The Shulman Center

Terrence Shulman
Founder/Director of
The Shulman Center

Terry Shulman

February 2010 Monthly e-Newsletter
" Shoplifting Can Kill You (or Others) "
Terrence Daryl Shulman

ANNOUNCEMENTS! Happy Valentines Day!

Mark your calendars!

Therapist Telephone Training on compulsive theft and spending begins this February! Please contact Terrence Shulman at or 248-358-8508 for more information.
Be on the cutting edge of these newer and exciting fields of treatment. Led by Mr. Shulman, learn how
to assess and treat clients who suffer from compulsive theft and/or spending.

Check out our newly updated blog at


Shoplifting Can Kill You (or Others)!

The above article links chronicle events which occurred in the metro-Detroit area in mid-January. In
one instance, a security guard was dragged to death by a vehicle he attempted to stop which was
driven by a couple of suspected "petty shoplifters." In the second and unrelated instance, later that
same day, three men suspected of "petty shoplifting" were eluding police on a freeway--endangering
others--and crashed their car: all 3 were killed.

The following is an opinion/editorial piece I quickly composed and forwarded to several of our largest
local newspapers. It was not published--nor did I receive any follow-up responses of interest. I offer it
here as a reminder to us all--whatever your thoughts or feelings on these type of events--which are not isolated and seem to be increasing in today's economy--that life is precious and many tragedies are tragedies because their consequences are so often unforeseen...

"And so we are here again: multiple deaths related to shoplifting incidents in our community—this
time, within a 24-hour cycle.

What a tragedy for all: the security guard killed while trying to apprehend a Pontiac couple, the three
men killed on the freeway trying to elude police after their suspected petty theft, and the families
and friends of those who knew the deceased.

And, of course, Detroit makes the national (and world) news again.

Not since roughly 10 years ago—in 2001—did the crime of shoplifting make the news in such a
dramatic way. Of course, there was Winona Ryder's (in)famous shoplifting arrest (and subsequent
trial and conviction), But there were also four local deaths between late 2000 and 2001--all suspected
shoplifters including a man choked at Kroger's, a man suffocated at Rite Aid, and a woman crushed
while hiding in a trash compactor outside Fairlane Mall.

In 2001, we scratched our heads over Winona—why would she do it, she's a millionaire? In the
Detroit area deaths—as attorney Geoffrey Fieger represented the family's of the deceased—our local
and national conversation seemed limited to whether the security guards used excessive force or were
racist (all the guards and victims were black) or whether, somehow, those who do the crime can't
control their fate (in other words, they may have deserved it).

One thing positive may have come from those deaths a decade ago: the state legislature began
the process for a universal training for loss prevention and store security personnel. From my
research, some other states followed suit.

Of course, these changes didn't prevent the recent tragedies before us.

I asked the question then in a Free Press op-ed (I don't believe it was ever answered) and I ask it
again now? Why is there so much shoplifting and what, really, can be done? Of course, complex
questions often entail complex answers.

Some theorized that maybe the most recent shoplifters stole to sell items to feed their drug habit.
Another theory is that the economy led others to make desperate and rash decisions. There may be
some truth to either theory but that's little comfort to anyone. Statistics show that a sizeable portion
of the community shoplifts and that, since the economic downturn 2 years ago shoplifting has
increased 5-10%. A recent study by Jack Hayes, International estimates there are 300 million
shoplifting incidents in the U.S. each year.

One size doesn't fit all. People shoplift for different reasons: there are professional thieves who do it
for a living. There are drug/alcohol addicts, gambling addicts, and even shopping addicts who steal to
save money to get their fix or steal and sell to get their fix or pay off debts. There are those who feel
they have to steal due to lack of money. There are youth who steal on a dare or to "keep up with
the (younger) Joneses." And there are people who actually get addicted to shoplifting itself—the high,
the rush, the adrenaline.

In March 2010 I will be celebrating 20 years of recovery myself from shoplifting addiction. It took
two arrests—the last in 1990—before I "hit my bottom." I felt so depressed I almost took my own life
over the shame of shoplifting. Fortunately, I entered counseling to deal with my issues and later
started local support groups and became an addiction therapist specializing in treating "theft
disorders"—including shoplifting and employee theft.

