The Shulman Center

Terrence Shulman
Founder/Director of
The Shulman Center

Terry Shulman

August 2011 Monthly e-Newsletter
"What Would You Do?"
By Terrence Daryl Shulman

                                       QUICK SUMMER HITS!   

July 29, 2011--Mr. Shulman will be conducting a full-day in-service on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding at The State Bar of Michigan in Lansing, Michigan.

August 1--Mr. Shulman will be a guest on Canadian Broadcast Corporation's radio show "The Current" discussing shoplifting addiction from 9:30-10:30am. Available on podcast, too!

Check out our new online support group for compulsive shoppers/spenders and hoarders. Register at:

Check out our 1-hour employee theft online course. Learn why people commit employee theft, how to deter it, and how to confront it. See

New sites in progress! and

Happy 9th Anniversary Tina, my beloved wife & Creative Director of The Shulman Center! (August 8)

Mr. Shulman's 4th book Cluttered Lives, Emply Souls: Compulsive Stealing, Spending and Hoarding has been published by Infinity Publishing. See for details and ordering!

The Shulman Center will conduct an all-day conference in Detroit Saturday October 1, 2011. The Third International Conference on Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding will cover shoplifting addiction, kleptomania, employee theft, compulsive shopping/overspending, and hoarding/cluttering disorders. Early bird discount of $125 through Aug. 1. See:

BOOK OF THE MONTH!  Cluttered Lives, Empty Souls: Compulsive Stealing, Spending & Hoarding
My new 250-page book is a labor of love and includes statistics, theory, stories, research, current events, and recovery tools related to compulsive stealing, shopping/spending, hoarding and risk-taking and rule breaking. The book brings together the similarities between each of these disorders. It also includes interviews with several noted experts (mental health professionals, authors, corporate consultants, and coaches) in the fields of kleptomania, shoplifting, employee theft, compulsive buying, money issues, and secret-keeping/risk-taking/rule-breaking. See excerpts at

August 17-21, 2011 See:
Mr. Shulman will be attending. Hope to see some of you there!

What would you do (or not do) if you'd put your heart and soul into something and then felt criticized, doubted, misunderstood, and disparaged by someone?

Would you:

A. Do nothing and stew over it
B. Write a letter/e-mail, make a phone call, or confront this person directly but politely
C. Give this person a taste of his/her own medicine
D. Talk about your feelings and how to best respond with a therapist and/or trusted family/friends
E. Do nothing and pray for this person
F. Other

If this type of situation hasn't happened to you, I'll bet something similar has. How did you handle it? Looking back on it, do you wish you had handled it differently?

It's my experience we'll get more than one chance to respond to a similar situation.  I recently had the wonderful opportunity to respond (or not respond) to such a situation. Several years ago, I responded angrily to an article written by this person about me and a conference I put on. I felt shocked, hurt, and confused about how this author couldn't see or value my hard work, my good intentions, and have an opinion so diametrically opposed to what every conference attendee experienced. I was also very concerned that people who read her article would believe her opinions and that my reputation would be damaged. I wrote her and the online magazine which published the article to express my displeasure over the tone and some factual errors.  

It's a free country, for sure, and it's been said that people have a right to their own opinion but not their own facts. These days, howver, we can't be too naive or surprised about anything. I received no apology and no corrections or retractions. I felt helpless and frustrated. But I survived--and even thrived. Yet, I had hoped to never cross paths with her again. I had to learn--and am still learning--that not everybody likes me or values me or my work. I realize we have to learn to take some criticism; anyone putting himself out there or doing important work is going to have his critics.

Fast forward nearly six years later. I'd become aware in the last year that this author was publishing a book; I had a pretty good feeling that I'd be mentioned in it--again, unfairly and unfavorably. Although I'd become more secure about myself and my work and less concerned about what people believed or about my reputation, I still felt uneasy about the prospect of this woman doing "another hit job" on me. There it was again: my need to control, my need to be liked, my need for approval. I knew this on an intellectual level but my emotions continued to run me. Six months ago, I attempted a pre-emptive strike: I e-mailed the author and the publisher to let them know I was aware of the impending publication and my concerns about the author's past history of poor fact-checking and biased or slanted reporting of information. I received a weak response from the publisher: "Please contact us if you have concerns after the book is published." I was never contacted by a fact-checker. Big surprise.

Over the next six months, I went about my life--I was writing a book of my own. When I received her book in the mail, sure enough, I was mentioned--in a similarly inaccurate and disparaging manner. Again,
if you were in my shoes, what would you do?

