The Shulman Center

Terrence Shulman
Founder/Director of
The Shulman Center

Terry Shulman

March 2011 Monthly e-Newsletter
" From Frozen Ground Comes Flowers"
By Terrence Daryl Shulman

                                        Happy Spring and St Patrick's Day!

Check out our new online support group for compulsive shoppers/spenders and hoarders. Register by going to the link:

The Shulman Center will be conducting an all-day conference in Detroit Saturday October 1, 2011 on compulsive shoplifting/employee theft, kleptomania, compulsive shopping/overspending, and hoarding/cluttering disorders.

Check out "The Truth about Shoplifting"--which aired on Canadian Broadcast Corporation TV in 2009. It will be shown on U.S. cable CNBC Friday March 4th at 9pm EST and again on Sunday March 6th at 8pm EST. Mr. Shulman was featured in this provocative documentary. See

Saturday April 16th Mr. Shulman will be co-organizing and speaking on cross-addiction at a half-day conference on addiction/recovery in Ferndale, Michigan 8:30am -12:30pm. Contact him for further info at 248-358-8508.

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

Check out our new uploaded web-videos on shoplifting addiction, employee theft,  & compulsive shopping/spending links: and under "The Shulman Center" on

Check our websites at, and

Please Note...

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. Please see information, registration, early bird discounts at:

From Frozen Ground Comes Flowers
As winter slowly expresses its last fury of flurries, many of us wait for the first hopeful signs of spring and rebirth. This perpetual cycle of barren to bloom, emptiness to fullness reminds me again of my own journey and the journeys we each face, like it or not, in which we are laid bare so that we may grieve and heal and become our truer, deeper, healthier selves. 

Two recent events, in particular, have given me reason to reflect. The first relates to a recent joint-venture of sorts between myself and another woman in recovery from a shoplifting addiction. In the middle of last year, she felt "called" to start a C.A.S.A. (Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous) support group near where she lives in west Michigan (about two hours from where I live). We were both excited, as were a few other women in early recovery near her, whom I also knew. By October she had been given permission by her church to start a weekly meeting there. Soon afterwards, I had arranged for us to give a half hour presentation at the local probation department--which was well-received--and began notifying other local probation offices by e-mail to inform them of the group's existence for possible referrals to the group.

This woman, who I call a friend, put herself out there with a strong calling to further her own recovery from shoplifting addiction and to help others in need. It helped her get closer to her fiance and to feel more at peace and less secretive. I also made contact with a newspaper reporter from the major local newspaper who attended one of the C.A.S.A. meetings in mid-January and then published her article a week or so later. The article helped lead a few new members to the group, as well as a couple of inquiries from local attorneys, but it also triggered an unforeseen event.

Our group's founder was contacted by the church administrator who stated that several church members read the article and questioned why such a group was allowed to meet in their building. The founder was shocked and tried to reassure her. She also made several attempts to speak with the church's pastor, who was set to marry her finance and her later this year, but got no response.  It became clear that C.A.S.A. was no longer welcomed at the church and, frankly, she felt nor was she. She felt anger and hurt and sadness and I felt very bad as well. We both knew her story about her family of origin judging and rejecting her for being different than the rest of them and, especially, for her shoplifting history. Now, it felt like it was happening all over again.

But, in the last month as she and the other group members have struggled to find a new meeting place for C.A.S.A. she summed things up in a remarkably sober and mature way during a recent telephone conversation: "You know, it really sucks that people can be so close-minded and judgmental, but I'd rather have found this out sooner than later. I will survive and C.A.S.A. will find a new home." And, thus, in loss she's finding gain; in sadness, that silver lining. There are always risks in baring our soul and being stripped bare. But that's the cycle of life--as sure as the leaves fall and the flowers fade and everything we cling to disappears, it is sure to rise again in more brilliant form and substance.

The second event happened just last week. I received a very harrassing and threatening and anti-semitic phone message from an ex-girlfriend I dated from 1993-1997. I have been with my wife since 1999 and this ex had made many attempts over the years to continue a "friendship" or, at least, a connection. The last time I actually spoke with her by phone had to have been five years or so when I expressed my doubts about our being able to stay in touch and, further, suggested she seek out counseling for her anger issues. Yet, in these last five years she had continued to call me every few months or so, leaving syrupy sweet messages on my voicemail asking me how I was, how my wife was, how my family was. I never picked up the phone or called her back. I told my wife and several of my friends about these calls and concluded it was just best to ignore her. That was until this past week.

