The Shulman Center 1


    Greetings from The Shulman Center!

Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding Newsletter 

Feburary  2013 -- Happy Valentine's Day & African History Month!


   Celebrating 20 years  

 of Serving People! 

   1992 - 2012


 20th Anniversary Year




Shoplifters Anonymous



Quotes of the Month:


"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck." -- Emma Goldman


"We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing another. " 



"It is better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all." -- Samuel Butler


"Kisses are a better fate than wisdom." -- e.e. cummings


"The Eskimos have 52 names for love because if was that important to them; we should have as many names for love." -- Margaret Atwood


"The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing." -- Blaise Pascal



Stats of the Month:


Couples are most likely to argue about money in their first and third years of marriage.


40% of women say their boyfriends or husbands are not romantic very often or never are romantic. 75% of men say they are consistently romantic.  Cosmopolitan


According to 2012 Fox News Magazine:

-17% of divorces are caused by infidelities.

-70% of men admit to cheating on their wives.

-2/3 of women were not aware of their husbands' affairs.

-55% of women admitted to having affairs on their husbands.


15% of women buy themselves flowers for Valentines Day.



Person of the Month: 

Barack Obama


Whatever your political persuasion, most will agree that the re-election of Barack Obama as president was a monumental decision that will certainly impact the United States and the world. 


President Obama battled and won re-election despite a fragile economy, a poor initial debate performance, and $1 Billion spent against him (yes, he also spent $1 Billion on his campaign). 


My hope is that Obama's re-election will help many minorities realize they can achieve just about anything in America. It is likely we will also have a female president one day soon. I also hope the country and the political parties can find common ground to solve problems and increase the level of civility moving forward.


Celebrate African History Month this February!



Book of the Month:


The Fine Print: 

How Big Companies Use "Plain English" To Rob You Blind!  

by David Cay Johnston (2012, Penguin Press)


From the author of "Perfectly Legal" and "Free Lunch," David Cay Johnston is carving out a niche for pulling back the curtain on tricks and scams that go on right under our noses every day in America, costing us billions of dollars. It's legalized theft! How can we fight back?


His latest book, "The Fine Print" continues in this vein. From the inside cover:


Johnston has been known to whip out a utility bill and explain line by line what all that mumbo jumbo actually means (and it doesn't mean anything good, unless you happen to be the utility company).

Within all that jargon, disclosed in accord with all legal requirements, lie the tools these companies use to rob you blind. 


If you're tired of being a victim, read this book!



Film of the Month:


"The Perks of Being A Wallflower" (2012)

Directed by Stephen Chbosky,

 Starring Emma Watson


This high school drama-comedy is one of those rare and wonderful films in the genre such as "The Breakfast Club," "Less Than Zero," and "Say Anything" that treats its characters and the movie viewer with intelligence and respect. 


The movie is based on a best-selling book and has great acting. The story follows a trio of outcasts and their efforts to find their authentic selves. As the film moves on, we learn more about how these characters evolved and we root for them to succeed against difficult odds. 


Fun, brave, bold! Required viewing for current teens and those of us who (barely) survived adolescence.





If you or someone you know is struggling with compulsive shoplifting, stealing, shopping or hoarding, the holidays see a marked uptick in these behaviors. Got a "holiday hangover"? Call now to schedule a 1-hour post-holiday recovery tune-up! It may be the best gift you can give yourself or your loved one. Contact us at: 248-358-8508



If you are interested in joining Mr. Shulman for a once/week phone therapy group on recovery from compulsive stealing, spending, and/or hoarding, please contact him at 248-358-8508 as soon as possible to learn more.


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


January 2013--Mr. Shulman had an article about shoplifting addiction in the Winter 2013 issue of Jack Hayes International Loss Prevention Newsletter. See: Newsletter


January 24, 2013--Mr. Shulman presented on hoarding disorder at the Birmingham (Michigan) Community House.


March 27,2013--Mr. Shulman will present on hoarding disorder to the Michigan Nurses Association. 


Early 2013--Mr. Shulman has penned the "Foreword" for upcoming book Shoplifters: Are They Out of Control? by California forensic psychologist John C. Brady. 


April 22, 2013--Mr. Shulman is a proposed presenter on employee theft at the Admiral Beverage Company's Annual Conferencein Albuquerque, N.M. 


April 28, 2013--Mr. Shulman is a proposed presenter on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding at the NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) in Los Angeles, CA.




The first major holiday of the new year is upon us: Valentines Day. Many are still recovering from broken New Years resolutions and are just confronting the sticker shock from the past holiday season. According to the Retail and Marketing Association (RAMA), nearly 60% of Americans celebrated Valentines Day in some way, spending about $10 billion dollars--making it one of the biggest spending holidays of the year. 


