The Shulman Center 1


    Greetings from The Shulman Center!

Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding Newsletter 

June 2014--Happy Father's Day!

The Shulman Center Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary 2004 - 2014!

Mr. Shulman's 49th B-day on June 27th.


   Serving People 
Since 1992!



Quotes of the Month


He didn't tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it.--

Clarence Buddington Kelland


My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say "you're tearing up the grass!"  "We're not raising grass," Dad would reply. "We're raising boys"-- Harmon Killebrew


I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich.--Colonel Potter, M*A*S*H*


It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was. -- Anne Sexton



Stats/Facts of the Month


The U.S. Storage Unit Industry generates $22 billion per year in revenue. 


5% of lottery tickets buyers buy 51% of all tickets sold. 


The average amount stolen by an employee over the course of an employee theft scheme is $175,000. --CBS reports



Persons of the Month:


Our Troops

and Their Familes


Memorial Day just passed. President Obama made his annual speech to the recent graduating class of West Point Academy and also just announced his timetable for drawing down the war in Afghanistan. And, of course, news of the VeteransAdministration

dysfunction just hit a fever pitch.


I'm not a veteran and none of my immediate family ever served in the military. I can only imagine the sacrifices of both troops and their families. 


I pause to think a couple thoughts: one, it's easier to start wars than to end then; and, second, it's easy to say we support our troops but do we really think of them if we send them, often recklessly, into harm's way and, further, don't support them (and their families) when they return... if they return?


As much as I believe in evolution of our species, sometimes I wonder how much we really have evolved in terms of our abilities to wage peace and to rise above politics to fix important, if complex, problems.



Book of the Month:


Think Like a Freak


Steven Levitt and Stephen Debner


I  read "Freakonomics" about 5 years ago and its inevitable follow-up "Superfreakonomics" as soon as it came out a few years later. 


Now, I'm almost done reading Levitt and Dubner's just-released third tome: "Think Like a Freak." I recommend it highly for any who are interested in learning new ways to think about cause and effect and why we do what we do and why we often don't.


These two authors examine multitudes of interesting stories about interesting people and how they think outside the box to solve problems and achieve success. 


A common theme is how we are motivated by incentives but also how little we really seem to know about what those incentives are. Another theme is how hard it is for us to admit we don't know as much as we think and how this is a necessary starting point to discover the truth and solutions to problems.


The authors take the next step in this book to actually outline what it means to "think like a Freak"--to take that quantum leap of faith that may turn our world upside down but which, now more than ever with the problems we face individually and collectively, is more urgent than ever.



Film of the Month:


Inequality for All

Written and Narrated by

Robert Reich


This 2013 documentary follows former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich as he looks to raise awareness of the country's widening economic gap.


From the Internet: A passionate argument on behalf of the middle class, this film features Robert Reich-professor, best-selling author, and Clinton cabinet member-as he demonstrates how the widening income gap has a devastating impact on the American economy. 


The film is an intimate portrait of a man who's overcome a great deal of personal adversity and whose lifelong goal remains protecting those who are unable to protect themselves. Through his singular perspective, 


Reich explains how the massive consolidation of wealth by a precious few threatens the viability of the American workforce and the foundation of democracy itself. 


In this INCONVENIENT TRUTH for the economy, Reich uses humor and a wide array of facts to explain how the issue of economic inequality affects each and every one of us 




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


May 30, 2014--Mr. Shulman presented on compulsive stealing, spending and hoarding at the West Coast Symposium on Addictive Disorders in Palm Desert, CA. See


July 14-16, 2014--Mr. Shulman will present on compulsive shopping and hoarding at the 13th Annual Leadership in Faith Conference in Chicago. 


July 24-26, 2014--Mr. Shulman will present on hoarding disorder at The National Association of Social Workers Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.


August 6-8, 2014--Mr. Shulman will present on compulsive hoarding at the Addiction Studies Institute in Columbus, Ohio. 


August 21, 2014--Mr. Shulman will present on hoarding disorder at the metro-Detroit chapter of NAPO (National Association for Professional Organizers) in Novi, MI.


August 22-24, 2014--Mr. Shulman will present on compulsive stealing, spending and hoarding at the National Conference on Addictive Disorders in St. Louis, MO.


