The Shulman Center 1


    Greetings from The Shulman Center!

Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding Newsletter 

January  2013 -- Happy New Year!


   Celebrating 20 years  

 of Serving People! 

   1992 - 2012


 20th Anniversary Year




Shoplifters Anonymous



Quotes of the Month:


"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other" -- Abraham Lincoln


"How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them" -- Ben Franklin


"The changes in our lives must come from the impossibility to live otherwise according to the demands of our conscience not from our mental resolution to try to form a new life'" -- Leo Tolstoy


"Men should pledge themselves to nothing; for reflection makes a liar of their resolution"-- Sophocles


"People need revelation, and then they need resolution" -- Damian Lewis


"New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time" -- James Agate



Stats of the Month:


What do people dread most about the holidays? 58% say long lines and crowds; 41% say gaining weight; 30% say getting into debt; and 14% say holiday-themed music. Consumer Reports


A recent survey showed that Americans are more embarrassed to be caught shoplifting than cheating on their taxes, drunk driving, or throwing trash out the window of a moving car. The Sheldon Group


In 2011, the top 4 types of background checks were: 


1. criminal history

2. social security number

3. sex offender registry

4. drug testing


National Retail Federation



Persons of the Month: 

The Schoolchildren


In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut, one can't help but pause and think about not just the children who were killed but those at the school who just returned to classes (albeit in a new building 7 miles from their old school).


Very few of us escape the first ten years of our lives without some significant trauma but few can imagine a more nightmarish experience than a school massacre. 


It's my hope that the community continues to come together to support each other in safety and healing. It's also my hope that we as a nation as well as our elected officials can have intelligent and respectful conversations about violence in our culture so that this massacre (and those before it) might lead to something good.




Book of the Month:



The Sacred Art  

by Rami Shapiro (2009,

Skylight Paths)


In this hope-filled approach to spiritual and personal growth, the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are uniquely interpreted to speak to everyone seeking a freer and more God-centered life. This special rendering makes them relevant to those suffering from specific addictions--alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, sex, and shopping--as well as the general addictions we wrestle with daily, such as anger, greed, and selfishness.


Author Rami Shapiro describes his personal experience working the Twelve Steps as adapted by Overeaters Anonymous and shares anecdotes from many people working the Steps in a variety of settings. Drawing on the insights and practices of the world's major religions, he offers supplementary practices from them to help you move more deeply into the universal spirituality of the Twelve Steps.



Film of the Month:


"Silver Linings Playbook" (2012)

Directed by David O. Russell, starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro.


This movie has been getting rave reviews and they are well-deserved. The film tells the story of middle-aged man who is just released from an 8-month stint in a mental hospital where he has served time for going off his rocker and beating up a man he caught his wife having an affair with.


Homeless, jobless and desperately trying to win back his wife, he moves back home with his parents and struggles to come to terms with his bipolar disorder, his relationship with his father, and his own negative thinking. 


Enter an attractive young widow from the nearby hood who has been facing her own demons since her husband recently died. She falls for the guy and you can tell he's attracted to her. But will he win his wife and life back or will he take a chance and let go to start anew? 


This movie offers a decent depiction of mental illness and how coming to terms with it as well as life losses can lead to healing and transformation. It also manages to appeal to sports and ballroom dance fanatics!





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


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


December 2012--Mr. Shulman had an article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding in Counselor Magazine. See:


December 2012--Mr. Shulman wais quoted in an online article on shopping addiction in Baltimore's Style Magazine. See: Shopping


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


Thursday January 24, 2013--Mr. Shulman will be presenting on hoarding disorder at the Birmingham (Michigan) Community House from 7-9pm. For registration, see: Registration 


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.




