The Shulman Center

Terrence Shulman
Founder/Director of
The Shulman Center

Terry Shulman

August 2010 Monthly e-Newsletter
"Losing Our Identities, Finding Ourselves"
Terrence Daryl Shulman


Check out our new 1 hour employee theft online course. Learn why people commit employee theft, how to
deter/prevent it and what to do when confronted with it. See

Check out our seven new short uploaded webvideos on shoplifting addiction, employee theft, and
compulsive shopping/spending at:

Check out our new websites for therapy for hoarding and cluttering. See and

Check out our newly updated blog at:

Happy 30th Birthday to my brother Sam! Happy 8th Anniversary to me and my wife Tina!


Losing Our Identities, Finding Ourselves

I've been thinking a lot about this notion of self lately. It's not a new inquiry for me as I realize I've gone
through many transformations in my own life and probably still have many to go. Believe it or not, the
recent Lindsay Lohan matter got me wondering: will her jail term really change her or will she merely do
her time and relish in the likely bidding war over the story of her 2 week incarceration? Of course, she still
will be court-ordered to complete a 90-day treatment program. Only time will tell if Lindsay evolves from
her seemingly endless tear of drama and chaos. But there's hope: even Paris Hilton--after her short jail
stint a couple of years ago--seems to have stayed out of trouble and remade her public image if not her
deeper self.

But on another level, we might see a little Lindsay in ourselves. One point of view is this: Lindsay, like many early child stars, really lose themselves and begin to identify almost entirely with their own image or their
own accomplishments. And, as it seems in Lindsay's case, she had (and has) two wildly dysfunctional
parents encouraging this all along. For what? Money, glory, fame? And look what often happens--that early
child star burns up in flames. In some way, my own father's story was very similar. He was a child prodigy pianist and by his 30's was a very severe alcoholic and manic-depressive. My judgment is he had little sense
of his own self. He was lost... and miserable. When we are lost, we often try to find ourselves or numb our-
selves in addictions. This, too, was my story as I played the hero most of my life--at a terrible cost to
realizing and claiming my own inner worth.

How many times is the star employee led out in handcuffs? More than you'd imagine.

On this theme of finding ourselves, I'd like to recommend a string of recent movies which, in my mind, shine
light on this. The first is "I Am Love" with the actress Tilda Swinton. It's takes place in Italy and is in Italian
with subtitles. Without ruining the movie too much, it is a story about a poor Russian woman who marries a
wealthy Italian man and moves to Italy with him and starts a family and lives in a mansion, etc. What is so
striking is how she has completely lost her self: she forgets her Russian name, never re-visits her country of
origin, and gets so wrapped up in the uber-rich world around her that she is totally unaware of how unhappy
she has become until she begins a torrid affair which upsets everything in her life she thought she valued.

In "Solitary Man" with Michael Douglas, a 60ish man with a successful career, a beautiful wife and a great daughter gets a wake-up call about his own mortality when, during a routine physical, his doctor informs him
of a heart rythym abnormality and orders him to go get tested. This fairly common set-up leads both to a total unraveling of his life and a revealing of his darker, more narcissistic underside as he proceeds to engage in
dishonest work practices which cause him to go to prison and to get divorced. Once released, he is hell-bent
on regaining his status and wealth while trying to reclaim his youth and power by hitting on and bedding every
possible young woman he can. How it all ends is provocative and poignant.

In "The Kids Are Alright" with Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo, a quaint California family
headed by two lesbians with teenagers born from the same sperm donor find their illusions of what their family
is made of shattered when the teens locate their donor Dad into their lives.

Finally, even the blockbuster action flick "Inception" with Leonardo DiCaprio, about a man enters peoples'
dreams to either still ideas or to implant them has a dual storyline wherein the lead character has to plumb the
depths of his own mind, his own past to heal his guilt so he may live in today while also going on a journey to
"assist" another, by infiltrating his dreams, to re-imagine his own relationship with his father. Confused? You
should be. A fun and provocative film and visually stunning.

So, discovering our truer selves may often be brought on by pain or crisis whether we're looking for it or not.
In the meantime, self-help books are just the appetizer.

