The Shulman Center 1


    Greetings from The Shulman Center!

Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding Newsletter 

March 2014--Happy Spring!

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


   Serving People 
Since 1992!



Quotes of the Month


Comparison is the thief of joy. -- President Theodore Roosevelt


In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.  --

Margaret Atwood


Many an opportunity is lost because a man is out looking for four-leaf clovers. -Unknown



Stats/Facts of the Month


 Refund fraud costs $8.8 billion in lost profits annually to U.S. stores.

--National Retail Fed.


66% of Americans believe that the salaries of CEOs are "too high," while 18% think their salaries are "generally appropriate." 76% think they have no chance of becoming part of the wealthiest 1% in the future. --Huffington Post



Person of the Month:

Madeline Jacobs  
Happy 75th B-day Mom (March 17th). Thanks for always believing in me!    

Michael Sam  

All-star defensive player from Missouri Tigers comes out as gay before upcoming NFL draft. It takes courage to blaze the trails. Thank you Michael for taking the risk. And thank you Missouri Tigers for supporting your teammate.

The Olympians 

To all athletes from all countries... Thank you for your discipline and class in making the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics memorable.




Books of the Month:


All of Me 

Wants All of You:

Sensual Intimacy,

Sacred Power


J Z Prin


From the inside cover...


Dean Nelson searched for loving words to write in the anniversary card to his wife. 'To my one true love forever,' he considered writing, but mentally scratched it out.


An intriguing mix of love, sex, and spiritual awakening, J. Z. Howard's All of Me Wants All of You presents a bold portrait of four adults whose relationship crises are in desperate need of some divine intervention.


Mired in a sexless marriage, Dean Nelson is at his wit's end. He seeks refuge with the beautiful Larissa Beaumont, but his conscience demands that he call off the budding relationship.


After discovering Dean's emotional affair, his wife, Kate, confronts Larissa. The two women form an unexpected friendship, however, and Larissa sets out to help Kate mend her perilously shaky marriage.


But Larissa herself fears that she'll never find her soul mate. An introduction to Dean's friend Trevor Harrington, however, brings renewed faith that maybe love is possible after all.


A dramatic tale of passion and faith, All of Me Wants All of You will make readers believe once again. 



Films of the Month:


The Oscars....

And the envelope please....



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


March 1, 2014--Mr. Shulman presented at The Betty Ford Treatment Center in Rancho Mirage, CA on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding.


March 1, 2014--Mr. Shulman debuts his quarterly column for In Recovery magazine. See


March 1, 2014--Mr. Shulman has an article on hoarding disorder In Recovery Wire Magazine out of Toronto. See:


March 7, 2014--Mr. Shulman will present a 4-hour in-depth seminar on understanding and treating hoarding disorder through Core Learning, Inc. from 9am - 1pm at Jewish Family Services in West Bloomfield, MI.


April 3-4, 2014--Mr. Shulman will present on hoarding disorder and on the DSM-5 at the Annual Conference of Michigan Social Workers in East Lansing, MI.


April 10, 2014--Mr. Shulman will present on compulsive stealing at The Empowerment Professionals Process Addictions conference in Royal Oak, MI. See


April 29, 2014--Mr. Shulman will co-present on hoarding disorder to a group of mental health professionals in Sterling Heights, MI.


May 14, 2014--Mr. Shulman will present on hoarding disorder to the Oakland County (Michigan) Employee Wellness Program.


May 22, 2014--Mr. Shulman will present on hoarding disorder at The Community House in Birmingham, MI. 


May 30, 2014--Mr. Shulman will present 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. 


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 


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


A recent testimonial from November 2013: 


"Thanks Terry for providing a supportive educational environment that helped my understand and learn more about kleptomania and shoplifting addictions. I look forward to using the tools, resources, and treatment approaches with my clients. This training has helped me gain a better understanding and provided everything I need to treat individuals diagnosed with this disorder."


Melissa Oliver, MA, NCC, LPC 

Pittsburgh, PA 




It was my honor and privilege to have recently been invited to present a 90-minute talk on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding at the trailblazing and prestigious Betty Ford Treatment Center in Rancho Mirage, CA. Initially founded in 1978, the treatment center has been operational for 38 years sine 1982.


Former First Lady Betty Ford courageously shared her personal story of prescription drug and alcohol dependence soon after her husband, President Gerald Ford, left office. The Betty Ford Center is set on a sprawling campus near the Eisenhower Medical Center and treats both women and men and has a pioneering children's program for ages 7-12 as well as a family program. 


I spoke on March 1st before an auditorium of at least 200 people, many in treatment at The Betty Ford Center as well as many from the local recovery community and the curious general public. My talk was part of a 32-year winter program called "The Awareness Hour" where speakers are brought in from all over during January, February and March each year. 


