Quotes of the Month
is defined as 'rational lies.'"
am having an out-of-money experience."
I ask is the chance to prove that money can't make me happy."
easiest way for your children to learn about money is for you not to
is rich? Are you rich enough to help anybody?"
Stats of the Month
of people around the world display traits of clinical hoarding.
of hoarders engage in excessive buying; 50% of hoarders excessively
acquire free items.
of hoarders grow up with a family member who hoards; genetic factors
account for 50% of hoarding.
begin collecting items at about age 2; by age 6, 70% of children
collect or store things.
to 40% of persons with OCD display some hoarding characteristics.
of the Month
a 38-year old Michigan wife and mother of two, and Jill, a 44-year
old mid-west wife and mother of three, bravely volunteered to appear
with me last month for television news segments on
shopping/shoplifting addictions. Ronnie was the subject of an ABC
Nightline piece on shopping addiction which aired February 22nd. Jill
and Ronnie met me in New York to tape a segment on shoplifting
addiction for Anderson Cooper's day-time talk show (to air this
am in awe of their willingness to tell their stories to highlight
these addictions so that they are better understood and others may
seek help. Their respective families were very supportive and I
applaud their courage as well. It's not easy for most of us to open
the darker corners of our lives for others to see and, possibly,
judge. Both Ronnie and Jill are in recovery. Their sharing is a rare
gift to many they will never meet.
Books of the Month
A Guide for Mental Health
Professionals, NASW 2011
by Richard Trachtman
Trachtman's book is a brief but rare and straight-forward offering on
a topic that he rightfully states is taboo and avoided: our personal
relationship to money and the difficulties talking about this with
our therapists and vice-versa.
Clutter from Stealing Your Life: Discover
Why You Clutter & How to Stop
This easy to
read revised edition is written by a recovering clutterer who founded
the Clutterless Recovery Groups, Inc.
This book is
more about cluttering than hoarding and explains some of the key
differences between them. The author uses humor and coaching to
encourage those who clutter. He also delves into the spiritual
aspects of de-cluttering.
This book is a
good practical guide for clutter and disorganization and how to make
steady progress in reclaiming your life.
Your Ideas and Create a Joyful Life with Financial Freedom!
reading this 140-page book by metro-Detroit area author Tom Palka, a
certified financial planner for nearly 20 years. This book is full of
anecdotes from the author's own life as well as those of the clients
he has helped. It also has a spiritual bent which draws from law of
attraction and positive thinking schools.
Tom also worked
with Hasbro toy and gam company which recently released his board
game, The Money Shift, based on his book. He also has a 4-CD
of the Month
(2011) Directed by David Cronenberg; starring Viggo Mortenson, Keira
Knightley, and Michael Fassbender.
is a great film about the early meeting, collaboration, and rivalry
of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Central to their story of
irreconcilable differences over the future of modern psychotherapy is
their work with a female patient, Sabina Speilrein, who later went on
to become an influential theorist / analyst herself.
This film is
well-acted, part history, part love story and leaves us to ponder
questions of style and substance and the costs of trailblazing.
Mother's Garden" 2006
by Cynthia Lester.
hour-long documentary of one daughter's journey to help her mother, a
hoarder, avoid eviction from her home was one of the first films to
bring hoarding disorder to light.
just the filmmaker's (and her brothers') tender and frustrated
attempts to help their mother come to terms with her illness and get
rid of her stuff.
Man" (2009) Directed by Ben Steinbauer;
Jack Rebney as the angriest man alive.
This film is a
homespun, low-budget, surprisingly engaging documentary about the
cross-country search for Jack Rebney, aka The Winnebago Man from
YouTube fame. It's both humorous and heart-felt and explores the
YouTube phenomenon of how uploaded clips can make cult heroes of
their unsuspecting stars--for better and/or worse.
our updated websites at: www.theshulmancenter.com and
Shulman's four books are now available as e-books
for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery
The Hand That Feeds: The Employee Theft Epidemic
Out and $pent! Recovery from Compulsive $hopping
Lives, Empty Souls: Stealing, Spending & Hoarding
SHULMAN CENTER THERAPIST TRAINING PROGRAM!
you're a therapist and wish to be trained/certified in the
assessment/treatment of compulsive theft, spending and/or hoarding,
THE SHULMAN CENTER NOW!
On The Move and In The News!
February 2012--Mr. Shulman was
quoted in an article on employee theft in the Memphis Business
Journal and other related online business journals.
