The Shulman Center

Terrence Shulman
Founder/Director of
The Shulman Center

Terry Shulman

September 2010 Monthly e-Newsletter
"A Movement Comes of Age"
By Terrence Daryl Shulman

Announcements! Happy Labor Day, Rosh Hashanah, Honoring Anniversaries of Katrina, 9/11

The Shulman Center e-Newsletter celebrates its 5-year Anniversary!

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

Check out short video on employee theft:

Check out our seven new short uploaded webvideos on shoplifting addiction, employee theft, and compulsive shopping/spending at:

Check out our new websites for therapy for hoarding and cluttering.
See and

Check out our newly updated blog at:

Happy 18th Anniversary to C.A.S.A. metro-Detroit! We started our first meeting in September 1992!

C.A.S.A. Turns 18: A Brief History from Infancy to Adolescence

For anyone who has ever attended a recovery support group or known someone who has, it's not unusual to hear or feel this sentiment: "I don't know where I'd be without this group." The feeling of being all alone and misunderstood is devastating; support groups often feel like a "godsend."

C.A.S.A. (Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous) in metro-Detroit celebrates its 18th year of existence on September 1, 2010. I started this group in September 1992. While it isn't the first support group for recovering "kleptomaniacs/shoplifters" it, likely, is the longest-surviving one in the nation. We now have four other active C.A.S.A. chapters in the metro-Detroit area. In addition, C.A.S.A. now has approximately 20 chapters throughout the U.S (including California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Washington). 

Please see our website at: for a complete listing of groups and also to find out about our online support group (which turned 10 this year and which has 200 members worldwide as well as our weekly phone support groups.

A movement is coming of age.

Over the last 18 years, I estimate we've seen over 2,000 people attend our five metro-Detroit C.A.S.A. chapters. And yet, to paraphrase a line from the film "Schindler's List" -- "we could do so much more." I'd estimate that over 75% of our local group attendees are directly court-ordered. My judgment is that most C.A.S.A. members are court-ordered because they don't know C.A.S.A. exists or, if they do know, they are reluctant to attend voluntarily either out of fear, shame or denial they really need help. Still, most metro-Detroit courts know about C.A.S.A.'s existence but, for some reason, only a handful routinely refer to our groups. With the economic downturn and a marked increase in shoplifting and stealing, you would think most courts would be looking for resources for theft offenders. Things take time. We need to be patient and, yet, continue to get the word out.

Just as the existence of A.A. and other-related addiction-recovery support groups have helped influence public awareness and opinion about the legitimacy of addictive behaviors, the flourishing of C.A.S.A. and related groups for shoplifters/kleptomaniacs does the same. Remember, it wasn't too long ago that nobody recognized sexual addiction or shopping addiction as serious disorders.

It also takes a rare kinds of persons to go out on a limb and start any support group and, especially, C.A.S.A. groupsI I understand the hesitancy and I applaud those who have done so. Please, if you or anyone you know wishes assistance in starting such groups, feel free to contact us. Thank you.

Excerpts from Mr. Shulman's book "Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery" (2003):

(I'd been arrested for shoplifting a 2nd time in March 1990...)

In April 1992, I got a call from a friend who wanted me to take a weekend seminar called The Forum. It was a spin-off of the est training which I had taken at age 15 while in high school. I thought to myself-- been there, done that--but my friend's excitement drew me in. I knew I was in a rut and needed some kind of jump start. The est training had challenged my beliefs and stories about my life and exposed what kept me stuck in the past. But I think I was too young to get it. I decided to attend a free introduction to The Forum. I knew there was more to life than what I was experiencing. I signed up.

The course helped get me out of my shell. I started to meet new people and it occurred to me that I was still on the pity pot, still feeling like a victim and still feeling that life was unfair. That old tape. It gave me some breathing space to look at my life. I took a few more seminars and became more energized, more hopeful. I'd stopped shoplifting by this point but knew I still had to keep an eye on it. I was taking my life to the next level.

