The Shulman Center 1


    Greetings from The Shulman Center!

Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding Newsletter October 2012 

       Happy Autumn and Halloween!


Celebrating 20 years  

 of Serving People! 

       1992 - 2012


 20th Anniversary Year




Shoplifters Anonymous



Quotes of the Month


"You can't hide your true colors as you approach the autumn of your life."  --Unknown


"Fall is the season for enjoying the fullness of life--partaking of the harvest, sharing it with others, and saving and reinvesting portions of it for another season of growth."-Dennis Waitley


"We may change with the seasons but the seasons will not change us."--Kahlil Gibrahn



Stats of the Month 


--Did you ever cheat on a test or exam? 

42% say yes

--Do most students cheat at least once? 70% said yes


Source: Rasmussen Reports, July 2012 (1,000 adults)


I don't have a monthly budget because:

It's not worth my time (23%)

I've tried and it doesn't work (19%)

I don't have time (18%)

I spend all my earnings each month (17%)


Source: AARP Bulletin 2012 (1,019 adults)



Person of the Month 


Whitney Kropp,  age 16


WEST BRANCH, MI -- Cheers erupted and cameras flashed Friday as Whitney Kropp stepped onto her high school football field as a star.


"I'm overwhelmed," she said later, with flowers in her hair and the straps on her red, ruffled dress sparkling under the stadium lights.


Kropp, a 16-year-old sophomore, made headlines this month when she decided to join Ogemaw Heights High School's home-coming court, despite being nominated as a joke. Many people around West Branch, as well as across the country, praised her courage, embraced her anti-bullying message.





Books of the Month:


The Righteous Mind: 

Why Good People Are Divided by Politics And Religion by Jonathan Haidt (2012)


Just in time for election season, this fascinating book by psychologist and professor Jonathan Haidt examines where our political and religious beliefs come from and concludes that they mostly evolve based on our individual personality types. 


Through various experiments and studies he posits that people who lean more liberal are, indeed, more open-minded and less fear-based whereas people who lean more conservative tend to prefer consistency, order, and are more anxiety-influenced. 


The author doesn't take sides but helps us see that liberals and conservatives both have similar values such as fairness and justice but that they tend to interpret what those values mean and look like in the world. 


This book attempts to explain why we, as a society, have become more polarized than ever and sheds light on a potential path for us to begin to see the "other" not as bad or crazy but, rather, as the yin or yang side of the whole.


HI'm in the middle of reading this book and highly recommend it to learn simple, effective ways to express our needs to others and to hear others' needs and to learn conflict resolution skills. Mr. Rosenberg has written a couple of other books on this topic. See article in this e-Newsletter. 



Film of the Month:


"The Secret World of Recovery" (Directed by Leslie and Lindsay Glass, 2012)


Nominated for a 2012 Voice Award, this film is directed by a mother-daughter team and is one of the first documentaries to show how the progressive journey of recovery is working for people in many stage of recovery and socio-economic groups across America. 


Real people in recovery, along with addiction leaders and family professionals, explain the critical components that go into long-term recovery and what families need to do to heal. 


This film sets the state for a new genre of movies and entertainment that focus not on the dark and hopeless sides of addiction but, rather, on solutions and the positive realities of recovery today.  




See our updated website


Get Mr. Shulman's 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, 



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


September 5--Mr. Shulman was interviewed on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding and men's issues in therapy on metro-Detroit radio by Body, Mind, Spirit Guide. See: Interview


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


September 15--8pm Mr. Shulman was interviewed on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding on Blog Talk Radio. See: Interview


September 25--Mr. Shulman was quoted in an online article about shopping addiction for Fox Business News. See article: Article


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


October 17--Mr. Shulman will be presenting a 2-hour seminar on hoarding disorder in Royal Oak, Michigan. See: Health Fair


November 1--Mr. Shulman will be presenting a 2-hour seminar on hoarding disorder in Farmington Hills, Michigan.


November 14-16--Mr. Shulman will be presenting on hoarding disorder and its costs at the Association of Financial Counselors, Planners and Educators in St. Louis, MO. See:


November 18--Mr. Shulman will be talking about and presenting his book in the Metro-Detroit Jewish Book Fair.


C.A.S.A.'s 20th Anniversary Celebration

On September 12, 2012, C.A.S.A. (Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous) celebrated its 20th anniversary of existence in metro-Detroit. When I started this local support group in late 1992, there was only one or two such groups in the U.S. based on my best-research (and both have since folded long ago). I'd shown up 14 consecutive weeks before our first new member finally showed up. I'm glad I hung in there! Now, we have five local weekly meetings in metro-Detroit--we've seen an estimated 2,000 people over the last 20 years--and about 15 other meetings throughout the U.S. But we still have a long way to go. 