22, 2012--Mr. Shulman was a guest expert on compulsive
shopping/spending on ABC's "Nightline." See 6-minute video
5, 2012--Mr. Shulman will present on compulsive theft,
spending and hoarding at the Annual Neighborhood Services
Organization's Problem Gambling conference in Detroit. For info and
2012--Mr. Shulman will be a guest expert on shoplifting
addiction on Anderson Cooper's weekly daytime talk show. Check
listings for date, time, and channel.
Shulman to visit Austin, Texas.
22-25, 2012--Mr. Shulman to attend the 35th Annual
Psychotherapy Networker conference in Washington, D.C.
14, 2012--Mr. Shulman to co-organize/co-present at 2nd
metro-Detroit forum: "Living Recovery in an Addictive
A SIGN OF
lived in my condo with my wife since late 2000 and we've been
members of our health club, next door, since about that time. Five
years or so ago, the restaurant in the health club closed and they
installed a snack room with baskets and refrigerators full or
assorted goods. Prices were listed for each item and the room had a
machine were you were to insert cash, credit card, or your health
club card to pay for your items. There was also a security camera
and monitor in the room to see yourself on closed-circuit TV as
well as an electronic sensor gate at the room's
entrance/exit--similar to in retail stores; apparently, food items
were "tagged" to set off the alarm somehow--or at least
the gate was put there to make you think so as there's no scanner
to deactivate anything.
I've never bought (or stolen) anything from the snack room since it
was installed; I admit, though, I've gone into the room about once
a year--including just recently--just to see what kind of snacks
they have and to see if they've updated their security system.
just the other day, I was stunned to see that my beloved health
club had installed an electronic gate at the the mouth of the
hallway just past the front-desk check-in and before the opening to
the main part of the club. And there was a sign stating:
"Please do not remove towels from the health club. Thank
you." A sign of the times?
Who would take towels? Has the economy gotten that
bad? I asked a couple of club members and an attendant about this
recent development. I was told the club was losing close to $1,000
/ month in towels. I don't know what each towel costs, but let's
say $5 a piece; that's 200 towels a month! So, I was told, the club
owner--who has a reputation for being a bit frugal and not fixing
things promptly, had the electronic gate installed and is buying
all-new heavier towels with sensors sewn right in to trip the gate!
A sign of the times.
know the universe is telling you to pay attention to something when
you keep getting a message or some new information within a short
period of time. Last month, three different friends told me about a
woman named Dr. Brene Brown and her work with shame and
vulnerability. Dr.. Brown is a social worker, researcher,
storyteller, and author who's posted short clips on YouTube of a
few of her recent talks. See links below:
many of us really want to feel shame or vulnerability? Though they
become familiar, I doubt we really want to feel the continual
weight or subtle nagging of the pervasive feelings of "I'm not
good enough" or "something bad is going to happen."
Thus, we tend to gravitate toward addictions to numb ourselves or
we seek control and order or certainty (whether in religion or politics
or other venues) to grasp a sense or security to stave off
Brown asserts we live with vulnerability every day: about the
economy, our employment, war/terrorism, and even the more simple
things like risking rejection by asking your partner if he/she would
like to be intimate later that night. Dr. Brown speaks of the
importance of feeling like we are worthy and belong and that both
individually and collectively, we're losing our sense of
this. People who have a strong sense of belonging believe they're
worthy of love and belonging. In addition, they have a strong sense
of worthiness and connectedness. How do they develop this? Ms.
Brown submits that they have the courage to be imperfect, to accept
their imperfections, and to fully embrace and show their vulnerability
in order to more fully embrace and show their authenticity. It
won't always feel safe or even be recognized or honored--in fact,
many of us experience outright shaming for speaking our truths or
revealing our deepest desires, fears, and other feelings. But
those who want to experience true love and peace have an inner
knowing they just have to do it.
need to be courageous enough to keep our hearts open and to be seen
(and heard). We need to feel grateful for those who do see us and
can embrace all sides of us. I have had many experiences lately of
tapping into my own vulnerability and sharing my truth. It has been
truly earth-shaking and life-changing. But I know it's part of how
we grow, heal, and learn to love ourselves.
