Where do I turn? Who could possibly understand? Why am I
treated just as a criminal, not as an addict? Why do people
addicted to illegal drugs get drug “treatment”
as part of their sentence but people who are addicted to shoplifting
merely get “punished”? Who can possibly help me?
These questions resonate in every habitual shoplifter’s
mind. They feel angry and persecuted by the system as well
as ashamed and isolated by their own behavior.
“I wish I were an alcoholic instead of a shoplifter.”
Sounds like an outrageous statement but for a person struggling
with a shoplifting “addiction” it makes perfect
sense. “If I were an alcoholic, people would understand
my problem and know how to help me and there would be places
I could turn for help”. The irony is subtle but very
real for people who are caught up in a shoplifting addiction.
The lack of understanding about shoplifting as anything more
than a petty crime is an impediment to prevention as well
as recovery for many. Moreover, even the people who have sought
psychotherapy tell us they are just too ashamed to tell even
a therapist of this behavior. They are truly marginalized.
They feel truly isolated.
Call to Action for the Mental Health Community:
- Sponsor and participate in research in order to understand
more about shoplifting to ultimately provide better service
to the people that are suffering.
- Pursue professional education specific to shoplifting
and the root causes of this self-destructive behavior, which
for habitual shoplifters masquerades as self-nourishing.
- Complete certification and enroll in the NASP registry
of psychotherapists committed to helping those struggling
with this specific behavior.
To preview NASP’s self-help and support services available
to patients dealing with a shoplifting problem visit the National
Self-Help & Support Center.
To learn about the National
Shoplifting Prevention Coalition, become a member or learn
about NASP’s registry of psychotherapists, click
here or click here to email us.
Please write Psychotherapist in the subject
line of your email.
For information, research and statistics about the shoplifting
problem visit the National Learning and Resource
Back to Top