The Betty Ford Center, which recently merged with Hazelden Treatment Centers, is very aware of the importance of educating and treating all addictions--even though chemical dependency has been their primary focus.


My presentation was well-received and I am hopeful I will be brought back again soon to repeat and update it. My wife Tina and my brother Sam were in the audience during my presentation and I am grateful for their support. Two local clients also attended and it was good to meet them face-to-face since I work counsel most of my clients by phone and via Skype. Several people came up to me after the talk and said, "wow, I've never heard such an interesting and different kind of presentation." I love hearing this.


It is greatly affirming and encouraging to have one of the oldest and most reputable treatment centers find value in sharing information on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding. I applaud them for this. I felt well-taken care of by my contacts and met many staff and a few clients during my visit and tour of the center.


If any are interested in learning more about The Betty Ford Center, go to their website at:






Just prior to my visit to The Betty Ford Center in California, my wife and I were grateful to escape the Michigan cold and visit our new partners at 3rd Millennium Classrooms in San Antonio, Texas. Founded about 10 years ago by Gary Moorman, 3rd Millennium specializes in developing online education programs from high schooler, college students, and court-ordered probationers on topics of alcohol awareness, marijuana awareness, and shoplifting awareness/prevention, as well as other topics like better parenting.


It was an honor and privilege to be contacted by 3rd Millennium 6 months ago to partner and consult with them on improving their online shoplifting awareness/prevention course called STOPLifting.


We couldn't have asked to work with more kind, dedicated and creative people than Gary Moorman and his staff, including Katie Church and Shannon Reynolds.


We look forward to the launch of the STOPLifting program by April 1, 2014. Please check out 3rd Millennium's website at




From February 2014 Real Simple Magazine

by Ashley Tate


Tis the season of passed-on presents, when visions of store credit dance in your head. But don't be surprised if it's harder to get that refund this year. According to Jeff Green, a Phoenix-based retail consultant, shoppers are getting pinched by newly tightened return policies. Why? Some stores have altered their rules in response to a growing crime: return fraud. That's when people make illicit merchandise returns in order to get cash refunds or store credits that they aren't entitled to (say, by reusing old receipts or returning stolen goods). In recent years, refund fraud has totaled about $8.8 billion annually, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF), an industry organization. This is bad news not only for merchants but also for honest customers, as the cost can be passed along in the form of higher prices, says Garth Gasse, the director of asset protection for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, a trade group.


The ways that return policies have changed vary from store to store, but there are a few trends. For instance, popular retailers like Best Buy and REI have reduced the refund window (the number of days that a customer has to return something). Also, at some stores, "there is no longer a one-size-fits-all policy," says Edgar Dworsky, the founder of, a consumer-resource site. "The rules for the return depend on exactly what you bought." A big-box store might accept returns on home goods, like throw pillows, for 180 days but allow only 15 days to return a TV. Why the discrepancy? "With electronics, new models continually hit the shelves, and older models become obsolete," says Green.


You may also hit a roadblock if you attempt to return items of clothing from which you've removed the tags. The reason: It could look as if you're trying to commit one of the most common return scams, known as "wardrobing." This abuse occurs when a consumer buys something, wears it, and then returns it for a full refund. "When someone commits wardrobing, the garment may not be resold if it has clearly been worn-if, say, it's stretched out," says Gasse. "So the store loses money." 


According to the NRF, instances of this con are rampant. More than 60 percent of merchants reported cases of wardrobing in the past year. Some retailers are fighting back by adding special tags to garments. These tags are placed in a prominent exterior spot, such as the neckline, so you can't wear the item without removing the tag, says Green. Once the tag is removed, you cannot return the item.


That's not all retailers are doing to cut down on fraud. Some are electronically tracking returns. "A clerk collects data from your driver's license, along with information about your return," says Dworsky. "If you exceed the number of returns that the store allows in a particular time period, your return will be rejected." What's the magic number? Dworsky says that no retailer will release that information to the public.


So what can you do? Keep receipts and ask for gift receipts. Read and understand the return policies of your favorite stores. (The policy is often posted at the register.) If you're prone to procrastinating on returns or losing receipts, sign up for e-mail receipts, or try to patronize retailers with ultra-generous return policies. (Lands' End and Eddie Bauer, for example, accept any item at any time.)



Highlighted on CBS's "Sunday Morning"

Sunday February 23, 2014


In poker, a "full house" is a good hand to be holding. In the theater world, a "full house" is one in which every seat is filled. In everyday life, a "full house" can mean a jam-packed home with almost no room for people. Our Cover Story is reported by Rita Braver:


"At some point I got a lot of stuff," said Joanne Garland. "I kept too much paper. I kept too many books.  I kept too many clothes."

