The Shulman Center 1


    Greetings from The Shulman Center!

Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding Newsletter May 2012 

Happy Mother's Day!


Celebrating 20 years  

 of Serving People! 

       1992 - 2012



Quotes of the Month


"The phrase 'working mother' is redundant.'"--Jane Sellman


"A Freudian slip is where you say one thing and you mean your mother.'"--Anonymous


"Biology is the least of what makes one a mother."--Oprah Winfrey


"Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. --Erich Fromm


"The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." --William Ross Wallace


"The strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws." --Barbara Kingsolver



Stats of the Month 


The following stats and facts are from the site:


There are 2 billion mothers in the world (82.5 million in the U.S.)


The average age of a new mom is 25.


Modern moms average two kids.


72% of moms with children over 1 year work. 


Average preschooler requires mom's attention once every 4 minutes, or 210 times per day.


The first Mother's Day was celebrated on May 10, 1908 and made a national holiday in 1914


Mother's Day is the busiest day for phone calls and mail: 68% of Americans plan on calling their moms (122 million calls) and 50% plan on sending cards--152 million of them.



Person of the Month 


My Mother. My mother recently turned 73 years old and still has the energy of someone far younger. My mother was my primary parent and role model after she and my father divorced when I was about 11. My mother started her own business around the same time I started my own--close to 40! My mother has diverse interests and talents and has always made family a central part of her life, our lives. She has a great sense of humor and a big heart. She's always been supportive of me in my personal and professional life. 


In the last few years, some events and conversations between us have led us to a new and strange place of relative distance at times. However, I don't doubt for a moment that my mother loves me. I am happy we have both made efforts to hear each other and to respect each other's views and feelings and have learned new ways to be in our relationship. 


Happy Mother's Day Mom. I love you. Terry



Book of the Month:


The Way of the Happy Woman: Living The Best Year of Your Life

(New World Library, 2011 by Sara Avant Stover)


I've yet to read this book but just ordered it on Amazon. I did read an interview with the author in a wellness magazine and was impressed with the author's clarity and wisdom. She speaks of having to shift gears in her life some ten years ago in the midst of various health, career, and relationship crises. This book describes the story of her journey and how any woman might use it to find deeper and truer happiness.


This book may be a great gift for any woman in your life. I plan on giving it to my wife. In checking it out online, this 300-page book is comprised of 21 short chapters, divided into five parts--four of which are marked by the seasons of a woman's life: spring, summer, autumn and winter.



Film of the Month:


"The iron Lady" (2011) Directed by Phyllidia Lloyd.


I just recently saw this film on DVD with my wife and my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. You may recall that it was nominated this year for Best Picture and that Meryl Streep who the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at various points in her life. Her Oscar was well-deserved as she literally disappears in her role.


"The Iron Lady" is a decent bio-pic and history film. It is also an inspiring story for women or anyone else who comes from humble beginnings, struggles against adversity and prejudice, and blazes the trails for others. 


I was also struck at how the film correlated Thatcher's & Reagan's elections in 1979 and how they each faced similar economic and cultural challenges in their countries, served two terms, loved their spouses, and fell victim to Alzheimers. Thatcher, however, is still alive.


The film also highlights political and economic battles which mirror what's occurring both in the US and in Europe at the moment. 






See our updated websites at:


Mr. Shulman's books now in e-books through


Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery


Biting The Hand That Feeds: The Employee Theft Epidemic


Bought Out and $pent! Recovery from Compulsive $hopping


Cluttered Lives, Empty Souls: Stealing, Spending & Hoarding 




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


Our most recent testimonial:


I began this training to be a better therapist to my patients by becoming more familiar with compulsive shopping and hoarding. Upon completion, I have learned to assess and treat not only compulsive shopping and hoarding, but spending, shoplifting, kleptomania and have learned about the employee theft epidemic as well. I was unaware of the various categories within each of these disorders as well as the many interventions and underlying causes for each. 