Compulsive Theft and Spending:

The Hidden Epidemics!

Copyright 2010 Terrence Daryl Shulman, JD,LMSW,ACSW,CAAC,CPC

          According to recent statistics and surveys, more than 10% of Americans shoplift. Most people shoplift or steal not simply due to economic worries or greed but because there are difficult emotional or psychological issues and various pressures in their lives. For most shoplifters, it's not about the money or the thing--Winona Ryder proved that. Most act out of feelings of anger, loss, disempowerment, and entitlement. And many become hooked, addicted. Nearly 70% of shoplifters arrested will shoplift again. Have you or anyone you know ever shoplifted?

          A related behavior, employee theft, is even more pervasive. The American Society of
Employers, estimates that retailers alone loss 2-3 times as much from "internal theft" as from shoplifting
and that 55% of employee theft is committed by managers and supervisors. The U.S. Chamber of
Commerce estimates that 75% of employees steal from their work place and that most do so
repeatedly. Even "time theft" or loafing costs U.S. employers nearly $500 billion per year in lost productivity.
The FBI calls employee theft "the fastest growing crime in America."  Have you or anyone you know ever
stolen anything from the workplace?

            In addition, you've no doubt heard Oprah, Suze Orman, or dozens of others sound an alarm about
the growing problem of individual and collective debt and financial "dysfunctions." The primary culprit is
out-of-control shopping and spending. In 2006, Stanford University published the results of its landmark
study which identified "compulsive buying disorder" as a phenomenon affecting 6% of Americans
(nearly 18 million people). Men and women suffer about equally from this disorder which often results in lying
and hiding behaviors—similar to other addictions—as well as hoarding. Other statistics show that the
average American is nearly $10,000 in debt due to discretionary purchase and that arguments about money
and spending are the leading cause of conflict and separation/divorce among couples. Have you or someone
you know ever had a shopping or spending problem?

Read more of this article at:

Former Koss Corp. Executive Charged in $31 Million Fraud--Mental Illness Likely Defense

United States Attorney James L. Santelle announced that a grand jury sitting in Milwaukee returned a
six-count indictment charging Sujata Sachdeva (46) of Mequon, who is also known as Sue Sachdeva,
with six counts of wire fraud.  Ms. Sachdeva is the former Vice President of Finance, Secretary, and
Principal Accounting Officer for Koss Corporation, a publicly traded company located in Milwaukee,

The indictment alleges that Sachdeva used her position at Koss to fraudulently obtain more than $31
million from Koss, which she used to purchase personal items and pay for personal expenses. 
According to the indictment, Sachdeva authorized numerous wire transfers of funds from bank accounts maintained by Koss to pay for her American Express credit card bills. In addition, Sachdeva used money
from Koss's bank accounts to fund numerous cashier's checks, which she also used to pay her personal expenses.  Sachdeva used the money she fraudulently obtained from Koss to purchase personal items
including women's clothing, furs, purses, shoes, jewelry, automobiles, china, statues, and other house-
hold furnishings. Sachdeva also used the money to pay for hotels, airline tickets, and other travel
expenses for herself and others, to pay for renovations and improvements to her home and to compensate individuals providing personal services to her and her family.

According to the indictment, Sachdeva sought to conceal her fraud by directing other Koss employees
to make numerous fraudulent entries in Koss's books and records to make it appear that Sachdeva's
fraudulent transfers were legitimate business transactions.  Sachdeva directed Koss employees to
conceal her fraudulent transfers as well as the fraudulent entries in Koss's books and records from
Koss's management and auditors.

According to United States Attorney James L. Santelle "this case is one of the largest embezzlement
cases ever brought in this district, and demonstrates the ongoing commitment of this office and the FBI
to investigate and prosecute white collar offenses".

Each count of the indictment carries a maximum possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of
up to $250,000.  Sachdeva, therefore, faces a total maximum penalty of up to 120 years in prison and fines
of up to $1.5 million, plus forfeiture of the items identified in the indictment and restitution.