We had 35 members, including some I hadn't seen in a while.


We had great food, a cake with 21 candles, and powerful sharing. 


I gave a 15 minute open talk near the start of the meeting modeled after Clint Eastwood's recent "performance" at the Republican National Convention. Standing behind a podium with an empty chair to my right, I used the chair to illustrate the following:


1. The empty chair as pure potential--there were just empty chairs before I even started CASA;


2. The empty chair to represent the many empty chairs at our first 14 meetings in late 1992 before people started trickling in;


3. The empty chair in remembrance of a few of our early members who brought leadership to our group who are no longer living or with us and those we just haven't seen in a while and wonder how they're doing;


4. The empty chair for several current members who were in the room who chose to take on a leadership role;


5. The empty chair to symbolize the friends and family who have supported our recoveries whether they've attended our meetings or not (some have);


6. The empty chair to symbolize the newcomer to the group (we had two new young members at their first meeting); and


7. Finally, the empty chair to symbolize those who either don't know that CASA exists or who are not yet ready to step through our doors and take a seat in one of our chairs in our circle.


A Report on NCAD's Fall Conference in Orlando


Over the last four days, my wife Tina and I have been in Orlando, Florida. No, we weren't visiting Micky. Minnie and The Magic Kingdom, but we were headquartered just down the road at The Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center where I attended the Annual National Conference on Addiction Disorders. It's always a treat to attend conferences such as these where I get to meet fellow addiction treatment professionals from across our country and attend various presentations. I also was honored to present to nearly 100 attendees on my work with compulsive stealing, spending and hoarding. There were many good questions, especially about hoarding disorder. I hope to attend the next conference in Anaheim, California in September 2013.


Next stops: October 10 and 11 to Grand Rapids, Michigan for the National Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program conference which will focus on helping lawyers and judges with alcohol, drug and gambling problems as well as mental illness in general. I hope to impress upon the need to assess and treat legal professionals who suffer from compulsive stealing, spending and hoarding...


Then, onto St. Louis, Missouri November 14-16 for the Annual Conference for The Association for Financial Counseling, Planning and Education where I'll present on the financial impact of hoarding disorder on individuals, families, and communities.



A Day in The Judicial System


Just a week ago, I was in court to give a judge expert mental health testimony at the sentencing of a 40-year old female client (and mother of two) who was facing a likely 3-10 year prison sentence for her 7th shoplifting arrest in the last 10 years. Her sentencing had been postponed from an earlier date because the judge wanted me to come to court to educate him about kleptomania/shoplifting addiction before he passed sentence.


Despite my having had a web presence for nearly 15 yeas, my client had only found out about my specialized counseling services and local C.A.S.A. support groups about six months ago through an Internet search. She had several sessions with me and began attending C.A.S.A. shortly after her 6th arrest and, unfortunately, was arrested again in the early stages of treatment with me. She ended up working with another therapist and was placed on new meds--both of which made a great difference. Like most of my clients, "Sheila" was smart (she founded and owned two small businesses), caring (she nurtured two children as a single Mom and treated her employees like family), and continued to suffer from unresolved loss and trauma and chronically low self-esteem. 


I arrived at court at 8:30am; my client, her family, and her attorney arrived within a half hour. After waiting an hour of for the judge to take the bench, we waited nearly a half hour longer for our case to be called. The attorney spoke eloquently on her behalf. Then he told the judge that I was present--as the judge had requested over a month ago. 


I introduced myself, gave a brief recount of my credentials and background, and explained that I had seen my client, the defendant, about four times total as well as many times at our local C.A.S.A. meeting. I assured him that I was not meaning to excuse her behavior nor did we expect there to be no consequences for it. But I did tell him that she was quite typical of the hundreds of clients I'd treated over the last decade and that, in my professional opinion, she suffered from kleptomania, depression, OCD and, what I referred to as "shoplifting addiction." I distinguished her stealing from that of shoplifters who steal more for economic need or greed or to support an underlying addiction such as to alcohol, drugs, and gambling. I spoke about how much I've seen her grow and change since continuing therapy, C.A.S.A. meetings, and changing her meds. 


I then asked to approach the bench and gave him a copy of my book "Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery" along with my business card, brochure, our C.A.S.A. meeting flyer, and my latest evaluation letter.


After some closing remarks from the attorney, my client spoke haltingly, choking back tears. She offered an apology, took responsibility for her behavior, and shared from her heart that, for the first time in her life, she felt hope, she felt on the right track, she felt different about herself. The courtroom was hushed as she spoke and as she ended.


The judge then began to explain that he had to balance his duty to punish, deter, and protect the community. He asked if her shoplifting behavior was, indeed, like an addiction then why shouldn't he treat her like a 7th time drunk driving offender who, despite having a known disease, typically would be looking at a lengthy prison term. Her attorney replied that drunk drivers are more of a threat to physically harming others and that kleptomania was similar to but not exactly like alcoholism.


