News from The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here

The Shulman Center 1


    Greetings from The Shulman Center!

Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding Newsletter June 2012 

Happy Father's Day!


Celebrating 20 years  

 of Serving People! 

       1992 - 2012


Mr. Shulman's Birthday

June 27th!



Quotes of the Month


"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it.'" --

Clarence B. Kelland 


"A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.'"--Anonymous


"You will find that if you really try to be a father, your children will meet you halfway." --Robert Brault 


"Why are men often reluctant to become fathers? They aren't through being children." --Cindy Garner


"There are three stages in a man's life: he believes in Santa Claus, he doesn't believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus." --Anonymous



"My father used to play with us in the yard and my mother would come out and yell: 'You're tearing up the grass!" 'We're raising boys, not grass!' he'd yell back."--Harmon Killebrew 



Stats of the Month 


The following stats and facts are from the site:


According to 2009 U.S. Census stats, over 24 million (or nearly 1 out of 3) children live apart from their fathers.


Nearly 2/3 of African-American children live in father-absent homes.


Research shows that children who grow up apart from their fathers are 2-3x more likely than kids in 2-parent homes to be poor, to use drugs, to have physical and mental health problems, and to be involved in crime.


The following stats and facts are from the site:


Children with fathers are 70% less likely to drop out of school. 


Children with involved fathers are more likely to enjoy school and engage in extra-curricular activities.


Adolescent girls raised by involved fathers are significantly less likely to be sexually active early.



Person of the Month 


My Stepfahter My stepfather, Jim Jacobs, 82, has been in my life for 35 years--since I was 12 years old. He and my mother are celebrating their 14th Anniversary later this month. 


My father died in 1993--nearly two decades ago--when I was 28. But Jim--an only child--grew up without a father (he died when Jim was just a child). 


Jim was an auditor for the Army for a short time and then became an insurance salesmen, going door-to-door and making cold calls before working his way up to becoming a much sught-after salesman and trainer. 


Jim adopted and raised a son and a daughter with his first wife. He's been retired for about 10 years but has many interest including golf, sudoku, dining, reading, walking, and traveling.  


Jim has been a great support in my life. In the last few years, some events & 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 he 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 Father's Day Jim. I love you. Terry



Books of the Month:


The Honest Truth about Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone Especially Ourselves. (Amazon, 2012 by Dan Ariety)


I've yet to read this book but just ordered it on Amazon. This book is the basis for one of our feature articles this month: "Why We Lie?" It looks to be a very interesting read.


The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists by Eleanor Payson. (Julian Day, 2002)


I bought this book five years ago at a local seminar presented by the author (she's from metro-Detroit). It sat on my shelf until my wife was told about it by a friend. We've been reading it together for a month now. We have to put it down and process about every page or so. Not only do we see ourselves in this book but we see more clearly aspects of narcissism in our upbringings. 


While we haven't finished the book yet (we're only about a quarter of the way through), I highly recommend it to anyone who struggles with inter-personal relationships. 



Film of the Month:


"Mansome" (2012) Directed by Morgan Spurlock.


Okay, I admit, I haven't seen this film yet either but it looks interesting even though the reviews have been mediocre. Directed by Morgan Spurlock (of "Supersize Me!" and "30 Days" fame) and also staring Jason Bateman, this film exposes the burgeoning industry of male "beauty" enhancement--everything for "man-scaping" (trimming body hair) to fashion, cologne, and plastic surgeries. I bet this film would be informative and amusing for anyone interested in gender trends. Metro-sexuals unite!


"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (2012) Directed by John Madden 


My wife and I saw this movie--based on the book by Deborah Moggach--and thought we might just be in for a fluffy "Cocoon" -type film. We also have never been to India (but hope to someday) and the entire movie takes place in Jaipur. A stellar cast, including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson make for a really heart-felt movie about end chapters in the lives of individuals and couples seeking adventure, peace, and new beginnings.


