Mark your calendars!
Therapist Telephone Training on compulsive
theft and spending begins this February! Please
contact Terrence Shulman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-358-8508 for more information.
Be on the cutting edge of these newer and exciting fields
of treatment. Led by Mr. Shulman, learn how
to assess and
treat clients who suffer from compulsive theft and/or
Check out our newly updated blog
Can Kill You (or Others)!
The above article links chronicle events which occurred in
the metro-Detroit area in mid-January. In
one instance, a
security guard was dragged to death by a vehicle he attempted
to stop which was
driven by a couple of suspected "petty
shoplifters." In the second and unrelated instance, later that
same day, three men suspected of "petty
shoplifting" were eluding police on a freeway--endangering
others--and crashed their car: all 3 were killed.
The following is an opinion/editorial piece I quickly
composed and forwarded to several of our largest
newspapers. It was not published--nor did I receive any
follow-up responses of interest. I offer it
here as a
reminder to us all--whatever your thoughts or feelings on
these type of events--which are not isolated and seem to be
increasing in today's economy--that life is precious
and many tragedies are tragedies because
their consequences are so often
"And so we are here
again: multiple deaths related to shoplifting
incidents in our community—this
time, within a 24-hour
What a tragedy for all: the
security guard killed while trying to apprehend a Pontiac
couple, the three
men killed on the freeway trying to
elude police after their suspected petty theft, and the
and friends of those who knew the deceased.
And, of course, Detroit makes
the national (and world) news again.
Not since roughly 10 years
ago—in 2001—did the crime of shoplifting make the news in such
dramatic way. Of course, there was Winona Ryder's
(in)famous shoplifting arrest (and subsequent
conviction), But there were also four local deaths between
late 2000 and 2001--all suspected
shoplifters including a
man choked at Kroger's, a man suffocated at Rite Aid, and a
while hiding in a trash compactor outside
In 2001, we scratched our heads
over Winona—why would she do it, she's a millionaire? In the
Detroit area deaths—as attorney Geoffrey Fieger
represented the family's of the deceased—our local
national conversation seemed limited to whether the security
guards used excessive force or were
racist (all the guards
and victims were black) or whether, somehow, those who do the
control their fate (in other words, they may
have deserved it).
One thing positive may have
come from those deaths a decade ago: the state legislature
the process for a universal training for loss
prevention and store security personnel. From my
some other states followed suit.
Of course, these changes didn't
prevent the recent tragedies before us.
I asked the question then in a
Free Press op-ed (I don't believe it was ever answered) and I
again now? Why is there so much shoplifting and
what, really, can be done? Of course, complex
often entail complex answers.
Some theorized that maybe
the most recent shoplifters stole to sell items to feed their
Another theory is that the economy led others
to make desperate and rash decisions. There may be
truth to either theory but that's little comfort to anyone.
Statistics show that a sizeable portion
of the community
shoplifts and that, since the economic downturn 2 years ago
increased 5-10%. A recent study by Jack
Hayes, International estimates there are 300 million
shoplifting incidents in the U.S. each year.
One size doesn't fit all.
People shoplift for different reasons: there are professional
thieves who do it
for a living. There are drug/alcohol
addicts, gambling addicts, and even shopping addicts who steal
save money to get their fix or steal and sell to get
their fix or pay off debts. There are those who feel
have to steal due to lack of money. There are youth who steal
on a dare or to "keep up with
the (younger) Joneses." And
there are people who actually get addicted to shoplifting
the rush, the adrenaline.
In March 2010 I will be
celebrating 20 years of recovery myself from shoplifting
addiction. It took
two arrests—the last in 1990—before I
"hit my bottom." I felt so depressed I almost took my own life
over the shame of shoplifting. Fortunately, I entered
counseling to deal with my issues and later
support groups and became an addiction therapist specializing
in treating "theft
disorders"—including shoplifting and
In my many years working with
persons in our support groups as well as my private clients, I
known or heard of persons who killed themselves over
shoplifting, persons who lost their marriages,
their careers, their freedom, their dignity. It is never worth
it—but tell that to someone who
already doesn't value
Most shoplifters don't flee
when confronted or apprehended. Many begin crying, many
to get caught so their secret pain and
out-of-control behavior might end.