In my many years working with persons in our support groups as well as my private clients, I have
known or heard of persons who killed themselves over shoplifting, persons who lost their marriages,
their kids, their careers, their freedom, their dignity. It is never worth it—but tell that to someone who
 already doesn't value their life.

Most shoplifters don't flee when confronted or apprehended. Many begin crying, many secretly want
to get caught so their secret pain and out-of-control behavior might end.

Unfortunately, many do panic. And the results can be deadly. Yes, like alcohol, drugs, and other
addictions, shoplifting can be dangerous to your health...and the health of others.

So, if you have a shoplifting problem--whatever the reason--or you're thinking about shoplifting as
some kind of solution--don't do it! Get help now. And if you know or suspect a family member or friend
is shoplifting or thinking about shoplifting, talk to the--quickly--before it's too late."

Consumer Confidence?

U.S. retail sales actually dropped by 2% in December 2009 compared to December 2008 despite a 
rebounding economy. Final figures for the entire year 2009 are still pending. While certain ecomomic
indicators have improved (such as the stock market) and others have leveled off (such as un-
employment, inflation, and fuel prices) we all need to be aware that an "aftershock" could be looming
and we need to find a healthy balance between spending and saving--not just now but always.

Launching of Bay Area Impulse Control Center

I'd like to give a shout out to my friend and colleague Elizabeth Corsale, of the former Shoplifters
Recovery Program in San Francisco. She and her colleague, Dr. Samantha Smithstein, are launching
The Bay Area Impulse Control Center this month. They will treat a variety of disorders including
stealing, sex addiction, and video game/Internet addiction.

Please visit their website at:


Noted Money Harmony Therapist/Author Offering Teleconferencs

Olivia Mellan, a Washington, D.C.-based therapist and author who specializes in working with money
issues and overshopping and overspending is offering a series of teleconference seminars which
are designed to help individuals and/or couples learn how to find harmony around these issues. I
count Olivia as both a colleague and a friend and consider her, along with Dr. April Benson of New York
to be among the early pioneers on money/shopping/spending issues.

Please visit Olivia and find out more about her work at:


Book of the month: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman (1995, Northfield Publishing)

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I recently started re-reading a book I've had for several years: Gary
The Five Love Languages.  I highly recommend it for individuals and couples and have
referred my clients to it on occasion.

The main premise of the book--as I understand it--is that there are primarily five ways in which we give
and receive love--partly naturally and partly through learning. These five primary ways include: words
of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, physical touch. Think of this as a Myers-Briggs
or Enneagram-like exploration of your core "love-type."

Think about yourself: of these five "love languages," are the a few that really stick out for you as the
primary ways in which you tend to express your love to others? Are you the "touchy feely" type?
Are you "the gift giver"? The "poet/poetess" or "sweet-talker"? Do you love helping others and doing
favors? Or is it just quality time you tend to offer as one of your main gifts to others?

Now, think about the primary ways that you prefer to receive love or caring from others? Do you crave
or somewhat cringe at touch? Do you get excited when you get gifts or not so much? Is quality t
ime important or do favors and acts of service (from allowing you your space to doing the dishes) put
you at ease or get your engine runnin'? Do you need or soak in praise or compliments or do you bat
them away?

Where it gets really interesting is that, quite naturally (as the book says) we tend to give love in the
language or way we wish to receive it. For instance, if I tend to crave touch I may just assume that
my partner or other loved ones do as well. This ain't always the case; my partner may prefer kind
words--at least as a prelude to touch--and kind words may not be as important for me to receive or
may not be my natural inclination to offer.

Couples truly often are like the proverbial "ships passing in the night." One is speaking one love
language and the other is speaking another. It would be like one partner speaks French and the other
only speaks and understands Italian. It usually doesn't start off that way. Typically, early in a
relationship--in the "infatuation phase" we may be speaking nearly all the love languages. Eventually,
things tend to settle into our most early and natural ways of expressing and receiving love.