In July and August, I took the fourth and final seminar in the main series, Self-expression and Leadership. It got me to look at where I am and can be a leader in my life, what my passion is, what I'm good at, and what motivates me. Each participant was asked to create a project in his community which expressed his deepest and most authentic concern, passion or contribution. I remember racking my brain, asking myself: what can I give to the community, I don't have any passion? And then it hit me: I thought, "right now, I'm passionate about my recovery and stopping shoplifting." Was this the opportunity to start the shoplifters recovery group I felt I still needed and which I was sure others could benefit from?

And so C.A.S.A. (Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous) was born.

I did the footwork and, in September 1992, started the group. I secured a meeting room at the church where I attended my S.O.S. meetings. A respected member of that group vouched for my character as I figured the church folks might be a little nervous about a recovering shoplifters group meeting in their building. To my surprise, they were very supportive.

Because I was a newly practicing attorney I sent notices to the courts but didn't put my name or phone number on the flyers. I was afraid of being associated with the group. I naively invited a newspaper reporter to our first meeting to help publicize our group but nobody showed up that first night. She interviewed me but wouldn't write a story about the group until there actually was a group. I begged her to write it so we could get the word out but she wouldn't.

I was ready to give up

For fourteen consecutive weeks I showed up on Wednesday nights. Nobody else did. I was ready to give up. I called a couple of the courts back to see why they weren't sending people to the group. One court clerk summed it up, saying Oh, yeah, we got your notice but we thought it was a hoax. A group for shoplifters? And there was no name or phone number on it. I hit my head and realized I had to go out on a limb a lot more or give up.

The court clerk gave me the number of a local therapist who'd given a recent presentation on shoplifting for the courts. His name was Steve Campbell. I called and went to visit him. He was a tall trim man in his late 40's with a shock of whitish hair and a busy grey mustache. I felt at ease with him immediately. He was impressed with my story and my attempt to start a group. I realized I still had so much to work on emotionally. He introduced me to men's group work which became a big part of my life. I met men who were working on father issues, recovery issues, grief issues, life issues. I moved out of my mother's and into a house in a trendy part of town with three buddies. Juniper, my ex-girlfriend, had moved back home out of state.

The day after Christmas, I managed to get an article about C.A.S.A. in the Detroit Free Press. They tied it into the holiday season and how there's a great increase in shoplifting and shoplifting arrests at that time of year. People began trickling into the group. Before long we had a core group of about five or six people. Finally, I met people who had the same problem I had. It was the first time in my life that I felt good about helping others. And I was getting the help I needed.

Starting a Self-Help Group

I was fortunate by the time I started C.A.S.A. in late 1992 to have already curtailed my shoplifting through counseling and attendance at S.O.S. for a year and a half. I witnessed the support group process and had become able to make a commitment and offer support to others. I had the added support of a two month personal growth seminar which supported my creating C.A.S.A. in my community.

I would have done some things differently but I urge you to be persistent. I showed up 14 consecutive Wednesday evenings before the first person came to our group. Getting media coverage was a big challenge. I secured the place and time of the meetings at the church where my other support group met. I suggest a public place like a church or an activities center. It may be a little awkward asking if a shoplifters group can meet there but you can show them this book or some other literature to prove that it is a legitimate disorder people need help for. That is more than I had to go on.

I mailed out about 50 flyers to the local courts, a few big churches and a few counseling agencies. I did not want my name or phone number on the flyers because I was very concerned and still somewhat ashamed about this. I suggest that you be willing to take a risk to use your phone number, at least, as a contact.

I had a reporter show up at the very first scheduled meeting. I tried to convince the reporter that there were many people who needed help out there but I needed her to help me get the word out. That story never got printed but a few months later I got a hold of another reporter who decided to write an article about our group, me in particular, and how shoplifting increases during the holiday season. This is always an attractive tie-in subject for the media.

Here are some ideas I've used to help start, maintain C.A.S.A.:

1.   Establish a meeting place and time (list phone number, too)

2.   Create flyers and mail, post and fax about town especially to courts, churches, counseling offices, newspapers, criminal defense attorneys, bookstores, coffee shops

3.   Contact the media (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines)

4.   Create a website

5.   Post flyers at other support group meetings

6.   List your group information with your state self-help clearinghouse--usually located in your state's capital

7.   Write an article (even anonymously) for a paper

8.   Notify stores who may pass on the word

9.   Ask for ideas or help from friends/family

10. List in your local newspaper's health calendar

List some of your ideas:

Recent Celebrity Shoplifters?

