The Shulman Center for Theft Addictions & Disorders
February 2007 E-Newsletter


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

Well, we're one month into the New Year. How are you doing? Do you feel "new"? Did you make any resolutions? Did you break them yet? And here comes Valentine's Day right around the corner.

For many, this holidy is truly a joyous occasion--an opportunity to make that little (or big) extra effort to show someone you really care, you really love 'em. For others, it's a dreaded day: whether you don't have a "significant" other, you're going through relationship "challenges," or you just can't seem to get on board with the whole "Hallmark" feel of it.  When was the last time you took yourself on a date?

Is it possible the best indicator of whether Valentine's Day--or any day for that matter--is a joyful opportunity to love is: have I loved myself first?   We've all paid lip service to the platitude "you have to love yourself before you love someone else." But do we really believe it? Do we really live it? Or do we live like the famous line in "Jerry Maguire"--waiting for someone to "complete me"? But "I love him/her more than I love myself." Does that sound noble... or sad?

I'm not speaking as someone who has mastered self-love. I'm speaking as a fellow journeyer. I've been married almost five years now and, I can tell you, keeping love alive isn't always easy. I'm also recognizing that I really want to learn to love others more deeply and to receive others' love more deeply. If you're like me and you've ever had trouble taking a compliment, accepting help, or letting love in, it's likely there some residue of unworthiness lodged in our hearts, keeping us from fully loving ourselves and, therefore, from fully loving one another.

We use the term "significant other." What about "significant self"? Sounds funny, doesn't it? As if to love ourselves still sounds conceited, self-centered, and narcissitic. I like the saying "I am my only life partner." In essence, I am married to myself whether I like it or not--there's no real divorcing myself--so I might as well continue to work on this primary relationship with me... while I continue to offer the best I have of my love to others. There's also the saying "we are all one, we're all connected." To the degree I embrace this as true, it seems to follow as a goal or intention to treat others as I would like to be treated and vice-versa.

We're not taught much about self-love or self-care. Our bodies, minds and spirits are truly temples. Nobody's perfect. I don't love myself perfectly and I haven't yet loved anybody else perfectly--if I'm perfectly honest. But I'm really starting to get that the degree to which I can love anybody unconditionally is largely contingent on how able I am to love myself unconditionally. Even when it seems I treat others better than I treat myself, it has often felt as if I've tried to love someone hard enough to make myself feel good enough, worthy of their love. It's a sad but common game. Actually, I've heard it said that the phrase "unconditional love" is redundant: love, by definition, is unconditional... anything else is not love.

One of my other favorite aphorisms is by Peter Rengel from his book "Living Life in Love": "Loving yourself is accepting yourself, especially when you are not accepting yourself."  Take addictions, for example. Who would deny that at some level, addictions are a form of self-destruction, self-punishment, self-hatred? Certainly, we fall into these cycles and have great challenges, pulling themselves out even when we are hurting and claim to want help. But, I believe, what keeps us from stopping smoking, overeating, overdrinking, overspending--you name it--is that the fuel for our madness hasn't yet been siphoned out of our tanks; that fuel, deep down, is self-loathing. And the more I hate myself for falling into an addiction in the first place, the more my addiction gets a stranglehold on me.

Often, asking for help is the key because someone can lend a hand and remind me I am loveable and assist me in my journey toward greater self-acceptance and self-love. If I am accepting and loving myself at a high level, it is unlikely I would do anything to harm myself physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

We might just take note of the ways in which we recognize we aren't loving ourselves. The point isn't to further beat up on ourselves but, to take honest account of where we're out of integrity. Again, be ready to share with someone or ask for help. Ultimately, the best gift we can give ourselves and our loved ones is taking good care of ourselves. We know this is true.

So, this Valentine's Day, I plan on doing something special for my wife to let her know I love her. Of course, I hope she knows that already--the holiday is just another opportunity to be creative in expressing it. But even before I put my focus on her, I am already checking in with how I'm loving me. I am giving myself the gift of exercise, eating well, taking down time, asking for help when needed, easing up on my perfectionism, and just patting myself on the back for being a good person at heart. I'm also planning on giving myself some kind of little treat for Valentine's Day to "pay myself first," to fill my tank full of love so that it spills over to others.

I encourage each of us to send ourselves a Valentine to remember.