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:


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


May 25--Mr. Shulman appeared on Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show to discuss shoplifting addiction (show taped 2/5/12). See: 


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


May/June--Mr. Shulman's article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding runs in Addiction Professional Magazine. See


May 31--Mr. Shulman co-presented on hoarding disorder at metro-Detroit older adult residential center. 


June--Mr. Shulman's article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding runs in Sante Center's Summer Newsletter. See 


June 19--Mr. Shulman to present on hoarding disorder from 7-9pm at The Birmingham Community House. Call to register.



With Father's Day upon us, I again prepare for the 19th time this holiday passes without my biological father who died in 1993. I can't believe next year will mark 20 years. Since men tend to die on average of 8 years before women (and men still tend to marry younger women, though that's changing), chances are good that many of us are spending this Father's Day without the physical presence of our fathers. In addition, it's more common for children (including adult children) to be estranged from their living fathers.

So, while I''l likely celebrate Father's Day with my stepfather and a younger brother who's a father to a wonderful 10-year old son (my nephew Devan), the holiday is always bittersweet. 
 Because I was raised by a single Mom from the age of 10, there was a long period where I, frankly, hated my father and didn't think I had any need for him. I've talked to and counseled many men who've experience similar circumstances and feelings. And, it's often the same for daughters who had to grow up without their fathers being a positive force in their lives.

Thus, it's been said that many in our culture have grown up with an imbalance, a lack of exposure and nurturing by the positive masculine; in short, a "father hunger."

At risk of being political, I doubt there are many of us who look at how dysfunctional and adversarial our governments are (which are mostly still "run" by men) and wonder: where are the grown-ups?

I am not a father in the biological sense, nor have I actually raised any children. I know that if I were a father I'd make mistakes and struggle with the best of them to embody that awesome and seemingly too rare balance of sternness and tenderness. 

I do know that I am very thankful that, just before my father died, I found a mentor in a male therapist who introduced me to men's group work about 20 years ago. I have met many men--especially older men--who filled some of the void left by my father's shortcomings and eventual death. I learned that neither a father nor a mother can be everything a child needs. I have learned about the value of community and mentoring and the importance of giving and receiving blessings from older men (and older women). I see the good in my father and the not-so-good just as I see it in myself.

I am my father's son but I also am becoming my own father to myself. And I relish the opportunity to mentor other men--whether through my counseling or just through friendship. My two younger brothers still look up to me and I find it a delicious challenge to dance the dance of role of big brother rather than of father as I used to try to do. I can also bring father (or king) energy to a project, group, or endeavor I am leading or contributing to. I can bring wisdom, patience, action, and accountability as well as many other positive aspects of the "divine masculine."

So, on this Father's Day, I will celebrate with my stepdad and brother but I will also honor my father and myself and all the fathers in the universe who try and have tried to do their best.

Fathers are important. And we need more good fathering in our own lives and as a culture.

WHY WE LIE by Dan Ariely (Wall Street Journal 5/26/12)

Here are some excerpts:


We like to believe that a few bad apples spoil the virtuous bunch. But research shows that everyone cheats a little-right up to the point where they lose their sense of integrity.


Research shows that nearly everyone cheats a little if given the opportunity. Dan Ariely, author of the new book, "The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty," explains why. 


Not too long ago, one of my students, named Peter, told me a story that captures rather nicely our society's misguided efforts to deal with dishonesty. One day, Peter locked himself out of his house. After a spell, the locksmith pulled up in his truck and picked the lock in about a minute.


"I was amazed at how quickly and easily this guy was able to open the door," Peter said. The locksmith told him that locks are on doors only to keep honest people honest. One percent of people will always be honest and never steal. Another 1% will always be dishonest and always try to pick your lock and steal your television; locks won't do much to protect you from the hardened thieves, who can get into your house if they really want to. The purpose of locks, the locksmith said, is to protect you from the 98% of mostly honest people who might be tempted to try your door if it had no lock.