I'd like to give a shout-out to my friend and colleague, Dr. April Benson of NYC, who was interviewed on shopping addiction last month on NPR's "The Diane Rehm Show." See link to listen:





Millions of Americans will attempt to turn over a new leaf on January 1st (or thereabouts), pledging to lose weight, spend less money, and quit smoking--according to Oliver Burkeman in a recent Newsweek article. But despite what the self-help industry might tell you, "radical, across-the-board: changes like New Year's resolutions rarely work in practice. Willpower, studies have shown, is a "depletable resource." If you make an overnight change requiring enormous self-discipline, you can quickly use up your stores of willpower, and all your best intentions will fall by the wayside.


But "tiny goals, even absurdly tiny one, can be an effective way to sneak under the radar of your mind," says Burkeman. Exercising for five minutes instead of an hour might sound laughable, but you're "much less likely to resist it"--and the next day, you can exercise for six minutes. Want a better job? Commit to just two hours a week of networking and investigating opportunities. 


New Year's resolutions are based on the fallacy that if only you can find sufficient motivation, you can achieve anything. In reality, motivation is fleeting, and the "biggest barrier to actually getting things done," says Burkeman. Want real change? Take small steps.


Another effective strategy might be just to make a list of your intentions for the new year or a list of things to focus on and place that list where you can see it daily. Don't dwell on specific actions or on deadlines or even a chance of "failing." The idea is to keep the goal in your consciousness on a regular basis and trust that it will take root. For instance, a sample list may look like this:


1. Improve my health

2. Improve my finances

3. Improve my relationships

4. Make time for more rest and more fun

5. Complete my novel





Speaking of resolutions and goals, as The Shulman Center begins its 10th year in business, we look forward to continuing to serve others through education, counseling, coaching, and consulting. 


Some of our preliminary projects for 2013 include: 


1.  To develop and release 4 30-minute psycho-educational DVDs

(on shoplifting, employee theft, shopping/spending, and hoarding).

2.  To help launch more C.A.S.A. (Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous) support groups.

3. To fine-tune our 3-day and 3-month intensive, specialized therapy programs to incorporate what we've learned in the last year. 

4.  To expand our visibility and expertise in the area of hoarding disorder assessment and treatment.

5.  To, by year's end, come up with a concept for a new book to be completed by the end of 2014.

6. To, by year's end, come up with a location for our 4th International Conference on Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding to be held in late 2014.

7. To compile more data on the effectiveness of our counseling programs.

8. To expand into the field of corporate and loss prevention consulting.

9. To present at and/or attend various new conferences in new places.

10. To develop a hoarding therapy group locally and/or online.



Criminal Background Checks: Good in Theory, Problems in Practice by Richard C. Hollinger, Ph.D


NoteExcerpts of this article from January 2013 LP Magazine are shared with permission of LP Magazine and the author, friend and colleague Richard Hollinger, a professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and director of the Security Research Project, which annually conducts the National Retail Security Survey 


One of the longest held axioms in social science is, "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior." Over the years many employers have increasingly relied upon criminal background checks as the principle strategy used to screen out potentially risky hires from the workforce.


The problem is, as expressed by another axiom of behavioral science, namely, "People often make bad decisions early in life." These bad decisions, which they later regret, usually are not permanent. People can recover, rehabilitate themselves, and turn their lives around.


In making hiring decisions, we find ourselves at the horns of a dilemma. Most people who are convicted of a crime, especially property offenses, will never offend again and not become a threat to society. The problem is that we do not have very good tools to predict who will be successfully rehabilitated and who will offend again. As such, most employers, on the advice of legal counsel and risk management, choose to err on the conservative side of this question. This means, if a person has been convicted in their past, we generally exclude these individuals as candidates for employment forever. The net effect of this policy is gross discrimination. This is especially true for those who have used drugs, stolen anything, and who are male minorities, particularly true for African American males.


New EEOC Guidelines

After the evidence of hiring discrimination was allowed to pile up to levels that no longer could be ignored or tolerated, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) finally took action in April of this past year. The EEOC issued enforcement guidance that is expected to yield significant practical and legal impact. The commission stated that "people cannot be denied employment solely on the basis of criminal histories." However, they stopped short of totally banning the use of criminal background checks in the hiring process.