Would you:

A. Do nothing and stew over it
B. Write a polite e-mail/letter to the author and the publisher
C. Give her a taste of her own medicine and write critical, disparaging things about her
D. Talk about your feelings and how to best respond with a therapist and/or trusted family/friends
E. Do nothing, take the high road, examine your own reactions, and pray for this person
F. Other

Well, I'm embarrassed to say I "chose" C: I let my emotions get the better of me. I admit: I wanted revenge. It was an eye-for-an-eye! I fired off an angry, (legally) threatening e-mail to the author and publisher. And, yes, it felt satisfying for a short time. My hope was that I'd at least get an apology and a commitment to correct some errors. I knew I was taking a risk with my tone--they say you catch more bees with honey than vinegar--but, I'd talked myself into believing you have to be a loose cannon to be taken seriously.

While waiting for a response, I finally confided in few friends. One told me: "I understand your reaction and your actions; you can't play Mr. Nice Guy with people like that. This seems like another lesson about standing up for yourself" Another told me: "I think you undermined yourself and any chance of getting what you want because of your tone. Besides, if you mud wrestle with a pig, you're gonna just get muddy and the pig is gonna love it." This friend also shared he was concerned about my ego running wild and my difficulty accessing a higher morality and spirituality. I told him I was concerned if I didn't act, my anger could go underground and my recovery might be at risk. He looked me square in the eye and said: "good rationalization." Good friends--gotta love 'em.

I eventually received an e-mail from the publisher and their attorney. Not surprisingly, I got no love from them; as suspected, they had their author's back, though they acknowledged a few errors they said they'd change. I'm still seeking out a libel lawyer to get an expert opinion but I may need to let it all go. It's still hard to hear or read something about yourself you feel is mean or untrue, but as Shakespeare said: "Thou Doest Protest Too Much!" It's important to examine our shadow--or unconscious--sides, too. Maybe there's a little truth in there and that's why it hurts. But, it's like bringing home a report card with 5 A's and 1 B and all that gets focused on is the B. That's the world we live in. None of us is perfect, few of us are saints; there's always something to pick on. Besides, we're our own worst critics, aren't we?

And so, like the knock on my door nearly 3 years ago when I was served with a lawsuit and saw it only as a curse at first, I'm doing my best to see the opportunities in this most recent challenge. I know I am surrounded by people who respect, appreciate, and support me--my wife, my family, my friends, my clients, and many others. With them in my corner, nothing can really hurt me. And it's good to remember that's what's really important. I'm sure the author has family, friends and others who respect, appreciate and support her, too. We can't be that different, can we? We're both teachers and writers. And while I can't imagine writing anything mean-spirited about another person (as I believe she did to me), I guess I just proved I can do the same thing. It felt good for a little while; but as with any addiction, it doesn't really solve the problem... and usually makes matters worse.

Investigation Into Atlanta Public Schools Finds Cheating Across Every Level
By Heather Vogell The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Across Atlanta Public Schools, staff worked feverishly in secret to transform testing failures into successes. Teachers and principals erased and corrected mistakes on students' answer sheets.
Area superintendents silenced whistle-blowers and rewarded subordinates who met academic goals by any means possible. Superintendent Beverly Hall and her top aides ignored, buried, destroyed or altered complaints about misconduct, claimed ignorance of wrongdoing and accused naysayers of failing to believe in poor children's ability to learn.

For years — as long as a decade — this was how the Atlanta school district produced gains on state curriculum tests. The scores soared so dramatically they brought national acclaim to Hall and the district, according to an investigative report released Tuesday by Gov. Nathan Deal. Throughout her career, Superintendent Beverly Hall has been showered with endless accolades-- and checks -- for her miraculous performance at the helm of Atlanta's schools. In 2009, for instance, she was named school superintendent of the year in San Francisco.

The voluminous report names 178 educators, including 38 principals, as participants in cheating. More than 80 confessed. The investigators said they confirmed cheating in 44 of 56 schools they examined. Former Gov. Sonny Perdue ordered the inquiry last year after rejecting the district's own investigation into suspicious erasures on tests in 58 schools. The AJC first raised questions about some schools' test scores more than two years ago. For the record, Gov. Perdue is a Republican. He was and still is wildly popular in the state. But he was term limited out of office.

In some schools, the report said, cheating became a routine part of administering the annual state Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests. The investigators describe highly organized, coordinated efforts to falsify tests when children could not score high enough to meet the district's self-imposed goals. At Venetian Hills, a group of teachers and administrators who dubbed themselves "the chosen ones" convened to change answers in the afternoons or during makeup testing days, investigators found. Principal Clarietta Davis, a testing coordinator told investigators, [she] wore gloves while erasing to avoid leaving fingerprints on answer sheets. At Gideons Elementary, teachers sneaked tests off campus and held a weekend "changing party" at a teacher's home in Douglas County to fix answers.