When I began this endeavor, I felt these categories were broad and all encompassing. Throughout my training certification, Terrence Shulman educated me on the various types of shoppers and spenders and how family dynamics, generational themes, and childhood experiences factor in the development of the behaviors throughout life. The same holds true for shoplifting and hoarding. Mr. Shulman provided me with the education on the difference between shoplifting and kleptomania and how to assess and treat each one. I became knowledgeable in the five different levels of hoarding and how one may move throughout them; how it may be prevented and what types of services are needed for each; probable timeframes to treat and what one as well as one's family may expect.

I now have the tools and treatment materials to use with my patients so that they may work on these compulsions and move toward a healthier lifestyle, get a better handle on money management, remove clutter from their lives and improve relationships.


Jennifer Alfert, MS, NCGC-II

Caron Renaissance Treatment Center

7789 NW Beacon Square Blvd.

Boca Raton, FL 33487 


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


April 11--Mr. Shulman was interviewed on local Detroit radio station WXYT 1270 am about compulsive theft, spending and hoarding.


April 14--Mr. Shulman co-organized/co-presented at 2nd Annual "Living Recovery in an Addictive World" conference in Ferndale, MI

April 19/20--Mr. Shulman presented on helping counseling clients with legal issues at the Annual Michigan Social Workers Conference in Kalamazoo, MI.


April 26-29--Mr. Shulman was in the Los Angeles area on business and visiting the Laguna Niguel and Culver City, CA CASA (Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous) support groups.


May--TBA --Mr. Shulman to appear on Anderson Cooper's daytime talkshow to discuss shoplifting addiction (show taped 2/5/12).


May 12--Mr. Shulman to present at metro-Detroit monthly Men of Today meeting on understanding and healing our mother issues.


May/June--Mr. Shulman will have an article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding in Addiction Professional Magazine. See



With Mother's Day upon us, I would like to note that from my personal and professional experience over the last 20 years, this holiday brings up some of the strongest emotions and often triggers relapses into addiction. So be prepared and on guard!


The relationship between mother and child--no matter how old we are--is likely the most important, primal and fundamental relationship we'll have. I can't tell you how often in my counseling practice that clients' "mother issues" are at the very root of their addictions and relationship problems. This is not to blame mothers, per se, as no mother is perfect. But it is important for us to acknowledge, understand, and do our best to heal old (or newer) wounds and to develop a healthier relationship with our mothers whether they are actively in our lives or not. 


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


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

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

3. a mother was overtly/covertly seductive/sexual with her child;

4. a mother appeared to favor one of her children over another;

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

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

7. a mother was physically, emotionally, and/or verbally abusive toward her child; 

8. a mother had little natural or cultivated interest in being a mother to her child;

9. a mother betrayed her child's confidence in some way; 

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

11. a mother was overly critical of her child;

12. a mother was overly "smothering," domineering or controlling

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

14. a mother encouraged her child to tell or keep secrets;

15. a mother broke the law and/or modeled dishonesty.


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 mothers than are listed above. Have you worked through any of these issues or does it feel like you still need to? 


When my father died 19 years ago at age 53 (I was about 28 at the time) I had just begun therapy to finally deal with my "father issues." These also included deep anger, shame, and feelings of abandonment due to his alcoholism, my parent's divorce which left me as the man of the house at age 10, and the way he lived much of his life--overweight, overspending, drinking and, finally, getting sick and dying young. I remember going to grief and loss support groups for two years after his death and feeling like I was the only one stuck in the anger phase of grief while others mostly expressed their sorrow. One member even asked me: how can you be angry with a dead person? 


Because I didn't have the best role model for a father, I found myself feeling ashamed to be a man, not trusting men or authority, and quite confused about both women and what I wanted to do with my life. Fortunately, I had a great therapist who encouraged me to read books about men's issues and to participate in men's support groups and retreats where I found I was not alone, began to trust men again, and to see the positive aspects of men and authentic masculinity. 