We tend to think that people are either honest or dishonest. In the age of Bernie Madoff and Mark McGwire, James Frey and John Edwards, we like to believe that most peopleare virtuous, but a few bad apples spoil the bunch. If this were true, society might easily remedy its problems with cheating and dishonesty. Human-resources departments could screen for cheaters when hiring. Dishonest financial advisers or building contractors could be flagged quickly and shunned. Cheaters in sports and other arenas would be easy to spot before they rose to the tops of their professions.


But that is not how dishonesty works. Over the past decade or so, my colleagues and I have taken a close look at why people cheat, using a variety of experiments and looking at a panoply of unique data sets-from insurance claims to employment histories to the treatment records of doctors and dentists. What we have found, in a nutshell: Everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everybody cheats-just by a little. Except for a few outliers at the top and bottom, the behavior of almost everyone is driven by two opposing motivations. On the one hand, we want to benefit from cheating and get as much money and glory as possible; on the other hand, we want to view ourselves as honest, honorable people. Sadly, it is this kind of small-scale mass cheating, not the high-profile cases, that is most corrosive to society.


Knowing that most people cheat-but just by a little-the next logical question is what makes us cheat more or less.


One thing that increased cheating in our experiments was making the prospect of a monetary payoff more "distant," in psychological terms. In one variation of the matrix task, we tempted students to cheat for tokens (which would immediately be traded in for cash). Subjects in this token condition cheated twice as much as those lying directly for money.


Another thing that boosted cheating: Having another student in the room who was clearly cheating. In this version of the matrix task, we had an acting student named David get up about a minute into the experiment (the participants in the study didn't know he was an actor) and implausibly claim that he had solved all the matrices. Watching this mini-Madoff clearly cheat-and waltz away with a wad of cash-the remaining students claimed they had solved double the number of matrices as the control group. Cheating, it seems, is infectious.


Other factors that increased the dishonesty of our test subjects included knowingly wearing knockoff fashions, being drained from the demands of a mentally difficult task and thinking that "teammates" would benefit from one's cheating in a group version of the matrix task. These factors have little to do with cost-benefit analysis and everything to do with the balancing act that we are constantly performing in our heads. If I am already wearing fake Gucci sunglasses, then maybe I am more comfortable pushing some other ethical limits (we call this the "What the hell" effect). If I am mentally depleted from sticking to a tough diet, how can you expect me to be scrupulously honest? (It's a lot of effort!) If it is my teammates who benefit from my fudging the numbers, surely that makes me a virtuous person!


The results of these experiments should leave you wondering about the ways that we currently try to keep people honest. Does the prospect of heavy fines or increased enforcement really make someone less likely to cheat on their taxes, to fill out a fraudulent insurance claim, to recommend a bum investment or to steal from his or her company? It may have a small effect on our behavior, but it is probably going to be of little consequence when it comes up against the brute psychological force of "I'm only fudging a little" or "Everyone does it" or "It's for a greater good."


What, then-if anything-pushes people toward greater honesty?


There's a joke about a man who loses his bike outside his synagogue and goes to his rabbi for advice. "Next week come to services, sit in the front row," the rabbi tells the man, "and when we recite the Ten Commandments, turn around and look at the people behind you. When we get to 'Thou shalt not steal,' see who can't look you in the eyes. That's your guy." After the next service, the rabbi is curious to learn whether his advice panned out. "So, did it work?" he asks the man. "Like a charm," the man answers. "The moment we got to 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' I remembered where I left my bike."


What this little joke suggests is that simply being reminded of moral codes has a significant effect on how we view our own behavior.sult. We even reran the experiment on a group of self-declared atheists, asking them to swear on a Bible, and got the same no-cheating results yet again.


All of this means that, although it is obviously important to pay attention to flagrant misbehaviors, it is probably even more important to discourage the small and more ubiquitous forms of dishonesty-the misbehavior that affects all of us, as both perpetrators and victims. This is especially true given what we know about the contagious nature of cheating and the way that small transgressions can grease the psychological skids to larger ones.