Unfortunately, many do panic.
And the results can be deadly. Yes, like alcohol, drugs, and
addictions, shoplifting can be dangerous to your
health...and the health of others.
So, if you have a shoplifting
problem--whatever the reason--or you're thinking about
some kind of solution--don't do it! Get
help now. And if you know or suspect a family member or friend
is shoplifting or thinking about shoplifting, talk to
the--quickly--before it's too late."
U.S. retail sales
actually dropped by 2% in December 2009 compared to December
2008 despite a
rebounding economy. Final figures for
the entire year 2009 are still pending. While certain
indicators have improved (such as the stock
market) and others have leveled off (such as
employment, inflation, and fuel prices) we all need to
be aware that an "aftershock" could be looming
and we need
to find a healthy balance between spending and saving--not
just now but
Launching of Bay Area Impulse Control
I'd like to give a shout out
to my friend and colleague Elizabeth Corsale, of the former
Recovery Program in San Francisco. She and her
colleague, Dr. Samantha Smithstein, are launching
Area Impulse Control Center this month. They will treat a
variety of disorders including
stealing, sex addiction,
and video game/Internet addiction.
Please visit their
website at: www.impulsecontrolcenter.com
Noted Money Harmony Therapist/Author Offering
Olivia Mellan, a
Washington, D.C.-based therapist and author who specializes in
working with money
issues and overshopping and overspending
is offering a series of teleconference seminars which
designed to help individuals and/or couples learn how to find
harmony around these issues. I
count Olivia as both a
colleague and a friend and consider her, along with Dr. April
Benson of New York
to be among the early pioneers on
visit Olivia and find out more about her work at: www.moneyharmony.com
Compulsive Theft & Spending in The
January 1--Mr. Shulman had
an article in the Jack Hayes, International Loss Prevention
quarterly newsletter. See http://www.hayesinternational.com/srvcs_prdcts.html
11--Mr. Shulman was interviewed on hoarding by Boston-based
Karen Kenney, a
professional organizer, on her
radio/Internet show. See http://www.theorganizingcheerleader.com
12--Mr. Shulman was featured in an article about shoplifting
in The Kansas City Star.
January 15--Mr. Shulman was
featured in an online article on compulsive shopping/spending
San Francisco-based XPress Magazine.
January 19--Mr. Shulman was interviewed on
an Internet radio station devoted to parenting
January 21--Mr. Shulman was interviewed
about compulsive shopping/spending in The Atlanta
Mr. Shulman is assisting the Baton Rouge,
Louisiana court system a court-ordered three
facilitated educational program for retail fraud
offenders. The program is based on material from
"Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery"
Mr. Shulman is to
be featured in an article on shoplifting addiction and youth
in the April 2010 edition
Mr. Shulman to be featured on self-publishing
and creating a counseling practice/business
Mr. Shulman submitted a chapter on employee
theft for a U.K. book entitled "Risky Business" to
be released in early 2010.
created an online continuing education course on compulsive
spending called "Bought Out and $pent!"
based on his book and Power Point presentation.
is offered through The American Psychotherapy Association
and is available for purchase
by APA members and
non-members and CEs are available.
Shulman created an online education course called "Creating an
Honest and Theft-Free
Workplace" based on his book
and Power Point presentation through 360 Training Services.
CEs are available. See www.360training.com
Mr. Shulman is assisting with a CNN TV news
story about compulsive shopping/spending in
Mr. Shulman will be featured in a
segment on shoplifting addiction in the MSNBC series "Theft
America" to air in late 2009/early
Mr. Shulman is consulting on the
development of a major motion picture tentatively called "The
in which the lead character is addicted to
shoplifting and stealing.
Mr. Shulman continues to assist the
Kingman, Arizona court system with his
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
Contact The Shulman Center
Franklin, Michigan 48025
Call (248) 358-8508 for free
Related sites by Terrence
Biting The Hand That Feeds
Bought Out and
Products for Purchase--ON SALE through
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
availabe for $25.00 each (includes
Second International Conference on
Compulsive Theft & Spending 2 DVD set (6 Hours). Recorded
Click here to purchase
E-mail Mr. Shulman:
Call (248) 358-8508