current March 5, 2012 issue of Time Magazine includes an interesting
6-page article entitled: "Getting to No: The Science of
Building Willpower." The article highlights the most
recent brain research around our desires and survival instincts as
well as excerpts from a string of recent books on the willpower
topic. While some light is shed to suggest brain circuitry is
intricately connected to one's ability to refrain from certain
behaviors, there remain questions about chicken and egg: does one's
brain cause the behavior or does the behavior change the brain?
the article mentions the power of addiction to highjack our
willpower, it dodges the conventional argument that recovery is
less about building willpower and more about surrender and
admitting one's powerless. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in
between. We certainly can't deny the cases of people quitting
addictions or bad habits "cold-turkey" (though there's
often a crucial difference between mere abstinence and recovery);
we also can't deny that many addicts go through treatment after
treatment only to seemingly "fail." What, therefore,
makes one person succeed in breaking and addictive habit or pattern
and another not?
this article points to new research in brain circuitry and offers
some cognitive strategies to better understand why we do what we do
(and don't do what we don't) and improve our ability to say
"yes" to some things and "no" to others, it's
safe to say it's still a mystery.
wisdom about addiction views and treats it as a disease. Even the
American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) recently came out
with the pronouncement that addictions--both chemical and
behavioral--are "brain diseases/disorders." The 12-step
group model--based on Bill W.'s Alcoholics Anonymous group founded
in 1935--embraces the idea of admitting powerlessness over our
addictions and surrendering to a higher power as the only (or at
least best) way to secure lasting sobriety/recovery.
I've benefitted from both 12-step group attendance and non-12-step
group attendance, 12-step tools and other tools, and I continue to
wrestle at times with my sense of spirituality and my relationship
to a higher power. My sense is that most recovering people can
have come to accept that I am powerless over shoplifting and
stealing (my primary addictions), and have accepted that I've had
trouble managing my co-dependent patterns, my TV-watching TV or
computer-use, my workaholism, and my love of carbs. This doesn't
mean that I have no willpower or no discipline. I do. I have to use
willpower and discipline to make money to live; I use my willpower
to get myself to a meeting when I don't feel like it, to go to the
gym, to keep my mouth shut or, conversely, to find the courage to
speak my truth. But there's also a time for admitting powerlessness
over people, places, situations and events and surrendering to the
great mystery of life. As usual, it's not either/or, it's both/and.
excerpts from the article:
brains operate at three levels: I will, I won't and I want,"
says psychologist Kelly McGonigal, author of The Willpower Instinct
and a professor at Stanford University. "For many of us, the
I-want part wins."
a 2010 study, Heatherton and two colleagues recruited 100 subjects,
half of whom were chronic dieters and the rest of whom had little
history of having to control their weight. They were slid into an
fMRI scanner to see how their brains reacted to images of food. The
nondieters showed activity in the nucleus accumbens, one place
appealing cues are processed, and little activity in the amygdala,
which would have indicated an aversion to food. The dieters showed
just the opposite, suggesting that they were
trying--successfully--to control their appetites. All of the
subjects were then taken out of the scanners and given 15-oz. (444
ml) milk shakes to drink. They then went back in and were shown the
This time, the nondieters' nuclei accumbens stayed
quiet, showing no interest in any more food, and their amygdalae
lit up, flashing a "stay away" signal. The dieters, curiously,
had the opposite reaction: even though they had consumed as much as
the other group, their nuclei accumbens went into
action--effectively saying "more"--and their amygdalae
grew quieter. This didn't mean they were insatiable. Rather, as any
recidivist dieter knows, it suggested that the very idea of food
had become so fraught for them that drinking a milk shake triggered
an anxiety response, which they then sought to medicate with other
foods. "The what-the-hell effect has always been seen as a decisional
thing," says Heatherton. "In fact, it's subtler than
One paradoxical way to contain cravings is what
McGonigal calls mindfulness, which is a lot less squishy than it
sounds. Studies of smokers in fMRI scanners have shown that trying
to deal with an urge through brute resistance exacerbates the
problem, with the lower brain effectively going from orange alert
to red. People who instead acknowledge their feelings and nudge
them back in line with deep breathing or other relaxation exercises
can calm their brains faster. "Acceptance doesn't have to mean
endorsing the feelings," McGonigal says.