But, interestingly, we rarely talked about or looked into our relationships with our mothers. It's even been theorized that part of the reason the "men's movement" of the 1990's petered out was that we didn't know how to individually and collectively deal with our mother issues and, so, we kind of hit a wall. At least for most men, regardless of sexual orientation, our issues with mother often are more subtle yet also more scary and dangerous. This is why I'm presenting on mother issues on Saturday May 12th at the metro-Detroit monthly Men of Today meeting in Warren, MI.


Besides, compared to my father's more obvious failings, my mother was a saint. But in the past few years, events had led me to come to the conclusion that I had to deal with my mother issues, too. For me, part of this arose in the context of my 10 year marriage to my wife. It's not uncommon for men to have issues with their wives that are, at the core, issues with mother or "the feminine." How many men, when asked to do something by their wives or face a perceived criticism, feel like a five year old being ordered or scolded by mother and just won't take it this time around?


I also realized that I was continuing, at some level, to play the good son role I'd adopted early on despite having made some earlier progress. I had to learn to speak up more, share my feelings and truth and risk my mother's love. I think we both needed to be knocked off our pedestals a bit. It's been hard to confront my mother, stand up to her--I've been so used to being her protector, her biggest fan. I had to come to terms with my mother's (and my own) limitations in our relationship. I'm learning to let go of that primal desire to have "mommy" be there for me as I continue in adulthood and it's my judgment that my mother has had to learn that I won't always be there for her as I was in the past. It's been painful for both of us but necessary, too. 


I also am slowly coming to realize, as my mother ages, that she won't always be around: Mom is mortal. The question arises: what do I need to say to my mother or feel in my heart so I can be as complete as possible when she passes?


I've done some reading about mother issues, talked to my wife and numerous friends (who assured me they all had mother issues, too) and have heard, as mentioned, how so many clients of mine struggle to heal or transform their relationships to their mothers. Some of my clients were sexually abused by their mothers. Some were literally abandoned on the street. Some were criticized beyond measure (as I believe my father's mother was to him). Some were deemed the problem child, the hero, or some role they couldn't seem to shake. 


One client, a doctor, kicked and screamed throughout our therapy to deny his relationship with his mother had much impact on his stealing and repressed anger yet avoided talking to his mother who telephoned him constantly. Finally, he conceded a bit and learned the Herculean task of stopping avoiding his mother's calls and simply set limits with her on the phone. Now, she hardly calls and their relationship feels more at ease to him.


Another client continues to deal with her very religious mother who holds judgments against her from the past and even testified in court recently against her in a dispute with her ex-husband over childcare.


We all long for the perfect mother... and the perfect father. 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 have 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. And it doesn't mean we don't speak our minds our share our hearts.


Ideally, it seems we look to Mom (or Dad) 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 pain and opinions back but, I believe, a primary role of a parent is being 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.


I know we are taught to honor thy parents. I can only say that when my wife and my friends are able to hear my grievances and concerns without attacking back or defending (and when I can hear them), it creates safety and trust and deepens our relationships. I can't think of a better way to honor each other.


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


Since it's founding in 2004, The Shulman Center has taken pride in its brief therapy programs, especially our 3-month (1x/week) or 3-day (5 hours/day/15 hour total) programs. 


In a recent New York Times article "Is Therapy Forever? Enough Already" by New York psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert discusses when therapy goes on too long, hits a wall, can begin to undo progress or lead to actual harm. He also cites persuasive current research that shows brief therapy may be more effective than longer-term therapy for many. 


Here are some excerpts:


When might it be time to stop therapy? My therapist called me the wrong name. I poured out my heart; my doctor looked at his watch. My psychiatrist told me I had to keep seeing him or I would be lost.


New patients tell me things like this all the time. And they tell me how former therapists sat, listened, nodded and offered little or no advice, for weeks, months, sometimes years. A patient recently told me that, after seeing her therapist for several years, she asked if he had any advice for her. The therapist said, "See you next week." 


