RADIO INTERVIEW on SHOPPING ADDICTION
like to give a shout-out to my friend and colleague, Dr. April
Benson of NYC, who was interviewed on shopping addiction last month
on NPR's "The Diane Rehm Show." See link to listen:
NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS: DO
of Americans will attempt to turn over a new leaf on January 1st (or
thereabouts), pledging to lose weight, spend less money, and quit
smoking--according to Oliver Burkeman in a recent Newsweek article.
But despite what the self-help industry might tell you,
"radical, across-the-board: changes like New Year's resolutions
rarely work in practice. Willpower, studies have shown, is a
"depletable resource." If you make an overnight change
requiring enormous self-discipline, you can quickly use up your stores
of willpower, and all your best intentions will fall by the wayside.
"tiny goals, even absurdly tiny one, can be an effective way to
sneak under the radar of your mind," says Burkeman. Exercising
for five minutes instead of an hour might sound laughable, but
you're "much less likely to resist it"--and the next day,
you can exercise for six minutes. Want a better job? Commit to
just two hours a week of networking and investigating
Year's resolutions are based on the fallacy that if only you can
find sufficient motivation, you can achieve anything. In reality,
motivation is fleeting, and the "biggest barrier to actually
getting things done," says Burkeman. Want real change? Take
effective strategy might be just to make a list of your intentions
for the new year or a list of things to focus on and place that list
where you can see it daily. Don't dwell on specific actions or on
deadlines or even a chance of "failing." The idea is to
keep the goal in your consciousness on a regular basis and trust
that it will take root. For instance, a sample list may look like
Improve my health
Improve my finances
Improve my relationships
Make time for more rest and more fun
Complete my novel
CENTER LOOKS AHEAD AT 2013
of resolutions and goals, as The Shulman Center begins its 10th year
in business, we look forward to continuing to serve others through
education, counseling, coaching, and consulting.
our preliminary projects for 2013 include:
To develop and release 4 30-minute psycho-educational DVDs
shoplifting, employee theft, shopping/spending, and hoarding).
To help launch more C.A.S.A. (Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters
Anonymous) support groups.
fine-tune our 3-day and 3-month intensive, specialized therapy
programs to incorporate what we've learned in the last year.
To expand our visibility and expertise in the area of hoarding
disorder assessment and treatment.
by year's end, come up with a concept for a new book to be completed
by the end of 2014.
6. To, by
year's end, come up with a location for our 4th International
Conference on Compulsive Theft, Spending & Hoarding to be held
in late 2014.
compile more data on the effectiveness of our counseling programs.
expand into the field of corporate and loss prevention consulting.
present at and/or attend various new conferences in new places.
develop a hoarding therapy group locally and/or online.
Criminal Background Checks: Good in Theory,
Problems in Practice by Richard C.
of this article from January 2013 LP Magazine are shared with
permission of LP Magazine and the author, friend and colleague
Richard Hollinger, a professor in the Department of Sociology
and Criminology & Law at the University of Florida, Gainesville,
and director of the Security Research Project, which annually
conducts the National Retail Security Survey
One of the
longest held axioms in social science is, "The best predictor
of future behavior is past behavior." Over the years many
employers have increasingly relied upon criminal background
checks as the principle strategy used to screen out potentially
risky hires from the workforce.
problem is, as expressed by another axiom of behavioral science,
namely, "People often make bad decisions early in life."
These bad decisions, which they later regret, usually are not
permanent. People can recover, rehabilitate themselves, and turn
their lives around.
hiring decisions, we find ourselves at the horns of a dilemma. Most
people who are convicted of a crime, especially property offenses,
will never offend again and not become a threat to society. The
problem is that we do not have very good tools to predict who will
be successfully rehabilitated and who will offend again. As such,
most employers, on the advice of legal counsel and risk management,
choose to err on the conservative side of this question. This means,
if a person has been convicted in their past, we generally exclude
these individuals as candidates for employment forever. The net
effect of this policy is gross discrimination. This is especially
true for those who have used drugs, stolen anything, and who are
male minorities, particularly true for African American males.
evidence of hiring discrimination was allowed to pile up to levels
that no longer could be ignored or tolerated, the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) finally took action in April of this
past year. The EEOC issued enforcement guidance that is expected to
yield significant practical and legal impact. The commission stated
that "people cannot be denied employment solely on the basis of
criminal histories." However, they stopped short of totally
banning the use of criminal background checks in the hiring process.