According to her attorney, Michael F. Hart, Esq., principal in the law firm of Kohler & Hart, LLP, and a
prominent criminal defense attorney in Milwaukee, one defense planned for Sachdeva is mental health.
Hart is quoted as saying, "We intend to show that mental health issues played a substantial role in Ms.
Sachdeva's conduct."

What kind of mental health issue(s) would he be referring to? Compulsive Shopping Addiction or Spending Addiction.  The following is a reprint from a popular web site on the subject:

Most of us who suffer from compulsive shopping addiction (sometimes called spending addiction) are unaware of the problem. After all, everything around us seems to be saying, "Buy, buy, buy!" So...we do! We usually discover the problem only when we run out of money. Then, sadly, we think it's an income problem. The problem isn't's being out of control with the outgo. We addicts tend to spend money to compensate for areas in our lives where we are emotionally out of control or damaged. I'm sure the millionaire's wife felt neglected for all the years he was pursuing his business goals while she was left with their several children to manage. The problem is triggered by emotion and shows itself as spending but we have to understand the cause of compulsive shopping addiction in order to get a handle on the solution.

Compulsive Shopping Cause

Since most people believe the problem is income, they mis-identify the cause as something outside of themselves; their job, boss, spouse, taxes, the creditors, prices, etc. This form of denial effectively blocks any kind of solution, locking us into an ever deepening problem. Though spending is usually the main symptom, and this, triggered by emotion, the cause goes much deeper. When we continue to pile up spending, the cause is usually rooted in the Spending Cycle: 1. We start with an emptiness, or negative self-esteem; a feeling of incompleteness. 2. Signals all around us tell us if we had some thing, we'd be seen as more important, successful, loveable, or complete, etc. The signals come from family, friends, co-workers, TV, radio, the Internet...anyone who has influence over us. 3. We spend to get that success feeling, sharing news of our shrewd acquisition with anyone who will say, "oooooooo." 4. When the bills come in we feel even more incomplete and powerless than before, starting the cycle all over again. Until we own the cause as something within us, we will never have a solution. The actual cause of compulsive shopping addiction, then, is that feeling of emptiness and low self-esteem. Solving this incompleteness is key to finding the solution to compulsive shopping addiction.


Hoarding Article in Recent Time Magazine

Franny Gray and Lisa Horning have been working side by side in Gray's home on and off since 2003, yet
this is the first time they've sat down together at the dining table. That's because Gray is a hoarder, and

until recently her table was covered with stacks of newspapers and magazines, knickknacks, loose
papers, empty water bottles and other odds and ends, all bundled inside plastic grocery bags. Much of
that clutter is gone now, thanks in part to the hard work Horning — a member of...

Read more:,9171,2002516,00.html#ixzz0tUmxWDgI

Extreme Shoppers--A Growing Phenomenon?

Think of them as robo-consumers: A new study from GfK Consumer titled "Future Buy" reports that a full
31% of the U.S. population now falls into a category it calls "the Xtreme Shopper," characterized by the
amount of time they devote to finding the best deals on everything.

"It's not so much that these shoppers do anything that different than other consumers," Lew Paine, VP/Gfk Consumer, tells Marketing Daily, such as relying on Internet research, especially through mobile devices,
using multiple retail channels, and checking product reviews. "It's just that this 31% do so much more of it.
They are using many more touchpoints and more resources. They visit more Web sites, and are more likely
to participate in online communities."

Another third of customers, he says, exhibit many of the same behaviors, but less frequently. And the
remaining third -- a group he calls traditionalists -- tend to shop the way they always have.

"What surprised us most was that no matter how we sliced and diced the demographics, income did not
seem to make a big difference -- these same three groups, in about the same proportion, showed up at
each income level," he says, and while more affluent consumers were slightly more likely to fall into the
"xtreme" category, the difference was not significant.

Age didn't make much difference either: "We found plenty of Xtreme Shoppers in their 70s," he says.
Nor is it a sport limited to high-ticket purchases. In fact, he says, young moms, prowling the Web for
groups to join and coupons for diapers and baby food, are one of the most active shopping groups.