Since this ruling in April, I have asked many in the loss prevention community what their companies were going to do in the future. A few have told me that they were going to continue to screen out former criminal offenders, knowingly taking the risk that potential discrimination lawsuits would result. However, the majority of firms have reexamined their entire hiring process, asking this critical question-"Is it necessary to exclude everyone who has a criminal history from potential employment?"


Many of you already know my position on this issue. You might even remember when I argued before a large convention audience of LP executives that dishonest employees could be successfully rehabilitated and might actually be good candidates for hiring. My logic is based upon the fact that most offenders do not reoffend.


My position is further supported by the fact that those who have been caught and punished would probably be the easiest to deter, given the fact that they knew that their behavior would be more carefully watched than any other employees. In this presentation, I was mildly booed and fully expected tomatoes to fly in my direction at any moment. In hindsight, however, I still think that I am right. However, since my job was not in jeopardy, I fully recognized and appreciated the significance of my radical recommendation to this particular audience.


Well, here we are some ten years later and find that the EEOC is supporting my controversial position. Employers are expected to take the risk and hire ex-offenders, unless their prior offense is directly related to the performance of their future job. Of course, we do not have to put persons with previous embezzlement convictions in the cash office, nor drivers with a DUI behind the wheel of a delivery truck. However, when future job responsibilities are not related to their former offense, people should be given a chance to get a job, prove their honesty, and turn their lives around.


Wearing the "scarlet letter" of ex-offender is a difficult label to erase. However, it can be done. Pilots with alcohol problems are now permitted back in the cockpit in many airlines. Recovered pharmacists with former drug dependencies are now dispensing medicines in many drug stores. The list goes on. A review of today's Washington infidelity scandals clearly indicates that even the most prestigious people can make mistakes. However, most recognize their mistakes, make amends, and go on to live productive lives when employed in occupations that recognize the fact that rehabilitation can and usually does work.





I recently returned from a 10-day silent meditation retreat that was held locally from December 20 - 30 by the Michigan Vipassana Association. I had previously attended this 10-day retreat four years ago in Northern Illinois. 


I went away in part as a reward to myself but also out of necessity. After another long and busy year, I could feel myself "ready to pop!" I was feeling stressed, burnt-out, and was forgetting things and making silly little mistakes. I also felt I needed to get away to a structured program and setting which forced me to withdraw from technology and news (no phones, TV, internet), and which helped me regain a meditation practice. 


As a recovering "workaholic' and do-aholic, I have often struggled to slow down and restore balance to my life even as I "preach" this constantly to my clients. I've meditated for short spans of time since 1994 but keeping a regular practice lately has eluded me. I remember when I came back from my first Vipassana retreat in late 2008. I kept a regular twice-a-day meditation routine for all of two weeks until I was served with a lawsuit which seemed to knock me off my practice when I could have used it most. 


Going away to the retreat this time was a bit different: I knew I could survive it--having completed it before--and it was merely 15 minutes from my home at a lovely Catholic monastery. But, in some ways, it was more difficult this time. Because I was so close to home and it was in the midst of the holidays, I had to battle my frequent thoughts about leaving and my feelings of being bored and non-productive. 


Staying silent wasn't the hard part, but after going through a few days of technology withdrawal, I had to come to terms with my habituated thought patterns of cravings and aversions. Vipassana is a form of meditation in which we follow our breath and also maintain awareness of various body sensations while doing our best not to react to them--not to move, scratch, or fidget. Its a training of the mind that is intended to help us be less reactive in our real lives by hopefully having fewer cravings and attachments and fewer aversions or upsets when things aren't going our ways.


Only time will tell if I'll maintain my practice this time--I admit, I'm a little nervous about another big event throwing me off my square--and whether I can achieve some deeper level of balance and peace. I'm not expecting my Type A personality to morph into a Type B. But, maybe, I can get it down from a AAA to just an A!


For more info on Vipassana meditation, see:



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).