September 16, 2014--Mr. Shulman will present on compulsive stealing, spending & hoarding at the Thelma McMillen monthly professional medical lecture series in Torrance, CA. Free.


October 7, 2014--Mr. Shulman will present on compulsive shopping/spending at the 4th Lifestyle Intervention Conference in Las Vegas. See 


November 7-8, 2014--Mr. Shulman will present on DSM-5 changes at the Annual Michigan Association of School Social Workers in West Michigan.


April 29, 2015--Mr. Shulman will present on hoarding disorder at the annual Michigan Conference on Mental Health and the Aging in Lansing, MI


Please Follow us on Twitter @terrenceshulman or @TheShulmanCenter and on Facebook at The Shulman Center.


Please check out share on our new and improved blog at:


NOTE: If you're a therapist, please consider contacting us to enroll in our brief, affordable local or virtual training to become more proficient at assessing and treating compulsive stealing, spending and/or hoarding disorders. See: Shulman Center Training 



by Terrence Shulman 


Last month I shared a column (updated from a previous column) about how our mothers impact our lives--emphasizing how our mothers often wound us in various ways, wittingly or unwittingly. As Father's Day approaches, it seems only fair to examine and discuss how our fathers impact us, too.


My father would have turned 75 this June 19th. (My mother just turned 75 in March). Unfortunately, my father died 22 years ago at age 53. I'm about to turn 49 at month's end and, in the back of my mind, I sometimes wonder (and hope) if I'll live longer than my Dad.


Interestingly, one of my best buddies, who is just a few months younger than I am, called me to tell me he'd recently suffered a mild heart attack and had to have two stents placed in two of his arteries--one which was 80% blocked. "Genetics," he said--as his own father had died of a heart attack many decades ago and age 38!


Since my Dad's birthday and Father's Day fall around the same time each year, I do my best to be aware of my feelings and where I am in my ongoing grieving process. What is most present for me lately is some sadness that my father is not around to witness and share in the joys of my accomplishments and adventures.  


I am the oldest of 3 brothers. Each of us has been impacted by our father's life and death and the way he fathered--or failed to father--us. I think I can speak for each of us in feeling confused, disappointed, and hurt by the fact that our father had so many great qualities and talents which we admired but which, sadly, were undercut by his alcoholism, bipolar disorder, and various personality tendencies which left us feeling like we, essentially, had to raise ourselves. 


While our relationship with our mother--no matter how old we are--is likely the most important, primal and fundamental relationship we'll have, fairly recent research and personal anecdotes from both sons and daughters point to the importance of our relationships (or lack thereof) with our fathers.


As with mothers, I can't tell you how often in my counseling practice that clients' "father issues" are at the very root of their addictions and relationship problems and, therefore, how important it is for us to acknowledge, understand, and do our best to heal old (or newer) wounds and to develop a healthier relationship with our fathers whether they are actively in our lives or not. 


Some of the most common reasons both men and women have father issues include the following: 


1. a father died early in a child's life or committed suicide; 

2. a father was addicted and/or mentally ill and was not able to be physically and/or emotionally present and attuned to his child;

3. a father was overtly/covertly seductive/sexual with his child;

4. a father appeared to favor one of his children over another;

5. a father needed rescue, help, or companionship and his child played the role of partner or parent;

6. a father held unrealistically high expectations of his child and the child became inauthentic to receive mother's love/approval;

7. a father was physically, emotionally, and/or verbally abusive toward his child; 

8. a father had little natural or cultivated interest in being a father to his child;

9. a father betrayed his child's confidence in some way; 

10. a father was "perfect" and modeled this in a way his child felt unable to compete with;

11. a father was overly critical of his child;

12. a father was overly domineering or controlling;

13. a father committed infidelity in his marriage & her child knew;

14. a father encouraged his child to tell or keep secrets;

15. a father broke the law and/or modeled dishonesty; and

16. a father was physically and/or emotionally absent due to working all the time or for some other reason(s).


The core effects of the situations described above often result in persistent feelings of neglect, abandonment, trust issues, low self-esteem/self-worth, codependency/care-taking others, as well as unresolved emptiness, depression, anxiety, and anger. Which of the above issues seems to resonate with you? There may be many other ways to express the wounds or conflicts that develop around our relationship with our fathers than are listed above. Have you had any experiences with this?