Cheating was "an open secret" at the school, the report said. The testing coordinator handed out answer-key transparencies to place over answer sheets so the job would go faster. At Kennedy Middle, children who couldn't read not only passed the state reading test, but scored at the highest level possible. At Perkerson Elementary, a student sat under a desk, then randomly filled in answers and still passed...

COMMENT: Is it any wonder why fraud and dishonesty are escalating across our society?

See rest of article at:

7 Spending Sins That Will Put You in Debt
by Jill Krasny 06/30/11

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Whether it's a sense of entitlement to that ritzy four-course meal or the pressure to keep up with the Joneses, Americans seem to have no shortage of excuses when they commit the seven spending sins that put them in debt. Here we outline the most deviant spending sins, or mindsets, that keep consumers strapped for cash, living on plastic or stuck in a black hole of debt. Whether your spending habits are holier-than-thou or could use some divine intervention, reading these tips from our experts should help put your money on the stairway to heaven. From entitlement to peer pressure, Americans have many excuses for committing the seven spending sins.You know you're spending in sin when you feel entitled to all you want, all the time. But when you're trying to repent, taking your mind off of what you're giving up takes a serious mind shift.

Mismanaging your windfall...

Let's say you got a $1,000 check in the mail. What would you do with the windfall? If you're like most Americans, you'd spend it, says certified financial planner Stuart L. Ritter, who works at T. Rowe Price. "The idea of mishandling sudden money may sound counterintuitive," he says, "but [consumers] will do a couple things that put them in debt. First, a big chunk of that money goes to taxes, and second, if they're married, each spouse might go off buying what they want, or one will buy something with a monthly payment that's usually out of the budget." Moral of the story: Plan as much as you can for a windfall and talk through priorities with your spouse, Ritter says. "Recognize that you need to think about this money the same way you think about the other money you have in terms of important goals and how you're going to pursue those goals," he says. "[The windfall] doesn't help nearly as much as other people think it will," especially if you treat it as remodeling money, say, instead of money to put toward the household budget.

Like the R.E.M. song, Losing My Religion, losing sight of your financial goals can feel just as hopeless. It's one thing to covet your neighbor's possessions, but adopting someone else's money values entirely is a sure way to sidetrack your goals, says Ritter. "Society expects the big wedding, consumers think, 'Of course, I need a big wedding dress', and family members are expected to pick up the check at the family reunion," he says. But "letting other people decide how you should spend your money, whether it's indirectly or directly, shows you're not being principled in how you incorporate your own priorities into what you think people's expectations are. People can end up with a disconnect between what actually fits into their household budget and what they think they're supposed to be doing and end up spending their future income today."
As with all goal-setting, prioritizing one thing means putting another on the backburner. Not that that's a bad thing, Ritter says. His clunker of a car gets made fun of left and right, but he sees the money saved by not buying a new one as "an opportunity to send my kids to college." Or as Huffstetler bluntly puts it, "I say the Joneses can kiss my assets."

Terrence Shulman, founder and director of The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding -- a for-profit center that works with shopaholics -- agrees, adding that if spenders feel like they have to treat themselves or they'll go crazy, they're bound to go overboard and start a cycle of shame, more spending and debt. "You have to think of different ways to reward yourself," Shulman advises, noting that having "accountability people or a support group," or finding other creative ways to indulge can help keep consumers on track. Often, he adds, feelings of inadequacy rooted in one's upbringing can be at play, so it's important to work through those too, perhaps with a counselor or support group like Debtors Anonymous.

Feeling so cynical...

"People are getting jaded," Shulman says. "They're seeing what's going on in politics, the fraud in banking and mortgages, and they're feeling like there's no fairness. And because they feel like the whole ship is going down anyway, they think, 'I probably can't pay it off and this is just a big mess, so why not live now?'" But the consequences of this devil-may-care spending habit might be worse: Carelessly piling on debt can lead to a poor credit score and all the headaches that come with it, from being denied a home loan to getting rejected for car loans and credit cards. Lacking a security cushion for you or your family could also put you in the unenviable position of having to take on a second job, or ask a distant relative for a handout. Not fun.

"You don't have to be divorced to be an emotional spender. You might just feel like your life is lacking in some way, which as reported recently, is a very real issue driving spending addicts to shop, shop, shop. But before emotion takes over and you whip out the plastic," Shulman of the Center for Compulsive Shopping and Theft recommends setting boundaries first with your kids and, as we explained earlier, getting to the root of the problem by identifying what makes you feel insecure. "The sooner you work on those issues, the sooner your financial future will start to look brighter."