ruling in April, I have asked many in the loss prevention community
what their companies were going to do in the future. A few have told
me that they were going to continue to screen out former criminal
offenders, knowingly taking the risk that potential discrimination
lawsuits would result. However, the majority of firms have
reexamined their entire hiring process, asking this critical
question-"Is it necessary to exclude everyone who has a
criminal history from potential employment?"
you already know my position on this issue. You might even remember
when I argued before a large convention audience of LP executives
that dishonest employees could be successfully rehabilitated and
might actually be good candidates for hiring. My logic is based upon
the fact that most offenders do not reoffend.
position is further supported by the fact that those who have
been caught and punished would probably be the easiest to deter,
given the fact that they knew that their behavior would be more
carefully watched than any other employees. In this presentation,
I was mildly booed and fully expected tomatoes to fly in my
direction at any moment. In hindsight, however, I still think that I
am right. However, since my job was not in jeopardy, I fully
recognized and appreciated the significance of my radical
recommendation to this particular audience.
we are some ten years later and find that the EEOC is supporting my
controversial position. Employers are expected to take the risk and
hire ex-offenders, unless their prior offense is directly related to
the performance of their future job. Of course, we do not have to
put persons with previous embezzlement convictions in the cash
office, nor drivers with a DUI behind the wheel of a delivery truck.
However, when future job responsibilities are not related to their
former offense, people should be given a chance to get a job, prove
their honesty, and turn their lives around.
the "scarlet letter" of ex-offender is a difficult label
to erase. However, it can be done. Pilots with alcohol problems are
now permitted back in the cockpit in many airlines. Recovered
pharmacists with former drug dependencies are now dispensing
medicines in many drug stores. The list goes on. A review of today's
Washington infidelity scandals clearly indicates that even the most
prestigious people can make mistakes. However, most recognize their
mistakes, make amends, and go on to live productive lives when
employed in occupations that recognize the fact that rehabilitation
can and usually does work.
COULD YOU BE
QUIET and STILL FOR 10 DAYS?
recently returned from a 10-day silent meditation retreat that was
held locally from December 20 - 30 by the Michigan Vipassana
Association. I had previously attended this 10-day retreat four
years ago in Northern Illinois.
went away in part as a reward to myself but also out of necessity.
After another long and busy year, I could feel myself "ready to
pop!" I was feeling stressed, burnt-out, and was forgetting
things and making silly little mistakes. I also felt I needed to get
away to a structured program and setting which forced me to withdraw
from technology and news (no phones, TV, internet), and which helped
me regain a meditation practice.
a recovering "workaholic' and do-aholic, I have often struggled
to slow down and restore balance to my life even as I
"preach" this constantly to my clients. I've meditated for
short spans of time since 1994 but keeping a regular practice lately
has eluded me. I remember when I came back from my first Vipassana
retreat in late 2008. I kept a regular twice-a-day meditation
routine for all of two weeks until I was served with a lawsuit which
seemed to knock me off my practice when I could have used it
away to the retreat this time was a bit different: I knew I could
survive it--having completed it before--and it was merely 15 minutes
from my home at a lovely Catholic monastery. But, in some ways, it
was more difficult this time. Because I was so close to home and it
was in the midst of the holidays, I had to battle my frequent
thoughts about leaving and my feelings of being bored and
silent wasn't the hard part, but after going through a few days of
technology withdrawal, I had to come to terms with my habituated
thought patterns of cravings and aversions. Vipassana is a form of
meditation in which we follow our breath and also maintain awareness
of various body sensations while doing our best not to react to
them--not to move, scratch, or fidget. Its a training of the mind
that is intended to help us be less reactive in our real lives by
hopefully having fewer cravings and attachments and fewer aversions
or upsets when things aren't going our ways.
time will tell if I'll maintain my practice this time--I admit, I'm
a little nervous about another big event throwing me off my square--and
whether I can achieve some deeper level of balance and peace. I'm
not expecting my Type A personality to morph into a Type B. But,
maybe, I can get it down from a AAA to just an A!
more info on Vipassana meditation, see: www.vipassana.org