I recently read something about love that was powerful to me. It noted that it's important to cover "the four A's: Attention, Affection, Appreciation, and Acceptance." Stop and think about this for a bit. How does this land with you? When you think about your relationship with your father, do/did you feel he was attentive? Was he affectionate with you in an appropriate, nurturing way wit hugs, kisses, or even a pat on the back? Was he appreciative of you, your feelings and your unique gifts, talents and efforts? And was he accepting of you with all your foibles, mistakes and so-called shortcomings? That's real love, huh?


We all know that no parent is perfect and even those of us who are parents ourselves get to realized life's cruel joke: we often become like our parents or at least learn to appreciate how hard it must have been to them to raise us!


As we grow up (and, hopefully, we do) we learn to differentiate from our parents, need them less (emotionally, financially, etc) and develop compassion for them (they did the best they knew how to do given how they likely were raised). But this doesn't mean it's easy. We are taught to honor thy parents but that doesn't mean we don't speak our minds our share our hearts.


Ideally, we often look to our parents to be a safe space to share our pain and our opinions (even if it hurts them). It doesn't mean they don't share their own pain and opinions back but, I believe, a primary role of a parent is to be strong and mature enough to absorb their child's expressions, to model this even, and to be secure enough even in their imperfections to listen, try to understand, and try to see the gift in their child's courageous, if imprecise, offering of their pain, their perspective. This is the ideal and, of course, it's painful when we don't get this from parents.


In this context, wouldn't it be great if--this Father's Day--instead of cards and ties, we could give the gift of honesty, our father could receive it lovingly, and we would return the favor?






I just got done attending and presenting at this wonderful conference near Palm Springs, California. I'd attended and presented here three years ago in 2011. What a wonderful venue--surrounded by the mountains all around us! And what wonderful people and seminars over a 4-day period. I attend and present at many conferences across the U.S. each year and this is one of the best! According to reports, nearly 800 people attended this year, mostly therapists from across the U.S.


I was honored to present a 90-minute Power Point on compulsive stealing, spending and hoarding to about 30 attendees--including my younger brother and his girlfriend who drove down from L.A. and three fellow "sisters" in  recovery who lived in the area, too. The presentation was well-received and there were many great questions and comments from the audience. Many raised their hands when asked, have you ever shoplifted, stolen from work, overshopped or overspent, or hoarded. I love presenting to mental health professionals because they are so honest. On the few occasions where I've presented to accountants, business professionals, and loss prevention workers, almost nobody raises their hands!


 In addition to my presentation, I attended some other great ones with topics such as: working with families in recovery: working with couples in recovery; confronting perfectionism and procrastination; breaking the trap of victimhood; updates on the designer drug culture; holistic treatment approaches; incorporating the law of attraction into recovery; and using theatre and creativity as healing modalities. I also attended two open 12-step group meetings which were jammed packed with therapists like me, and the sharing was powerful, vulnerable, wise, and also humor-filled.


I truly feel blessed to be in recovery and a therapist, too, and there's something about attending these conferences which remind me I'm not alone on the forefront of helping others. It's sometimes a lonely feeling working as in private practice and with compulsive disorders that are fairly niche-related compared to alcohol, drug, gambling, and eating disorder treatment. I am just grateful I am on this wonderful journey which allows me to visit nice places, meet interesting people, and which afford me the opportunity to educate other therapists about compulsive stealing, spending and hoarding.  



by Nancy Hellmich USA Today May 2014


Many Americans with significant savings fear going broke in retirement, but they aren't willing to cut back on their current lifestyle to save more for the future, a new survey shows.


About 55% of respondents say they fear not having enough money in retirement, more than they fear other stressors such as losing their job (37%) or gaining weight (25%), according to Bank of America's Merrill Edge report, which is released twice a year.


The latest findings are based on a national survey of 1,000 people defined as emerging affluent because they have $50,000 to $250,000 in total household investments, including cash, savings, mutual funds, IRAs, stocks, bonds and other investments, but excluding their homes and real estate investments. About 90% of respondents have retirement savings, and they began saving at an average age of 33.


Despite their fear of going broke, many don't want to cut back on discretionary expenses to save for the future: 33% aren't willing to cut back on entertainment to save more, 30% won't reduce eating out and 28% aren't willing to forego vacations, the survey found.