Whatever prompted her eventual turn from syrupy sweetness to direct threats and harrassment, I may never know. I also found out she recently was harrassing a cousin of mine, too, who she found out was my relative. So, I filed a police report. Filing a personal protection order may be my next step. I am rattled but, in a sense, relieved it has come to this because I can begin to see that some problems we try to ignore just won't go away on their own. I tried this a couple of years ago with a burgeoning legal issue that evolved into a full-fledged lawsuit. I also hoped some of my gradual awareness around my family dynamics would just fade away or reslove but that finally came to a head. And with my marriage and my own evolving recovery process, it took the crucible of these crises to finally make me confront and deal with slow-building and recurrent issues head-on. 

As I feel in limbo about how this mini-drama will play itself out, I am taking the opportunity to soul-search and claim the gifts that this may be bringing me. The first thing that struck me is that here's another opportunity to assert myself and set boundaries and ask for help (this time from friends, the police, and maybe the courts). I also am aware that here's another opportunity to really expel from my life any remnants of craziness or dysfunctional relationships. I know there's always room for learning how to balance my emotions with taking right and decisive action. And if I dig deep enough, I can own that maybe a part of me was holding onto the memories of our times together and occasionally entertaining the fantasies about the addictive highs of that relationship which were slowly but surely infliltrating my marriage. Maybe now the spell will be broken--to be stripped bare from addiction and fantasy so I may be more present and committed in life and in love.

Lindsay Lohan: Winona Ryder Redux?
It's easy to laugh at the continuing plight of Lindsay Lohan and the case of the stolen $2,500 necklace. But watching someone self-destruct--even a "celebrity"--must cause us pause: there but for the grace of God go we. Last week, Ms. Lohan was back in court on February 23 and it appears that she may have to take her case to trial if she has any hope of avoiding jail for her felony theft charge, not to mention, her underlying probation violation. The judge told Ms. Lohan that any plea deal she accepts will involve jail time. Her next court date is on March 10.

Lohan's father, Michael Lohan, calls his daughter's alleged necklace theft "a huge misunderstanding." Where have we heard this one before? Didn't Winona Ryder say the same thing? Well, she took her case to a jury trial and we all remember how that worked out for her? Guilty (though she avoided incarceration). What makes it so difficult for many celebrities to confess to shoplifting or theft? I still long for the day when we have a "celebrity shoplifting poster child" to put a more dignified spotlight on this often misunderstood cry for help. It will probably take someone quite different from Ms. Lohan, however, to "advance the cause" of sensitivity for this disorder--someone who's shoplifting or stealing provokes more shock and sympathy than cynicism and water cooler humor, say, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston, or some other version of "everybody's sweetheart."

When I was interviewed by ABC's "Entertainment Tonight" for a segment on Ms. Lohan that aired February 10th, my hour-long interview was, not surprisingly, cut down to several seconds; my one surviving soundbite? "It's conceivable that if Lindsay Lohan is clean from drugs and alcohol that she could be looking for a new way to engage in risk-taking behavior, to get a new rush or high." If nothing more, I continue to feel called to educate the general public that shoplifting--and more broadly, stealing--can become addictive and is typically more than about the money or the thing stolen. Watching Lindsay Lohan continues to be like watching one slow, inevitable train-wreck after another. (For his part, Charlie Sheen is giving her a run for her money).

If Lindsay Lohan did steal the necklace in question, I'd want to know: did she do it impulsively or did she plan it? Is it a cry for help or a conscious or less-conscious cry for (more) attention? Is she just trading or transferring addictions or has she been shoplifting/stealing for a while now? (Some reports online state this isn't her first time shoplifting and most statistics reveal that shoplifters typically get away with it many times before being confronted and/or prosecuted). Does she feel entitled to steal, to break the rules/the law, to have what she wants, to get special privilege/treatment and, if so, why? Is she just a narcissist, the sociopath next door, an unrepentant and unhelpable starlet or a lost soul?

We may or may not ever know the answers to these questions but what's more important is that we each ask these questions of ourselves and find some answers.

See link to more info about Ms. Lohan at: 

Senator Scott Brown Admits to Shoplifting in His Youth
Writer Pat Gavin reports: "In his new memoir, "Against All Odds," Scott Brown talks about shoplifting as a child in order to help make ends meet. So, when he appeared on Talk Radio Network's "America's Morning News" program Tuesday morning, the Massachusetts senator had some advice for another accused shoplifter: Lindsay Lohan.

Co-host Amy Holmes asked Brown: "This may seem like a bit of an off-the-wall question, but in your memoir you talk about how you were a serial shoplifter in your teen years, you might have become a juvenile delinquent if not for a judge who, quote, 'verbally kicked your butt.' Well, we have a very famous young woman who's in the headlines: Lindsay Lohan. Do you have any advice for her?"