While I'll probably buy my wife a card, some flowers and take her out for lunch or dinner (probably lunch!), I want to express my love for her in ways besides gifts and spending, too. Gary Chapman's wonderful book "The Five Love Languages" describes five primary ways we express and receive love: gifts, acts of service,  kind words/appreciation, physical touch, and quality time. 


Using Chapman's model, think about some simple, inexpensive creative way(s) to show your love. Gifts are nice, but both men and women report what's really important to feeling love are the other four "gifts."


The interesting thing about these "five love languages" is that we often find ourselves expressing love in a way we think our partners want to receive it but, more often, we tend to express it in a way we'd like to receive it. Some who love to receive gifts might assume their partner is really into receiving gifts too, but he or she might really desire quality time or a massage. 


So, stop for a moment or two and consider both how you want to express love and also how your partner best receives love. Hopefully, your partner will do the same.


For those who don't have a significant other (as well as for some who do) Valentines Day--and all that goes along with it--can provoke feelings of dread. As I often say: holidays can be the best and worst of times. So, whether you're looking forward to Valentines Day or not, there are many ways to show our love (romantic or not) for others without feeling stressed, obligated or inauthentic. 


Another thing many of us never consider is that Valentines Day is yet another opportunity for us to be our own Valentine, too! In what way(s) might we treat or nurture ourselves in a healthy way? Many of us always put ourselves last! Ideally, we shouldn't need a holiday to remind us to be loving to others or ourselves but it is what it is. So, what is one "gift" you can give yourself using the "five love languages" model? Remember: I'm my only life partner--from the moment I'm born to the day I die. 


One "gift" we can give ourselves (or another) is the gift of recovery. Consider getting counseling, attending a self-help group, and/or reading books on addiction/recovery.


If you're a shoplifter or shoplifting addict, what better gift could you give yourself than the help you really need. No amount of stolen stuff will fill your void or make life right. If money is an issue for your, think of how much it will cost when you're arrested (again?) and have to pay for a lawyer, costs, fines and therapy then! 


If you're stealing from your work/employer, it may seem easy to justify but you can't feel good about yourself and the double-life you're leading. And, as with shoplifting, there's no such thing as something for nothing: your theft will be discovered and you'll be in a world of financial and emotional pain. 


If you're an overshopper/overspender or a hoarder, no amount of stuff will make you happy of at peace. If you're going to spend money, why not really invest in yourself? There has to be another way. Take that first step... the rest you don't need to do on your own.


Loving and being loved are no hallmark simple endeavors. But this Valentines Day may be your best yet if you can find a way to get real about what love really is and what it really isn't.





Over the last year, the legacy of Lance Armstrong has been slowly crumbing as increasing accusations, confessions by his former cycling teammates, and circumstantial evidence put pressure on him to recently "come clean" about not only his cheating but his lying. 

We love to have our heros, don't we? And we both love and hate when they disappoint us. Hate it because we don't like feeling duped or gullible. Love it because it reassures us that maybe we're not so bad after all because they're not so good after all.

Now, I doubt that many are really surprised that even the best and most cherished of our athletes cheat in one form or another. In the last week, Alex Rodriguez--the star slugger of the New York Yankees--is mired in an investigation that he "doped" as recently as last year!

What makes Lance Armstrong's case a bit different--and, in my opinion, more disturbing--are several factors. First, Armstrong was able to avoid detection for nearly a decade, winning 7 straight consecutive Tour de France competitions; this is a man living with a lie for a long time. Second, Armstrong held himself out not only as a role model athlete but a role model citizen with his LiveStrong Foundation for cancer research--that makes his fall from grace more "tragic" as many looked up to him as much for his athletic prowess as for his philanthropism. Third, Armstrong not only denied his own doping but actively bullied others who accused him, calling them liars, and even sued people and publications (and winning millions in damages) who accused him. Fourth, Armstrong only seemed to come clean when absolutely cornered and banned from cycling forever and, it appears, one of his main motivations is to salvage his cycling career rather than coming clean for the sake of coming clean. Fifth, in his recent interview with Oprah, he revealingly stated he didn't think of himself as cheating because he looked up the definition of cheater in a dictionary and it said "to break the rules to gain an unfair advantage." Armstrong considered doping to be so widespread in cycling that he was merely leveling the field. That logic is the same as stating that since there is so much stealing in the world, I'm not a thief if I steal.  No dice, Lance.

Now, lest I sound too judgmental here, let me say: I hope Lance can rebuild his life. He didn't kill anyone but he and others who take unfair short cuts in any field should have consequences. I get what he said to Oprah about the culture of competition to be the best. I get how much pressure one may feel to keep up an image. I get that others doped, too, and for all we know, higher-ups knew, looked the other way, and maybe even encouraged it. I get that he parlayed the same drive to beat cancer into cycling and that he now realizes that wasn't good. I also was encouraged to hear him say that he'll spend the rest of his life regaining the trust and respect of people. I hope he achieves that; indeed, this good be his biggest achievement of all. 






Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.--Jonathan Swift


All of us take risks at some point in our life. Some risks are calculated, some impulsive. Some risks relate to basic life choices: getting into a relationship, going to college, applying for a job, buying a home. We take other risks for the feeling of thrill, excitement, or danger: driving fast, sky-diving, having an affair. Rule-breaking can be part of normal development-individuating and rebelling, testing the bounds of authority. But it can get out of control.


We also learn about taking risks and breaking rules from those around us. We appear to live in a world of risks and rule-breaking. The recent financial meltdown was due to high-risks and loose-if any-rules. When the "innocent" pay for the "sins" of the guilty, is it any wonder there's cynicism-not to mention, a whole lot of people walking away from their mortgages whether they had to or chose to.


Be honest, have you ever done any of the following?:

  1. shoplifted?
  2. stolen something, anything from work?
  3. lied to get out of a jam?
  4. cheated on a test?
  5. embellished your resume?
  6. been unfaithful in a relationship?
  7. fudged some figures on your taxes?
  8. broke or severely bent some rule to your advantage?
  9. found money or valuables and made no sincere effort to find its rightful owner?
  10. plagiarized someone else's words as your own? 

If you answered "yes" to any one of these questions, don't worry, you're probably not alone. If you answered "yes" to most of these questions, you may do well to do a little soul-searching--especially if you are trying to raise honest kids.


I'm not a parent myself but I have an 11-year old nephew I see regularly. My wife and I live in metro-Detroit and have been married over 10 years. Over the years, I've heard from from many adults that there seems to be a frightful decrease in ethics, civility, and respect for rules and the law in our culture--especially among the younger "me/entitlement" generation. One could argue, however, that the adults (for example, Congress and many CEOs and public figures) aren't exactly presenting the best role models of integrity for today's youth. 


Recently, we saw Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lance Armstrong, and Charlie Sheen stoop to new lows-not winning, but losing-public respect and support. However, there does seem to be a worrisome trend. Cheating typically begins in middle school. Back in 1940, only 20 percent of college students admitted to cheating during their academic careers. Today, that number has increased to a range of 75%-98%. We've even heard of scandals involving teachers cheating on tests for their own benefit by marking up students' scores.


Consider the following statistics:

  • Over 10% (30 million) Americans shoplift and about 1/4 are under age 18. The Shulman Center 2011 estimate
  • 75% of employees steal from work and most do so repeatedly. (2010) U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Time theft (loafing) costs U.S. companies $500 Billion/year in lost productivity. (2005) Denver Post
  • 59% of American high school students say they cheated on a test in the past year; 21% say they stole from a relative; 80% say they lied to a parent; 92% say they're satisfied with their ethics and character. (2011) Josephine Institute of Ethics
  • Nine out of ten middle schoolers admit to copying someone else's homework; two-thirds say they have cheated on exams; 75%-98% percent of college students surveyed each year admit to cheating at some time in their academic careers. (2011)
  • 15% of Americans said they would be likely to cheat on their taxes. (2010) DBB Worldwide
  • 30% of employers have fired employees for misuse of e-mails or Internet on the job. (2007) American Management Association on Policy Institute


The healthy being craves an occasional wildness, a jolt from normality, a sharpening of the edge of appetite... a brief excursion from his way of life.-Robert MacIver


As an attorney and therapist, I've specialized in working with addicted clients, including many who are chronic risk takers and rule breakers, for over 20 years. In fact, for a 10-year period of my own life--from age 15-25--I intermittently shoplifted and stole money or product from various jobs. I was arrested and prosecuted for shoplifting twice--at age 21 and 24--before I got into therapy and began to explore and resolve many of the underlying issues that were fueling my bad "acting out" behavior. In part, I found out I had become "addicted to stealing"--to the rush and danger of it, to the relief I got from venting my pent-up anger and feelings of stress over having to become the "man of the house" at age 11 after my parents' divorce. I felt like I was making life fair by getting something for nothing--it was a counter-balance to my suffering and sacrifice, my chronic overgiving. But I always felt conflicted--like I was living a double life. In essence, my stealing was a "cry for help." But nobody seemed to be listening or attuned to me. 


While I learned to accept responsibility for my dishonesty, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out I was basically a good kid and my dishonest behavior evolved from emotional distress and some pretty poor role modeling from my father who was an alcoholic, had affairs, routinely didn't pay child support, never apologized for anything, and bent just about every rule he could.