More respondents (63%) say having money to live "in the here and now" is a priority than those who said saving for the future (48%) is a priority. (Respondents could select more than one category as priorities.)


Some common reasons people give for not saving regularly for retirement are unexpected expenses, paying off debts and paying for a child's college education.


"People are challenged by competing priorities - they need to save for retirement, but they have other pressing expenses such as paying off large debt and taking care of their family members," says Aron Levine, head of Preferred Banking and Investments at Bank of America.


Everyone needs to create a good financial plan that allows them to understand their entire financial picture including their goals for the short-term and long-term, Levine says. The sooner you start a plan, the better, he says. Levine advises getting a financial education and reaching out for help from a financial professional or by using tools on websites.


Other findings:

* Even if they won a million bucks, only 19% of respondents would use it for their retirement while 34% would pay off large debt, such as their mortgage or school loan; 32%, would first save it or invest it; 7%, would give to loved ones; 4%, would spend on something extravagant; 2%, give to charity; 2%, don't know.

* More women (59%) than men (51%) are worried about not having enough money in the golden years. That said, more women are reluctant than men to cut back on dining out, clothing and even technology, the survey showed.

* 89% have a household budget, but 66% say they are consistently unable to live within that budget.

* 68% of divorced survey participants say they are worried about not having enough money in retirement vs 53% of folks who are single, married or widowed.







As a therapist for over 17 years specializing in the treatment of addictions, it should come as no surprise that most of my clients report having suffered from trauma at some point in their lives. For most, there have been early, severe and multiple traumas. In the last couple of decades, we have generally accepted that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is something not only soldiers and victims of war experience but, also, those who have have been physically or sexually assaulted and even those who have witnessed or sometimes even heard about acts of horror or shock; we call it "vicarious trauma."


The diagnostic criteria for the manual's next edition identify the trigger to PTSD as exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violation. The exposure must result from one or more of the following scenarios, in which the individual: 

*directly experiences the traumatic event;

  • witnesses the traumatic event in person; 
  • learns that the traumatic event occurred to a close family member or close friend (with the actual or threatened death being either violent or accidental); or 
  • experiences first-hand repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event (not through media, pictures, television or movies unless work-related) 

The disturbance, regardless of its trigger, causes clinically significant distress or impairment in the individual's social interactions, capacity to work or other important areas of functioning. It is not the physiological result of another medical condition, medication, drugs or alcohol.


The newly released DSM-5 pays more attention to the behavioral symptoms that accompany PTSD and proposes four distinct diagnostic clusters instead of three. They are described as re-experiencing, avoidance, negative cognitions and mood, and arousal.


Re-experiencing covers spontaneous memories of the traumatic event, recurrent dreams related to it, flashbacks or other intense or prolonged psychological distress. Avoidance refers to distressing memo- ries, thoughts, feelings or external reminders of the event.


Negative cognitions and mood represents myriad feelings, from a persistent and distorted sense of blame of self or others, to estrangement from others or markedly diminished interest in activities, to an inability to remember key aspects of the event.


Finally, arousal is marked by aggressive, reckless or self-destructive behavior, sleep disturbances, hyper- vigilance or related problems. The current manual emphasizes the "flight" aspect associated with PTSD; the criteria of DSM-5 also account for the "fight" reaction often seen.The number of symptoms that must be identified depends on the cluster. DSM-5 would only require that a disturbance continue for more than a month and would eliminate the distinction between acute and chronic phases of PTSD.


There have been various theories and strategies on how to best treat PTSD including using EMDR, CBT, and other techniques. With addictions, it is imperative that the trauma survivor find new healthy coping skills for remembering, facing and healing the trauma without using maladaptive behaviors. In the last week or so, two major stories on newer approaches to treating PTSD hit the news. The first was a long article about pioneer trauma therapist Bessel Van der Kolk's new techniques involving more emphasis on movement, artistic expression, and various bodywork techniques, and role playing (or psychomotor therapy) to get at the emotional roots of the trauma which, he asserts, are beyond what cognition can address. He also uses groups rather than individual therapy for his role playing.  