Most of these patterns are formed early in childhood. For example, perhaps our parents showered us
with gifts so we learned that "gifts equal love" and we may have had fond memories of such. Thus, we
may grow up giving gifts to others to express that same love, or giving gifts to ourselves to reward or s
oothe ourselves, or we may expect and crave gifts from others in order to feel they really love us, too!
But a partner's primary way of expressing love may be very different.

In other cases, we may focus on what we didn't receive in early life and become fixated on that; we
may have gotten nice gifts but never got kissed or hugged or never felt we were given quality time.
Thus, we often crave an expression of love which we lacked; again, our partner may or may not be
able to provide this naturally, consistently, or powerfully.

So, I highly recommend this book as a provocative and playful catalyst toward discovering more
about yourself and your loved ones. The good news is that, through communication and practice, you
and those close to you may be able to adapt, focus and practice the ways that best work for giving
and receiving love.

Happy Valentine's Day! Whether you're with a partner or not or whether your relationship is going great
or has been hitting some rough patches, The Five Love Languages might just be the book that opens
up a new window of possibility for you.


Compulsive Theft & Spending in The News! January/February 2010:

January 1--Mr. Shulman had an article in the Jack Hayes, International Loss Prevention
quarterly newsletter. See

January 11--Mr. Shulman was interviewed on hoarding by Boston-based Karen Kenney, a 
professional organizer, on her radio/Internet show. See

January 12--Mr. Shulman was featured in an article about shoplifting in The Kansas City Star.

January 15--Mr. Shulman was featured in an online article on compulsive shopping/spending in the 
San Francisco-based XPress Magazine. See

January 19--Mr. Shulman was interviewed on an Internet radio station devoted to parenting issues. 
See /

January 21--Mr. Shulman was interviewed about compulsive shopping/spending in The Atlanta
Journal Constitution.

Mr. Shulman is assisting the Baton Rouge, Louisiana court system a court-ordered three hour 
facilitated educational program for retail fraud offenders. The program is based on material from
his book "Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery" (2003).

Beyond February...

Mr. Shulman is to be featured in an article on shoplifting addiction and youth in the April 2010 edition
of Seventeen Magazine.

Mr. Shulman to be featured on self-publishing and creating a counseling practice/business

Mr. Shulman submitted a chapter on employee theft for a U.K. book entitled "Risky Business" to
be  released in early 2010.

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 is offered through The American Psychotherapy Association and is available for purchase
by APA members and non-members and CEs are available.

Mr. Shulman created an online education course called "Creating an Honest and Theft-Free 
Workplace" based on his book and Power Point presentation through 360 Training Services.
CEs are available. See

Mr. Shulman is assisting with a CNN TV news story about compulsive shopping/spending in
today's  economy.

Mr. Shulman will be featured in a segment on shoplifting addiction in the MSNBC series "Theft in 
America" to air in late 2009/early 2010.

Mr. Shulman is consulting on the development of a major motion picture tentatively called "The Rush" 
in which the lead character is addicted to shoplifting and stealing.

Mr. Shulman continues to assist the Kingman, Arizona court system with his court-ordered home-
study program for retail fraud offenders. The program is based on material from his book "Something for
Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery" (2003).

Mr. Shulman is consulting with an author who is writing a novel about two kleptomaniacs who fall in
love with each other.

Contact The Shulman Center

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


Call (248) 358-8508 for free consulation!

Related sites by Terrence Shulman:


Something For Nothing
Biting The Hand That Feeds
Bought Out and $pent

Products for Purchase--ON SALE through 2009!

Mr. Shulman's three books "Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction & Recovery" and "Biting The Hand That Feeds: The Employee Theft Epidemic... New Perspectives, New Solutions," and "Bought Out and $pent! Recovery from Compulsive $hopping and $pending" are availabe for $25.00 each (includes shipping/handling).

Second International Conference on Compulsive Theft & Spending 2 DVD set (6 Hours). Recorded 9/08. $100.00.

Click here to purchase

E-mail Mr. Shulman:


Call (248) 358-8508