Mr. Shulman's 4th book Cluttered Lives, Emply Souls: Compulsive Stealing, Spending and Hoarding has been published by Infinity Publishing. See


Unlikely Undertakings: How a Shopaholic Got Into The Savings Business
Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 3:35PM

Dear Blogosphere,

My name is Alysa Seeland and I am the new Director of Marketing at ImpulseSave™. You'll be hearing a lot from me and I thought there were three things you should know: 1. I love Boston, 2. I admire hipsters from a far, and 3. I am a reforming shopaholic. My shopping habits were SO bad that I wanted to be single for the rest of my life to save my poor hypothetical husband from the pain I would cause him. A cashmere hoodie from Antro? Smoked Gouda made from raw milk? Fleet Foxes live at the Orpheum? I just couldn't help myself.

But then I found hope (or so I thought.) I was swept off my feet by a Frugal Frank (no relation to the Twitter handle). As it turns out, my Frugal Frank is a sucker for J.Crew and Whole Foods. Who knew? We were making $300.00 purchases on fancy expendables when we didn't have enough money for rent (or laundry for that matter.) So lame! The good news is some people figured out a way to make saving easy and fun - even impulsive. Wait, the deliciously random unpredictability of saving? You bet. If you're ready for a game-changer then check out on Beta It's time to Get Your GreenBack.™

Things you need to know about me and this blog:

We're in this together: Anything I say to you, I am saying to myself.

We are not alone: 52 percent of Americans do not have enough to retire on and others are expected to work into their 80's because they have so little saved.

We are in a recession: buying 150k dog collars is just not OK, no emotions about it.

Humor goes a long, long way: Let's face it; saving (or lack there of) has been painful for most of us. ImpulseSave™ has changed that - so let's start having fun with it.

Things you need to know about ImpulseSave™:

We're pretty hip: Not really, but 2/3 of us do wear skinny jeans.

We care about what you say: ImpulseSave™ was created to be a HELPFUL tool, and we need you to help us make sure we're doing that. We're real people: We're the kind of go-getting, idea-loving, hard-working pioneers America is famous. Now go Get Your GreenBack. See

The Shulman Center will conduct an all-day conference in Detroit Saturday October 1, 2011. The Third International Conference on Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding will cover shoplifting addiction, kleptomania, employee theft, compulsive shopping/overspending, and hoarding/cluttering disorders. Early bird discount of $125 through Aug. 1. See:


August 2011 and beyond...

July 29--Mr. Shulman will be conducting a free full-day in-service on compulsive theft, spending and hoarding at The State Bar of Michigan in Lansing, Michigan.

August 1--Mr. Shulman will be a guest on Canadian Broadcast Corporation's radio show "The Current"  discussing shoplifting addiction.

August 18--Mr. Shulman will be attending the Columbus, Ohio Addiction Studies Institute conference.

August 19--Mr. Shulman will be attending the Debtors Anonymous World Conference in Detroit.

September--Mr. Shulman will have an article on employee theft featured on

September--Mr. Shulman will be featured in an article on shoplifting addiction in Reader's Digest magazine.

September 15--Mr. Shulman will be presenting a free 90-minute interactive lecture on hoarding disorder from 7-8:30pm at The Franklin (Michigan) Public Library.

September 26-28--Mr. Shulman will be attending The 24th Annual Foundations Recovery Network's "Power, Fame & Recovery" conference in Palm Beach, Florida.

October 1--Mr. Shulman will be presenting an all-day seminar on compulsive theft & spending & hoarding in the metro-Detroit area. $125 until August 1st; $150 after.

October 25--Mr. Shulman will be presenting a 2 and 1/2 hour seminar on compulsive shopping and hoarding disorder 7-9:30pm at The Birmingham Community House in Birmingham, Michigan. $25.00

November 4--Mr. Shulman will present an all-day seminar on compulsive theft & spending & hoarding in the Chicago area through Proctor Hospital's/Illinois Institute for Addiction and Recovery's ongoing learning program.


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 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. See or enroll in course at:

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 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. CEUs are available. He's working on a therapist certification program in compulsive theft/spending. See:

Mr. Shulman collaborated with the Kingman, AZ courts with a 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.

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

  Contact: The Shulman Center

Terrence Daryl Shulman, JD, LMSW, ACSW, CAAC, CPC
Founder/Director, The Shulman Center

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
Cluttered Lives: Empyt Souls

Products for Purchase--ON SALE through 2011!

Mr. Shulman's four books:

Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction & 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 Stealing, Spending and Hoarding

are available for $25.00 each (includes shipping/handling).

Click here to purchase

E-mail Mr. Shulman: or call 248-358-8508