From the article: Van der Kolk takes particular issue with two of the most widely employed techniques in treating trauma: cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. Exposure therapy involves confronting patients over and over with what most haunts them, until they become desensitized to it. Van der Kolk places the technique "among the worst possible treatments" for trauma. It works less than half the time, he says, and even then does not provide true relief; desensitization is not the same as healing. He holds a similar view of cognitive behavioral therapy, or C.B.T., which seeks to alter behavior through a kind of Socratic dialogue that helps patients recognize the maladaptive connections between their thoughts and their emotions. "Trauma has nothing whatsoever to do with cognition," he says. "It has to do with your body being reset to interpret the world as a dangerous place." That reset begins in the deep recesses of the brain with its most primitive structures, regions that, he says, no cognitive therapy can access. "It's not something you can talk yourself out of." That view places him on the fringes of the psychiatric mainstream.


In contrast, the 60 Minutes segment that also aired in the last week documented a newer intensive 8-week program in Arkansas where combat veterans, in essence, would engage in a form or therapy where they repeatedly describe their traumas in detail during 1-hour therapy sessions several times a day until they develop a desensitization toward their stories.


So which do you predict might work best? See full story and video clip below:


5/22/14 NY Times Article: Revolutionary Approach to PTSD

5/25/14 CBS 60 Minutes Video: The War Within: Treating PTSD 





"In Recovery" Magazine

There's a wonderful relatively new quarterly recovery magazine I want to let you know about. It's called "In Recovery." Founded 2 years ago by Kim Welsh, a recovering person herself, in Prescott, Arizona--home to many treatment centers and half-way houses, this magazine has something for everyone. I visited Kim in October 2013 and was honored to be invited to write a regular column about process/behavioral addictions--starting Spring 2014.


The magazine is available in hard copy as well as online at:



3rd Millenium STOPLifting Online Education Course!

3rd Millenium Classrooms out of San Antonio, TX has been offering high-quality online education courses for alcohol, marijuana and shoplifting issues for many years now. I've been honored to help them fine-tune and update their shoplifting course which many are court-ordered to complete after an arrest.

3rd Millennium Classroom's STOPLifting is an online intervention course designed to assist shoplifters in examining and altering their attitudes and behaviors towards shoplifting. The course incorporates evidential examples and related follow-up questions to discover the student's motives behind shoplifting, reveal possible patterns in his or her behaviors, and identify potential triggers and ways to cope. Through STOPLifting's unique motivational interviewing style, students are encouraged to evaluate the personal consequences of shoplifting and how they affect the individual, his or her family and those around him or her. See:


Clutter-Hoarding National Clean-Up Services



Honesty is its own reward.--Anonymous


Walk in peace.



The Shulman Center 2014 Ongoing 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:


"In Recovery" Magazine

There's a wonderful relatively new quarterly recovery magazine I want to let you know about. It's called "In Recovery." Founded 2 years ago by Kim Welsh, a recovering person herself, in Prescott, Arizona--home to many treatment centers and half-way houses, this magazine has something for everyone. I visited Kim in October 2013 and was honored to be invited to write a regular column about process/behavioral addictions--starting Spring 2014.The magazine is available in hard copy as well as online at: 


3rd Millenium STOPLifting Online Education Course!

3rd Millenium Classrooms out of San Antonio, TX has been offering high-quality online education courses for alcohol, marijuana and shoplifting issues for many years now. I've been honored to help them fine-tune and update their shoplifting course which many are court-ordered to complete after an arrest.3rd Millenium has partnered with Terrence Shulman and The Shulman Center on this course.





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:


3rd Millenium Classrooms out of San Antonio, TX has been offering high-quality online education courses for alcohol, marijuana and shoplifting issues for many years now. I've been honored to help them fine-tune and update their shoplifting course which many are court-ordered to complete after an arrest. Please check out their courses on their website at:



There's a wonderful relatively new quarterly recovery magazine I want to let you know about. It's called "In Recovery." Founded 2 years ago by Kim Welsh, a recovering person herself, in Prescott, Arizona--home to many treatment centers and half-way houses, this magazine has something for everyone. I visited Kim in October 2013 and was honored to be invited to write a regular column about process/behavioral addictions--starting Spring 2014.The magazine is available in hard copy and online 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. See:



Debbie Roes is an educator and recovering shopaholic and offers a free insightful blog and e-Newsletter to help you. 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).