Another willpower booby trap is known as the halo
effect. You go to the gym and sweat for an hour, then you go out to
lunch. You've been good, so why not get some fries with that
sandwich? The flaw in your thinking is as basic as arithmetic:
burning off 400 calories and gobbling 500 does not add up. But the
halo effect doesn't care. The mere concept of behaving
virtuously--even if you haven't actually done so--may be enough to
give you the license to indulge.
something as simple as candidly evaluating how much time you'll
have to achieve your goals helps. In an ideal world, we'd always be
able to get to the gym or go for a jog, but the ideal world has no
sick days or overtime at work. That doesn't mean we shouldn't
exercise, but it does mean we need to take a cold look at when we
can fit it into our schedule and stick to that realistic plan
instead of chasing a fanciful one.
of this is easy--and the fact is, none of it is fun, at least in
the very short term. But if there's a happy side to all the new
research, it's that the muscle analogy works both ways. It's true
enough that exercising willpower can lead to a kind of psychic
ache, and it's true too that that can lead to a short-term failure
of resolve. But over time, incrementally, fatigue becomes strength
and ache becomes commitment. Your lower brain may always have the
fun, but your higher brain, with practice, can still say how much.
just around the corner! You don't have to live in the colder
climates to get excited but, for those of us who do, it's a
wonderful invitation to crack the windows open, air the place out,
and get rid of the old to make room for the new... or, just get rid
of the old!
you or someone you know has hoarding disorder, professional help
likely will be needed. If you just need a prod or a push to get
moving, here are a few ideas that may be of help:
Ask for help from family, friends or neighbors
Hire a professional organizer
Set aside particular dates and mark them on your calendar
Call donation centers to schedule pick-ups/drop-offs
Arrange for recycling or paper shredding pick-ups/drop-offs
List things for sale in the paper, on Craig's list or e-Bay
Open up the doors and windows and let the fresh air in!
Turn on your favorite music to energize you
Set modest goals for each day; set a timer if necessary
Stop and rest if you become tired or have body aches
Schedule a treat or reward for yourself (and others) afterwards
Center 2012 Events Calendar
March 5, 2012--Mr. Shulman to
present on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding at the Annual
Detroit Problem Gambling Conference. See: http://www.mi-pte.org/detail.php?tid=85
April 14, 2012--Mr. Shulman to
co-organize/co-present at 2nd metro-Detroit forum: "Living
Recovery in an Addictive World."
April 19/20, 2012--Mr. Shulman to
present on helping counseling clients with legal issues at the
Annual Michigan Social Workers Conference.
June 2012 Mr. Shulman will have
an article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding in Addiction Professional
August 2012 (prospective) Mr.
Shulman to present on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding at
the Annual Addictions Studies Institute in Columbus, OH.
August 2012 (prospective) Mr.
Shulman to present on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding at
the Annual Cape Cod Institute summer conference in Cape Cod, MA.
September 2012 Mr. Shulman
will have an article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding
September 12, 2012--C.A.S.A.
(Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous) metro-Detroit celebrates
September 28 - October 2, 2012--Mr. Shulman will be attending and presenting on
compulsive theft, spending & hoarding at the National
Conference on Addictive Disorders in Orlando, Florida.
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 with 360 Training. Learn why people steal from
their jobs, how to deter it, prevent it, and what to do when
confronted with it. Enroll at: http://theshulmancenter.360training.com
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:http://www.americanpsychotherapy.com
START YOUR NEW YEAR with MONEY LIFE-COACHING!
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 websites at www.sacredodyssey.com / www.intimacywithmoney.com
LAYERED VOICE ANALYSIS Loss Prevention Technology
Kevin Colburn, of Vancouver, British Columbia has
been in the loss prevention field for many years and recently was
trained in Israel to work with layered voice analysis technology.
LVA allows interviewers (and interrogators) to accurately determine
a subject's truthfulness or evasiveness. See: www.elitelva.ca
THE MONEY SHIFT (Book, Board Game and Seminars)
Tom Palka, CFP, a metro-Detroit area financial
planner, and I recently met. He's worked in finances for over 25
years and has written a book, developed a board game, and offers
seminars on transforming our thinking about money and wealth. See
his website at www.themoneyshift.com
Mr. Shulman's books
available for purchase now!
Addiction and Recovery (2003)
The Hand That Feeds:
Employee Theft Epidemic... New Perspectives, New Solutions (2005)
Out and $pent!
from Compulsive $hopping/$pending (2008)
Lives, Empty Souls:
Stealing, Spending and Hoarding (2011)
Contact The Shulman Center:
Terrence Daryl Shulman, JD, LMSW, ACSW,
The Shulman Center for
Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding
358-8508 for free