Read the rest of the article at:





I recently won an all-expenses paid trip to Norfolk, Virginia to visit the Naval Center there. Last week, 15 people and I flew out of Selfridge National Guard Airbase in metro-Detroit on a military transport plane. We even got to watch as our plane refueled two fighter jets en route above North Carolina airspace! When we landed in Norfolk, we spent the next two and a half days touring battleships, an aircraft carrier, various airplane hangars, and even a self-guided tour of downtown Norfolk. This was not the kind of trip I would have planned myself. I'm not that into military stuff. But, because life handed me this trip, I decided.. what the heck!?


I'm glad I went. I got to meet a number of naval servicemen and servicewomen from across our great country. I got to see our tax dollars at work. I got to see the awesomeness of engineering and the commitment of men and women to our nation. All of the sudden, Memorial Day took on a more solemn meaning.


So, I encourage you to visit places you wouldn't normally go to. You never know what you may learn and how it may open your mind... and your heart!



By Katie Mosse | ABC News -  Tue, May 29, 2012


A drug used to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease may curb compulsive buying in shopaholics, a new study found.


The drug, called memantine, helps people with Alzheimer's disease think more clearly by reducing overactivity in the brain. But it also eases impulsivity, a trait tied to rash decisions and impractical purchases.


"In a way, compulsive buying is similar to other addictions in that people are thinking about the immediacy of the reward without considering the consequences," said study author Dr. Jon Grant, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. "We asked: Could we use a medication to essentially enhance decision-making as a way to help them with their behavior?"


Grant and colleagues recruited eight compulsive buyers, all women, to take memantine for 10 weeks, and used cognitive tests and surveys to track impulsive thoughts and spending. In the end, they found significant reductions in both.


"People with compulsive spending don't think through the full range of consequences of their behavior, and that improved with this medication," said Grant.


The study, published in the May issue of Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, gives hope to an estimated 6 percent of Americans who struggle with the euphoric highs and guilt-ridden lows of compulsive buying.


"It can interfere with people's jobs, their marriages," said Grant, describing how compulsive buyers squander their savings and invent lies to explain their actions. "All of this leads to incredible personal distress. A person might feel depressed and even suicidal because they don't know how to control their behavior and feel bad about being dishonest."


Ronnie Haring, a 38-year-old mother of two from Reading, Pa., recently told ABC's "Nightline" how she shopped in secret and hid all her purchases from her husband.


"He'd say, 'Is that something new?' and I'm like, 'No, I've had this for a while,' so it wasn't a lie. It just wasn't the truth," she said. Haring ran up $50,000 in credit card debt shopping for clothes, furniture and toys for her kids.


"It just feels so good inside," she told Nightline. "You're kind of floating as you're going through it and then, essentially, you just fall ... very hard. You get home and you're like, 'Why did I buy all this?' And then you feel guilty. And the way to make yourself feel better [is] more shopping. And the cycle continues."


It took a trip to jail for shoplifting for Haring realize how serious her compulsive shopping habit had become. "It was kind of like, 'You've hit rock bottom now. There's nowhere to go,'" she said.






Please take note of the podcast (from NPR's "On Being") and short video clip (from CBS's "Sunday Morning") on the topic of forgiveness:





Walk in peace.



The Shulman Center 2012 Events Calendar 


May 25--Mr. Shulman appeared on Anderson Cooper's daytime talkshow to discuss shoplifting addiction (show taped 2/5/12). See  


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


May 31--Mr. Shulman co-presented on hoarding disorder at metro-Detroit older adult residential center.


June--Mr. Shulman's article on compulsive theft, spending & hoarding in Addiction Professional Magazine.


June--Mr. Shulman is working with ABC's "Nightline" on a segment on shoplifting addiction.


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


July 10--Mr. Shulman to 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: /



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


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:


Books by
Terrence Shulman: 


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). 





The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding | 29748 Farmbrook Villa Lane | Southfield | MI | 48034