Another shift, the study found, is that while finding the best deal is the ultimate goal of these hardcore
hunters, they are redefining what they mean by value, and are highly motivated by what they see as a
ssurances that the company they buy from will continue to support their products. "These are the
consumers who take their $150 iPod back to the Apple store, to make sure they are learning to use all
of its capabilities," he says.

See rest of article at:

Shoppers on a 'Diet' Tame the Urge to Buy

Published: July 21, 2010

IMAGINE that horrible though all-too-familiar feeling: You are standing before a fully stuffed closet and yet have nothing to wear.

Now, imagine something worse: Your closet contains only six items, and you are restricted to wearing only those six items for an entire month.

Now, if you can bear it, imagine something unspeakable:

No one notices.

Nearly a month into what amounted to just such a self-inflicted fast of fashion, Stella Brennan, 31, an insurance sales executive from Kenosha, Wis., realized last week that not even her husband, Kelly, a machinist, had yet figured out that she had been wearing the same six items, over and over, since June 21. The sad punch line is that Mr. Brennan is the one who actually does the laundry in the family.

During her experiment — something called a "shopping diet," actually — which ended on Wednesday, Ms. Brennan made do with the following: a black blazer and pants from H & M; two button-down shirts, one black and one pink; a pair of Old Navy jeans; and one well-worn pink T-shirt.

How she settled on those items was complicated by the fact that she has two young children, a golden retriever and three cats, and that she was starting a new job last month with an hourlong commute. She said she needed "six items that are animal-hair-, kid-, food- and wrinkle-resistant. I need these items to be professional, but also work for playing football with my son and tea parties."

She agonized the longest over the T-shirt — the button-down shirts and suit separates were for work, but the right T-shirt could be worn casually with jeans or dressed up with the blazer. Her revelation at the end of 31 days, after her husband still had not noticed, even when she wore her floral-printed pajamas to do yard work: "Obviously, I didn't need all of these clothes."

This self-imposed exercise in frugality was prompted by a Web challenge called Six Items or Less ( The premise was to go an entire month wearing only six items already found in your closet (not counting shoes, underwear or accessories). Nearly 100 people around the country, and in faraway places like Dubai and Bangalore, India, were also taking part in the regimen, with motives including a way to trim back on spending, an outright rejection of fashion, and a concern that the mass production and global transportation of increasingly cheap clothing was damaging the environment.

Meanwhile, an even stricter program, the Great American Apparel Diet, which began on Sept. 1, has attracted pledges by more than 150 women and two men to abstain from buying for an entire year. (Again, undies don't count.) And next month, Gallery Books will publish a self-help guide, called "The Shopping Diet," by the red-carpet stylist Phillip Bloch. ("Step 1: Admit You're an Overshopper"... "Step 9: Practice Safe, Responsible Shopping"... "Step 10: Make the Diet a Way of Life.")

Though their numbers may be small, and their diets extreme, these self-deniers of fashion are representative, in perhaps a notable way, of a broader reckoning of consumers' spending habits. As the economy begins to improve, shoppers of every income appear to be wrestling with the same questions: Is it safe to go back to our old, pre-recession ways? Or should we? The authors of these diets — including some fashion marketing and advertising executives, interestingly enough — seem to think not.

Sally Bjornsen, the founder of the Great American Apparel Diet (, said she was prompted to stop buying clothes for a simple reason: "I was sick and tired of consumerism," she said.

Last summer, Ms. Bjornsen, 47, said she was thinking about how years of easy credit had led to overspending on cars, homes and luxury goods. Then, looking in her own closet, she realized that she was part of the problem, she said. For her job, as a representative of commercial photographers in Seattle and before that as a marketing executive at fashion companies like Nike and Nordstrom, she'd spent $5,000 to $10,000 a year on clothes.

"I was buying in an egregious way," Ms. Bjornsen said. "I was just kind of grossed out by the whole thing."

Independently, the "six items" experiment was conceived by two friends, Heidi Hackemer, 31, a strategic business director at the New York advertising agency BBH, and Tamsin Davies, 34, the head of innovation at Fallon London, after an informal discussion about their desires to pare down their wardrobes. The idea snowballed into a creative challenge, Six Items or Less.

