professor at the University of Alabama.
"Treasures" are also pervasive - items with a brief
availability and touted low price. The message is clear: Buy now or
shopping has opened destructive new venues for impulse shoppers. As
Boterf notes, an increasingly computer-savvy population has made
impulse shopping the social activity of choice for many - and
particularly dangerous for people on limited, fixed incomes.
older people feel isolated. There may be mobility issues. If they
order online or telephone a catalog company, it's a form of social
contact," Boterf says. "Then they hide things they buy in
a closet and hope their son or daughter doesn't find them.
Sometimes, the packages are never opened at all."
or Criticism: Which is Better?
Charles Duhigg, NY Times
I.B.M.'s chief executive, Virginia Rometty, announced disappointing
financial results earlier this year, she also sent employees a short
video chastising the sales staff for missing big deals. "We
were too slow," Rometty told the company's 434,000 employees.
"The result? It didn't get done."
CEO chiding employees is unusual enough that it caused a press
maelstrom. The Wall Street Journal called it a "rare
companywide reprimand." Others cited it as proof that she wasdestined
of which raises an interesting question: is it better for a chief
executive to deliver criticism or praise? Everyone is familiar with
the praiseful part of that equation: most CEOs are cheerleaders
because - the theory goes - a motivated workforce is willing to work
harder and longer.
yet, we also know that fear of failure is one of the greatest
motivators - and that failure is only real when it is accompanied by
consequences like getting dressed down in front of 433,999 of your
isn't a lot of data on the reprimand-versus-praise question within
workplaces. But inside classrooms, the topic has been studied
extensively. One of the most authoritative studies on the
topic, published in 2012, concluded:
and negative nonverbal responses consistently resulted in greater
compliance. Praise and positive nonverbal responses resulted in
mixed child outcomes. ... The effect of praise appears to be less
immediate than the effect of reprimand, as evidenced by the lack of
a consistent connection between praise and compliance in the
other words, we love to receive praise, but usually we're not
certain what message, precisely, we should take from it. On the
other hand, when someone points out our flaws, we realize
immediately that something needs to change.
a twist to these studies, however: simply knowing that something is
wrong isn't enough. For the message to resonate, we need to know
what to do differently. Studies indicate that praise loses its power
because we tend to get caught up in self-congratulations, and
therefore miss whatever is said next. On the other hand, criticism
is fantastic at causing us to pay close attention. Therefore,
reprimands have to be paired with specific next steps.
that's what Rometty did. Here's her slap-down of the sales staff:
were too slow to understand the value and then engage on the
approval and the sign-off process," she said. "The result?
It didn't get done."
she revealed a new rule: If a client had a request or question, IBM
must respond within 24 hours.
if anything slows you down, call it out," she urged.
"Engage management, engage leadership, and let's deal with
other words, feel free to get critical on your own and start handing
out your own reprimands.
do you lead? How do you mix praise and criticism? How do you react
when someone tells you that you need to change?
is its own reward.--Anonymous