Caroline Guiliani, Former NYC Mayor Rudy Guilian's daughter
Former Miss USA Shannon Marketic
Former Seton Hall Basketball Coach Bobby Gonzalez
Former Connecticut TV News Reporter Desiree Fontaine

Employee Theft Toll Reaches nearly $1 Trillion Per Year

While office theft by employees has been a problem since the invention of the office, it seems during times of economic uncertainty office theft rises substantially. Just how bad is it? How about 994 billion dollars being attributed to employees stealing? The infographic below clearly shows that employee theft is on the rise; and more startling is the fact that no one is immune to the lure of free pencils or getting a five-finger-discount when it comes to electronics and other office equipment. All levels of education are guilty and those with bachelor's degrees are the biggest offenders when it comes office theft.

See rest of article:

Maybe We're Learning? Average U.S. Credit Card Debt Decreasing

The average national credit card borrower debt slid downward for the fifth consecutive quarter by 4.1% to $4,951, marking the first time the average has been below $5,000 since 2002, according to a report released today by TransUnion.

This, coupled with the fact the national credit card delinquency rate for borrowers 90-plus days delinquent plummeted to 0.92% in Q210 (down 17.1% from the first quarter and 21.3% from last year) suggests that borrowers are saving more and spending more responsibly.

"It appears that consumers have come to realize that material improvement in unemployment is unlikely in the short-term, and now is the time to balance saving versus spending," said Ezra Becker, director of consulting and strategy at the credit and information management and research firm. "It remains to be seen whether this dynamic will be short term or a new paradigm for consumer behavior."

See rest of this article at:

The Shulman Center Comes to You!

A reminder: The Shulman Center offers counseling services here in the metro-Detroit area, by telephone and/or SKYPE, or--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

Free Intimacy with Money Telephone Seminars

It is with great excitement and confidence that I share about the free "Intimacy with Money" telephone seminars conducted by my long-time friend Tom Lietaert and my more recent friend Andrew Hogan who currently work out of Boulder/Denver, Colorado.

To learn more and to register, please go to:

New Website of Interest: run by Lora Sasiela. Check it out!

Books of the month: 

"Passionate Marriage" by David Schnarch, PhD (1997/2009) For anyone interested in the topic of couples or intimate relationships, this is a must-read book!

I'd also highly recommend "The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists" by Eleanor Payson, MSW (2002) for a good read on narcissistic personality disorder and how, to some extent, we all possess some narcissistic traits--especially those of us who think we don't because we're always focusing on others.

Compulsive Theft & Spending in The News! August/September 2010:.

August 7--Mr. Shulman was featured in an article on employee theft in The Connecticut American-Republican.

August 26--Mr. Shulman presented a seminar on employee theft deterrence and prevention for the metro-Detroit Agency on The Aging.

September 8-11--Mr. Shulman will be a guest presenter on compulsive shopping and spending at The National Conference on Addiction Disorders near Washington, D.C.

September: Mr. Shulman authored a chapter on employee theft for a U.K. book entitled "Risky Business" which will be released.

Mr. Shulman will be featured in Real Simple magazine about compulsive shopping/spending.

Mr. Shulman will be featured in articles in The Toronto Star newspaper and in Canada's Chatelaine magazine on shoplifting addiction.

Mr. Shulman's online education course called "Creating an Honest and Theft-Free Workplace" based on his book and Power Point presentation through 360 Training Services will be available. CEs are available. See

Beyond September...

October--Mr. Shulman will be featured in a Milwaukee Magazine article on employee theft and shopping addiction

October 29--Mr. Shulman will be a featured presenter on compulsive shopping/spending and hoarding at a metro-Detroit all-day addiction conference for mental health professionals.

December 1-4--Mr. Shulman will be presenting on employee theft detection and prevention at The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

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 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 is consulting on a major motion picture tentatively called "The Rush" in which the lead character is addicted to shoplifting and stealing.

Mr. Shulman continues to assist the Kingman, Arizona court system with his 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 is writing a novel about two kleptomaniacs who fall in love with each other.

Contact The Shulman Center

Terrence Shulman
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 2009!

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

Click here to purchase

E-mail Mr. Shulman:


Call  (248) 358-8508