Too much of everything! Garland's Greenfield, Mass., home is packed with belongings she just can't part with. "Decades of stuff, yes!" she said. "It has been picked up at times in the past. And the volume of clothing has overwhelmed me. More has to leave the house."


It's not that she hasn't tried. After years of forcing herself to throw things out, she can actually eat in her kitchen again. But Garland continues to hoard -- items like the wire handles from Chinese takeout containers.


Why? "It's easy to bend, and you never know when I might need it, so ..."


"How often do you end up needing it?" asked Braver.


"Not very often," she replied. "But you know, I hate to waste anything, and that has been part of my problem over the years."


Garland is just one of millions of people who hoard. It's estimated that up to five percent of the U.S. population has the problem, with an equal number of men and women.


And a new CBS News poll finds that a third of all Americans say they have too much clutter in their homes.

The subject of hoarding is so sensational it's become fodder for reality TV shows.


But beyond the spectacle, there's new recognition that hoarding is caused by a mental condition. Last Spring, for the very first time, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5 -- the handbook for mental health experts -- recognized hoarding as a specific disorder. 


The diagnosis of hoarding as a mental disorder is no surprise to Smith College psychology professor Randy Frost, co-author of "Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things." He says the formal definition of a hoarder is someone who has difficulty letting go of possessions.


Braver said, "You accumulate way more stuff than you need and you have a really hard time saying goodbye to it?"


"That's exactly right," Frost said. "But there's a third component that's equally important, and that is the inability to keep it organized."


Frost has been studying and writing about hoarding since 1990. The public has long been fascinated by dramatic stories on the subject. Back in 1947, for example, the bizarre tale of the Collyer brothers, descendants of a well-to-do New York family, made headlines after their bodies were discovered in their jam-packed townhouse. 

But almost no scientific research had been done on hoarding until about 20 years ago.


"We put an ad in the newspaper thinking we'd try to find somebody who had this behavior," said Frost. "And we got 100 telephone calls.


"And what we discovered was there were houses that were really full, but yet no one had ever talked to them about it.  They'd never told anyone about it."


Frost's 20 years of study have revealed some key findings:

  1. Hoarding affects people across the whole economic spectrum;
  2. There is evidence that hoarding behavior is inherited, at least in part;
  3. A significant number of hoarders also suffer from depression; and
  4. The region of the brain that determines the importance of objects (the Anterior Cingulate Cortex) shows abnormal activity when hoarders are faced with making decisions about dealing with their belongings.

"The cut-off for where this becomes a disorder really has to do with the place at which this behavior influences their functioning, to the point that it-its harmful or impairing their ability to live," said Frost.


There are companies that help hoarders clean up and get rid of their stuff, but that may not really address the root of the problem. So Frost and several colleagues have developed a program they call "Buried in Treasures" that helps hoarders understand -- and change -- their behavior.


At support group meetings, "packrats" (as some prefer to call themselves) establish very specific weekly goals. 


And Joanne Garland had something to brag about: "My goal was to tidy up the two bedside tables, because I tend to read in bed, and I did it," she said. "I did it!"


But Lillian Evers didn't have the same success: "Well, I still have my pile of mail that I eat on top of. And I sit there and look at it, and I say, 'What's stopping you? What's the anxiety? What's the fear?' But I don't have an answer."


In fact, a big part of the support group approach is getting participants like Mika Geffen to understand why they compulsively acquire things.


"It's an addiction," Geffen said. "I get a kick out of it, absolutely. And that is something the group has definitely helped with -- that the two most important things are being able to discard and, you know, slowing down on acquiring."


But for Carol Star, even recalling the moment when she admitted she had a problem is painful.


"I was at home," she said, "and I was surrounded by all these piles. And I felt like I was suffocating. And I think that's when I really knew that I needed help more than any other time in my life. 'Cause I didn't want to be drowned by my stuff. I wanted to find a way to make my house a house again, because it isn't right now."


The members of this group do have a success story in their midst: leader Lee Shuer, who said, "You can't just prove it in words, you know. You have to prove it in actions."


To see his neat kitchen now, you'd never know that eight years ago his home was such a disaster zone that his wife gave him an ultimatum..


"'It's me or the stuff. You have to make a decision,'" Shuer recalled. "And I made the choice to accept help right there."


Through the Buried in Treasures program, he has developed strategies for separating his belongings into "keep" and "give away" piles.


"Do you still keep yourself from adding more things, picking up some bargain somewhere?" asked Braver.


"I know that I haven't changed as a person; nobody else has either," Lee Shuer said. "You still have the impulse. But your reaction to it changes over time."


And, he added, "some of the thrill is gone for me."


But for Lee Shuer and anyone else with the urge to hoard, it is likely to be a lifelong struggle. "It is work, yeah," he said. "Because you're replacing something that might have been the one thing that made life worth living. That's pretty significant."





"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:





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).