"It's funny you mention that," Brown responded. "I think about her a lot. And I often say, you know what, I wish I could have, like, 10 minutes with her and just sit her down and talk to her and say ... you know, 'cuz who doesn't remember her in 'The Parent Trap,' this incredible movie, this bright young actress with this bright young life? And now all of the things you read about her, you feel badly. You just want to kinda go out and just talk to her and say, you know, 'You can do better and be better.'

"So, I would hope that she would start to get some real guidance from some people that care about her and [are] not looking for headlines or purse strings attached. ... I kinda look at her like almost I would say the same thing to my daughter. So, I guess it reflects my age."

See link to article on Mr. Brown:

White Collar Fraudster Turned Master Consultant
I recently received a phone call from Gary D. Zeune from the Columbus, Ohio area. Mr. Zeune had come across my websites and my work with employee theft and fraud. He runs an impressive fraud consulting company made up primarily of former white collar criminals who've reformed their lives and are helping companies learn what makes people steal a la Frank Abagnale of "Catch Me if You Can" fame. Mr. Zeune's website is located at

25th Annual Debtors Anonymous Conference
To be held in Detroit, Michigan August 2011. Stay tuned for more details or check

Books of The Month: 
The Truth About Grief: The Myth of Its Five Stage and The New Science of Loss by Ruth Davis Konigsberg (2011) and The CEO's Complete Guide To Committing Fraud--Volume 1, by Gary D. Zeune, CPA (1994).

Ms. Konigsberg's book directly challenges the unchallenged decades-old "gospel" of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's five stage of grief model (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) which has found its way into cross-cultural, academic and media circles throughout the globe. Akin to espousing that there's only one true religion, Ms. Konigsberg warns that oversimplifying the grieving process does a great disservice to individuals, families and societies. This marketing of grief leads neither to true healing or true grieving, she asserts. This book is a fascinating look at something we all go through and challenges our notions of what grief really is.

Mr. Zeune's book (while almost two decades in print) reads as fresh as the most recent headlines forewarn. Mr. Zeune is a creative story-teller and this book is full of interviews with white collar criminals (many of them infamous) as well as other noteworthy examples of fraud. Mr. Zeune offers theories about why people steal and how best to become more astute and less vulnerable by attuning our internal radars, not making assumptions, and being proactive with more oversight and other essential strategies to deter and stop theft in its tracks.

The Shulman Center Comes to You!
A reminder: The Shulman Center offers counseling services in the metro-Detroit area, by telephone and/or SKYPE. 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!

Sacred Odyssey/Intimacy with Money Life Coaching
It is with great excitement and confidence that I share about the "Intimacy with Money" program offered by my long-time friend Tom Lietaert, life coach and gestalt counselor, of Boulder, Colorado. Tom works with clients in person and by phone. To learn more or to register, please go to:

Compulsive Theft & Spending in The News! February/March 2011:
February 10--Mr. Shulman appeared on ABC's "Entertainment Tonight" to discuss Lindsay Lohan's felony theft charge.

March--Mr. Shulman is being interviewed for an article in USA Today newspaper on compulsive shopping/spending.

March 4 and 6-- "The Truth About Shoplifting"--which aired on Canadian Broadcast Corporation TV in 2009. It will be shown on U.S. cable CNBC Friday March 4th at 9pm EST and again on Sunday March 6th at 8pm EST. Mr. Shulman was featured in this provocative documentary.

March 17--Mr. Shulman will be interviewed by MSNBC's "Your Business" program on employee theft and on The Shulman Center.

April 2011 and beyond...

April 7--Mr. Shulman will present on hoarding disorder at The National Association of Social Workers--Michigan Chapter Annual Conference in Dearborn, Michigan.

April 16--Mr. Shulman will be co-organizing and speaking on cross-addiction at a half-day conference on addiction/recovery in Ferndale, Michigan 8:30am -12:30pm. Contact him for further info.

June 2-5--Mr. Shulman will be presenting on compulsive theft and spending at the 2nd Annual West Coast Symposium on Addictive Disorders in Palm Springs, California. See

October 1--Mr. Shulman will be presenting an all-day seminar on compulsive theft & spending & hoarding in the metro-Detroit area.

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. CEs are available. He's working on a therapist certification program in compulsive theft/spending for the APA. 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" (2003).

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

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

Products for Purchase--ON SALE through 2011!

Mr. Shulman's three books "Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction & Recovery"
"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).

Click here to purchase

E-mail Mr. Shulman:


Call  (248) 358-8508