The judge didn't seem entirely convinced. I began to think my appearance hadn't helped the case much. But, by some miracle, the judge ruled that he was sentencing Sheila to 2 weeks in the county jail and the rest of a 1-year period on electronic tether/home monitoring. While it was hard to hear that my client would have to see the inside of a jail cell, it was a great victory. She wouldn't lose her business or her kids, and she would have the opportunity to continue with her meds, her therapy, and her C.A.S.A. group in due time.


As the sheriff handcuffed Sheila and put her in the jury box to await processing, I caught her eye and gave her the thumbs up. In the hallway, her attorney, family and I huddled and discussed the sentence. All were grateful she had dodged a bullet. One can only pray that when she gets out of jail in a week that she continues to stay on the right track one day at a time. If she doesn't, I'm not sure anyone will be able to save her.



A Few Words About "Victimhood"


Unless you live under a rock, you probably heard the news in the last couple of weeks about presidential candidate Mitt Romney's hidden-camera remarks in which he, essentially, called the 47% of Americans who don't pay (federal) income tax "victims" who are "dependent upon the government to take care of them" and who feel (basically) "entitled to health care, food, housing, you name it" (everything). Well, this got me thinking more broadly about "victimhood," "dependency," and "entitlement" in my field of addiction/recovery and therapy. 


I had to admit, that there have been times in the past and, sometimes recently, where I've felt like a victim to my perceived abuses, neglects, cruelties, and unfairnesses I've suffered. As a still recovering addict, I remember how dependent I have been on stealing, caretaking others, and other addictive patterns to numb my pain and get me through the day. I still struggle, at times, with a sense of entitlement to get something for nothing or to have special treatment or support given my suffering and my sacrifices. And while I do need to be firm with myself at times when I'm in my victimhood/dependency/entitlement states, I also need to treat myself with compassion, too. They call it "tough love" for a reason--there's still love in it--not condescension and cruelty. 


Even conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks recently wrote about research supporting the theory that most people who are brought up in the cauldron of family dysfunction, trauma, and other losses have natural challenges to just picking themselves up by their bootstraps. Some excerpts:


The link between childhood trauma and adult outcomes was striking.... In Paul Tough's essential book, "How Children Succeed," he describes what's going on. Childhood stress can have long lasting neural effects, making it harder to exercise self-control, focus attention, delay gratification and do many of the other things that contribute to a happy life.


Tough's book is part of what you might call the psychologizing of domestic policy. In the past several decades, policy makers have focused on the material and bureaucratic things that correlate to school failure, like poor neighborhoods, bad nutrition, schools that are too big or too small. But, more recently, attention has shifted to the psychological reactions that impede learning - the ones that flow from insecure relationships, constant movement and economic anxiety.


Attention has shifted toward the psychological for several reasons. First, it's become increasingly clear that social and emotional deficits can trump material or even intellectual progress. 


Schools are now casting about, trying to find psychological programs that will help students work on resilience, equanimity and self-control. Some schools give two sets of grades - one for academic work and one for deportment.


And it's not just schools that are veering deeper into the psychological realms. Health care systems are going the same way, tracing obesity and self-destructive habits back to social breakdown and stress.


When you look over the domestic policy landscape, you see all these different people in different policy silos with different budgets: in health care, education, crime, poverty, social mobility and labor force issues. But, in their disjointed ways, they are all dealing with the same problem - that across vast stretches of America, economic, social and family breakdowns are producing enormous amounts of stress and unregulated behavior, which dulls motivation, undermines self-control and distorts lives.


Maybe it's time for people in all these different fields to get together in a room and make a concerted push against the psychological barriers to success.


See: Article



Walk in peace.



The Shulman Center 2012 Events Calendar 


September 5--Mr. Shulman was interviewed on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding on metro-Detroit radio by Body, Mind, Spirit Guide Magazine.


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


September 15--Mr. Shulman was interviewed on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding on Blog Talk Radio. 


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


October 17--Mr. Shulman will be presenting a 2-hour seminar on hoarding disorder in Royal Oak, Michigan.


November 1--Mr. Shulman will be presenting a 2-hour seminar on hoarding disorder in Farmington Hills, Michigan. 


November 14-16--Mr. Shulman will be presenting on hoarding disorder and its costs at the Association of Financial Counselors, Professionals and Educators in St. Louis, MO. 


November 18--Mr. Shulman will be talking about and presenting his book in the Metro-Detroit Jewish Book Fair. 


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


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: /




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. 



Eve Cantor, a 30-something professional organizer in the New York City area offers in-person and Skype coaching for women in need of assistance with their wardrobe and clutter. See Eve's wonderful website and video at




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:





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).