See rest of article at:

The Shulman Center Comes to You!

A reminder: The Shulman Center offers counseling services here in the metro-Detroit area, by telephone and/or SKYPE, or--in certain circumstances--we may be able to come to you. Please feel free to contact
us to explore what option works best for you!______________________________________________________________________________

Free Intimacy with Money Telephone Seminars

It is with great excitement and confidence that I share about the free "Intimacy with Money"
telephone seminars conducted by my long-time friend Tom Lietaert and my more recent friend Andrew Hogan who currently work out of Boulder/Denver, Colorado.

To learn more and to register, please go to:

New Website of Interest: run by Lora Sasiela. Check it out!

Books of the month:
 Ken Adams, a noted Royal Oak, Michigan therapist, has authored several books on mother-son issues and sexual addiction. I'd highly recommend his books "Silently Seduced" and "When He's Married to Mom." See

Also, there's a new collection of short stories by Jennifer Egan called "A Visit From The Good Squad" which
features a story about a woman named Sasha who is a kleptomaniac and steals from her boss and others.

Compulsive Theft & Spending in The News! July/August 2010:.

July--Mr. Shulman authored three web logs on compulsive shopping at

Mr. Shulman will be featured in Real Simple magazine about compulsive shopping/spending.

Mr. Shulman will be featured in articles in The Toronto Star newspaper and in Canada's
Chatelaine magazine on shoplifting addiction.

Mr. Shulman's online education course called "Creating an Honest and Theft-Free Workplace" based on his book and Power Point presentation through 360 Training Services will be available. CEs are available. See

August 28--Mr.Shulman will be presenting a seminar on employee theft deterrence and prevention for the metro-Detroit Agency on The Aging.

Beyond August...

September 8-11--Mr. Shulman will be a guest presenter on compulsive shopping and spending at
The National Conference on Addiction Disorders near Washington, D.C.

September: Mr. Shulman authored a chapter on employee theft for a U.K. book entitled "Risky Business" which will be released.

October--Mr. Shulman will be featured in a Milwaukee Magazine article on employee theft and shopping addiction

October 29--Mr. Shulman will be a featured presenter on compulsive shopping/spending and hoarding at a metro-Detroit all-day addiction conference for mental health professionals.

December 1-4--Mr. Shulman will be presenting on employee theft detection and prevention at The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

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, offered through The American Psychotherapy Association, is available for purchase by APA members and non-members. CEs are available. He is also working on authoring a therapist certification program in compulsive theft and spending for the APA. See

Mr. Shulman is assisting the Baton Rouge, Louisiana court system a court-ordered three hour 
facilitated educational program for retail fraud offenders. The program is based on material from
his book "Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery" (2003).

Mr. Shulman is consulting on a major motion picture tentatively called "The Rush" in which the lead character is addicted to shoplifting and stealing.

Mr. Shulman continues to assist the Kingman, Arizona court system with his court-ordered home-
study program for retail fraud offenders. The program is based on material from his book "Something
for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery" (2003).

Mr. Shulman is consulting with an author who is writing a novel about two kleptomaniacs who fall in
love with each other.

Contact The Shulman Center

Terrence Shulman
P.O. Box 250008
Franklin, Michigan 48025


Call (248) 358-8508 for free consultation!

Related sites by Terrence Shulman:


Something For Nothing
Biting The Hand That Feeds
Bought Out and $pent

Products for Purchase--ON SALE through 2009!

Mr. Shulman's three books "Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction & Recovery" and "Biting
The Hand That Feeds: The Employee Theft Epidemic... New Perspectives, New Solutions," and
"Bought Out and $pent! Recovery from Compulsive $hopping and $pending" are available for $25.00
each (includes shipping/handling).

Second International Conference on Compulsive Theft & Spending 2 DVD set (6 Hours). Recorded 9/08. $100.00.

Click here to purchase

E-mail Mr. Shulman:


Call (248) 358-8508