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                 Tina M. Shulman, Certified Massage Therapist

Speaking of Valentine's, I'd like to acknowledge a very special person in my life: my wife Tina. We've been married almost five years. Tina just turned 50 last November and is celebrating 20 years this year as a certified massage therapist. These days, massage therapists are a dime a dozen: like Starbucks, they're all over the place. But just as I feel, at times, like a pioneer in the field of theft addictions treatment, Tina got in on the ground floor when massage therapists--at least in the United States--were rare and were treated like an oddity. She's related the story many times that, in the early days, when she told people what she did for a living, strange looks were the norm--as if a massage therapist was a code name for "prostitute."

From her earliest days as a young girl, Tina always saw herself "touching people" to heal and comfort. She had a brief career as a cosmetologist but couldn't adapt to the chemicals exposure. She found out about a massage school in metro Detroit which a woman in her 60's was teaching out of her basement. This teacher, now in her '80's, has recently been recognized as a pioneer in massage therapy and opened a multi-million dollar massage school. Tina started work right out of school and has always worked as her own boss--another rarity in the early days, especially for women. She continued her studies and excelled at several massage techniques including Swedish, sports, cranial-sacral, trigger point, as well as reiki. She has worked with both table and chair massage. She has had offices in the home and out of the home and has made house calls. She has worked in companies, done parties and special events, and has worked with infants, kids, animals, and adults. She recently worked chair massage with two colleagues at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

I am one of Tina's clients as well. She has taught me a lot about balancing strength and gentleness and about listening and paying attention intuitively to subtle energy shifts and responses. I want to honor Tina as a pioneer in the art and science of massage therapy. She is a healer and a brave businesswoman. She followed her heart and has stayed with a career that was not initially popular or well-paying. She has touched thousands of lives, figuratively and literally.


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The Shulman Center Update


*I had two radio interviews on shoplifting and shopping addictions

*I have two phone interviews with persons writing articles about shopping addictions

*The National News reported Holiday sales were strong but shoplifting & employee theft kept pace

*I began a 14 week training on compulsive shopping/spending treatment to better counsel clients


*I am visiting Florida for vacation and business and will be dropping in on Feb. 9th to see my "coach" Lyn Kelley presenting in Palm Beach.

*The Oprah Winfrey Show will be airing a segment on "The Secret"--the law of attraction. Check dates.

*I will be firming up whether to proceed with 2nd International Conf. on Theft Addictions & Disorders

*I will be offering group therapy for persons in recovery from compulsive theft/stealing

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Shopping Addiction Seminar

Thursday February 15, 2007  7-10pm -- "Is Your Shopping Addiction Hiding in the Closet?"-- a seminar by April Lane Benson, Ph.D., Founder, Stopping Overshopping, LLC, Editor, I Shop, Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying and the Search for Self (Aronson, 2000). See

Where: The Institue for Comtemporary Psychotherapy 1821 Broadway at 60th St. New York, NY

To Register: Call ICP at 212-333-3444 or Contact Dr. Benson from her website

NOTE: This month I am beginning a 7-month/14 session training by phone with Dr. Benson to further develop an expertise in assessing and treating compulsive buying/shopping/spending disorders.

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Now Available!

*Available on DVD or CD: My 90-minute presentation on theft addictions and disorders at the 2006 Michigan Social Workers Annual Conference. $50 for the DVD, $25 for the CD or $65 for both. Please contact me directly.

*Available on DVD: my hour-long presentation on theft addictions and disorders from Brighton Hospital September 7, 2006: $75.00; Also, my hour-long presentation on employee theft at The Michigan Financial Managers Conference on October 19, 2006: $50.00; my two hour-long presentation on thefts addictions and disorders at the Birmingham Community House November 9, 2006: $50.00; and my two hour-long presentation on theft addictions and disorders at the San Fernando Valley Employee Assistance Meeting on October 27, 2006: $50.00.

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Contact The Shulman Center

Terrence Shulman
P.O. Box 250008
Franklin, Michigan 48025


Or call:
(248) 358-8508

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Related Sites by Terrence Shulman:

Related sites by Terrence Shulman:
The Shulman Center 

Something For Nothing
Biting The Hand That Feeds

CALL 248-358-8508 for a free consultation.

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© 2007 The Shulman Center