When I started practicing as a therapist 15 years ago, I thought complaints like this were anomalous. But I have come to a sobering conclusion over the years: ineffective therapy is disturbingly common.


According to a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 42 percent of people in psychotherapy use 3 to 10 visits for treatment, while 1 in 9 have more than 20 sessions.


For this 11 percent, therapy can become a dead-end relationship. Research shows that, in many cases, the longer therapy lasts the less likely it is to be effective. Still, therapists are often reluctant to admit defeat.


A 2001 study published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology found that patients improved most dramatically between their seventh and tenth sessions. Another study, published in 2006 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, looked at nearly 2,000 people who underwent counseling for 1 to 12 sessions and found that while 88 percent improved after one session, the rate fell to 62 percent after 12. 


Yet, according to research conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, therapists who practice more traditional psychotherapy treat patients for an average of 22 sessions before concluding that progress isn't being made. Just 12 percent of those therapists choose to refer their stagnant patients to another practitioner. 


The bottom line: Even though extended therapy is not always beneficial, many therapists persist in leading patients on an open-ended, potentially endless, therapeutic course.


Therapy can - and should - focus on goals and outcomes, and people should be able to graduate from it. In my practice, the people who spent years in therapy before coming to me were able to face their fears, calm their anxieties and reach life goals quickly - often within weeks.


Why? I believe it's a matter of approach. Many patients need an aggressive therapist who prods them to face what they find uncomfortable: change. They need a therapist's opinion, advice and structured action plans. They don't need to talk endlessly about how they feel or about childhood memories. 


A recent study by the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland found that "active, engaging and extroverted therapists" helped patients more quickly in the short term than "cautious, nonintrusive therapists."


In graduate school, my classmates and I were taught to serve as guides, whose job it is to help patients reach their own conclusions. This may work, but it can take a long time. I don't think patients want to take years to feel better. They want to do it in weeks or months.


I'm not against therapy. After all, I practice it. But ask yourself: if your hairstylist keeps giving you bad haircuts, do you keep going back? If a restaurant serves you a lousy meal, do you make another reservation? No, I'm sure you wouldn't, and you shouldn't stay in therapy that isn't helping you, either.


See rest of this article at:




By Andrew Thomason, Illinois Statehouse News, April 30, 2012


SPRINGFIELD - Ghost employees and phantom vendors aren't characters in the next big horror movie. Rather, they represent just two of the ways government employees can defraud taxpayers.


The recent arrest of a small-town finance official accused of siphoning $30 million over the past few decades highlights just how vulnerable to fraud the approximately 4,900 taxing bodies in Illinois are.


Rita Crundwell was the comptroller for Dixon - a town of about 16,000 in northwestern Illinois - since the early 1980s. Crundwell's control over the city's annual budget of $20 million allowed her to create a bank account, which was hidden from others in the city government.


She allegedly used the account to (live a lavish lifestyle and) launder money, according to the federal criminal complaint. Crundwell has yet to enter a plea in the case.


'Skeptical of everyone'


Supposedly, taxing bodies have internal controls in place to prevent fraud, but internal controls aren't necessarily a guarantee against theft.


That's why state statute requires people like Anita Failor each year to double-check county, municipal, township and special taxing district books.


Failor is an audit manager for Wade Staples P.C. in Quincy and runs the external audits for Adams County and the city of Quincy.

"We assess those (internal) controls, and if we see an area that may be of higher risk, then that's where we focus our procedures," Failor said.


Failor said she always asks workers to blow the whistle on any fellow employee suspected of wrongdoing.


"We have to be skeptical of everyone," Failor said.


Credit cards are especially vulnerable to abuse.


"Credit cards are just bad for an auditor. Usually there are too many credit cards with too many people," Failor said.


It can be hard to prove whether charged pens were for the office, or for the employee's home, she said.


But even the annual external audits aren't enough to prevent fraud completely.


Dixon had two firms prepare its annual audit - one compiled the numbers, the other reviewed that information and prepared the annual report.