Parents, pay attention! Your kids are watching you... and they're learning about honesty and dishonesty from you (as well as others). We need to ask ourselves the following questions:

  1. How honest am I and how often do I follow or play by the rules?
  2. Has my child witnessed my dishonesty and, if so, what have I said/done about this?
  3. Do I hold double-standards for myself or other people or am I consistent?
  4. Am I physically/emotionally attuned/available to my children or do I need to improve this?
  5. Do I put too much pressure on my kid(s) to get good grades, achieve, never make mistakes?
  6. When my kid(s) get in trouble or make a mistake or get a bad grade, how do I react? 
  7. Do I convey unconditional love for my child(ren) or do I convey love only when they behave?


Here are some common reasons why kids (and adults) may break rules or take risks:

1. Not proactively taught value of following rules/being careful/being honest

2. Had too many rules/too many cautions against taking risks (rebelled)

3. Witnessed rule breaking/risk taking by others (poor role-modeling)

4. Had own boundaries violated/was abused or betrayed

5. Was let down by authority/saw hypocrisy of authority

6. Peer pressure--broke rules to fit in and/or taught rules were made to be broken

7. Attention deficit/hyperactivity-easily distracted/restless

8. Narcissistic tendencies--rules don't apply to me

9. Had to raise self; therefore, little respect for authority

10. Experience excitement, power, satisfaction from risks/rule-breaking


It's not the dumb kids who cheat, it's the kids with a 4.6 GPA who are under the pressure of keeping their grades up in order to get into the best colleges.--South Bay, CA teacher/parent


I was counseling a client recently--a woman in her 30's, mother of two young boys--who had been struggling with shoplifting addiction for about ten years. She shared how she felt horrified to discover her 8-year old son has stolen some rope from a local store owned by a neighbor-friend. He, apparently, lied when they first confronted him but he finally told the truth. I asked her how she and her husband handled it. She said she yelled at her son--mostly out of fear that he'd develop a habit of stealing like she did--and that her husband gave him the whooping of his life. Then, she said, they prayed to God and asked their son to pray to God for forgiveness and marched their son over to the neighbor-friend's to confess and pay him $5 for the rope. 


The cover-up is worse than the crime.--Anonymous


I asked my client her why do you think your son stole the rope? "He said he stole it because I never buy him anything and always say no when he asks--which isn't true." I asked her why he might feel this way then. She said that he's probably just missing his Dad who's been working overtime the last few months and, also, because she had been saying "no" more recently since she wasn't just shoplifting things for her kids. She also stated that her son had a substantial amount of money in the bank from inheritance and allowances he had saved and that he didn't like to touch it. We explored how he may be developing an obsession around saving and not spending his own money. She also denied that he knew anything about her history of shoplifting but was open to my suggestion that it's possible he knew even on an intuitive level that she was engaging in dishonest or secretive behavior and was acting out as a cry for attention and reassurance. Then I asked her how she felt about yelling at her son and about her husband's beating him. "Not good," she stated plainly.


I'm not a child-psychologist or expert on raising kids but I believe when stealing or other dishonest behavior occurs-two strategies don't tend to work well: "under kill" and "over kill." I submit that a child's disruptive behavior is an invitation for a conversation with him or her. Sweeping it under the rug or letting it slide sends the unspoken message that it's not a big deal. On the other hand, if some discipline, punishment, or consequences are in order, it is important to teach why his or her behavior is inappropriate and not to shame the child into feeling like he or she is an awful human being, afraid to ever face making a mistake or displeasing the parent again. Parents, we must also take a hard look at ourselves to admit if we have directly or indirectly taught our children about dishonesty through negative example. 


We may also do well to explore and discuss with our children why honesty is important--beyond what the law or the Bible says. Break it down for them. For instance, you may share stories from your own life along the theme that honesty promotes: trust, self-esteem, being given responsibilities, good relationships, serenity/peace of mind, others being honest with you, spiritual connectedness, and admiration and respect.


Honesty is its own reward.--Anonymous


While none of us can watch over our children 24/7 (though many try!) and guard or protect them from the negative influences of the world, we can do what we can do to work on ourselves and our own integrity and, hopefully, model and discuss it with our kids and, perhaps, others around us. It may seem that the world is a largely dishonest place but, we must remember not to give up hope. Also, it is common for the news to report 9 stories of doom and gloom for every one story of heroism and positivity. While playing by the rules and being honest is not necessarily a guarantee that life will work out as we want it to, it does increase the odds overall and that this will occur and decreasing the odds of experiencing trouble, chaos and humiliation. Besides, as they say: "thoughts lead to actions, actions lead to habits, and habits build character."



Walk in peace.



The Shulman Center 2013 Events Calendar 


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 with360 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. 



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



I recently was told about a website resource that lists strategies for cleaning and de-cluttering and sells various books and products that help with this; so, I'm passing it along... 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:





CLES cover 

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 a 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).