"The results year after year disclosed no instances of noncompliance or other matters required to be reported under government auditing standards," Dixon Mayor James Burke said shortly after Crundwell's arrest.


Tough task


Eileen Norcross, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, said stopping fraud, such as that alleged in Dixon, is difficult.


"Where there's a will, there's a way. People who really want to steal will go out of their way to steal," Norcross said.


The sheer number of taxing bodies adds yet another layer of trouble.


The shining light defense


Norcross said transparency is the best way to prevent fraud. Posting annual audit reports, monthly finances and other financial records online creates a database that journalists and concerned citizens can use to keep tabs on taxpayer dollars, she said.


"That's your first defense against outright theft," Norcross said.


It's a defense Illinois already has, and soon will improve.


See rest of article at:




Please take note of several domestic and international conferences on hoarding. This is a good sign that this disorder is being taken seriously enough by the mental health profession and by the general public.


There was a hoarding conference held on March 27th at The University of Florida in Gainesville, FL.


There was an international conference on hoarding this past February in Australia. See Power Point presentation at: 


The 14th International Hoarding Conference that just took place in San Francisco. See website/article at:


June 7, 2012: Scottsdale, Arizona. (Scottsdale Civic Center Library) See:


June 8, 2012: Wichita, Kanasa (Wichita Marriott 9100 Corporate Hills Drive. Registration Due by May 11th. Contact or call 1-800-228-9290).


August 18-26, 2012 in Dorchester, United  Kingdom--The 20th International Thomas Hardy Conference and Festival: The Hoarding.


Walk in peace.



The Shulman Center 2012 Events Calendar 


April 14--Mr. Shulman co-organized/co-presented at 2nd metro-Detroit forum: "Living Recovery in an Addictive World."


April 19/20--Mr. Shulman presented on helping counseling clients with legal issues at the Annual Michigan Social Workers Conference.


May--TBA --Mr. Shulman to appear on Anderson Cooper's daytime talkshow to discuss shoplifting addiction (show taped 2/5/12).


May 12--Mr. Shulman to present at metro-Detroit monthly Men of Today meeting on understanding and healing our mother issues.


May/June--Mr. Shulman will have an article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding in Addiction Professional Magazine.


June 19--Mr. Shulman will present a 2-hour seminar on hoarding disorder at Birmingham (Michigan) Community House. 


July 10--Mr. Shulman will present a 2-hour seminar on men's issues in therapy at Birmingham (Michigan) Community House. 


August 22-24--Mr. Shulman will be attending and presenting on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding at the Annual Addictions Studies Institute in Columbus, OH.


August (prospective) Mr. Shulman to present on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding at the Annual Cape Cod Institute summer conference in Cape Cod, MA.


Summer--Mr. Shulman will have an article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding in Sante Center's magazine on on their website. See


September--Mr. Shulman will have an article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding in Counselor Magazine.


September 12--C.A.S.A. (Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous) metro-Detroit celebrates 20-year anniversary.


September 28--October 2--Mr. Shulman will be attending and presenting on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding at the National Conference on Addictive Disorders in Orlando, Florida.


November 14-16 (prospective) Mr. Shulman to present on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding at the Association for Financial Planning, Counseling and Education's Annual Conference in St. Louis, MO.


Late 2012--Mr. Shulman has penned the "Foreword" for upcoming book Shoplifters: Are They Out of Control? by California forensic psychologist John C. Brady.


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 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:  


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: /


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: 


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


POSITIVE RETURNS Court-orderd Programs for Shoplifting


Terry Richardson, LMSW, of Joplin, Missouri recently contacted me and we had a long-talk by telephone. Terry worked in the correctional system before returning to school to obtain his MSW. In 2003 he was approached and soon founded the first court-ordered program for theft offenders in Joplin, MO. It seems this small town was experiencing a steady rise in shoplifting and Terry developed a program that has made a real dent in shoplifting and has helped countless shoplifters of all backgrounds. His program is available for sale. 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:






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 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).