Psychologist Dr. Will Cupchik, a member of the American Psychological
Association for over three decades, has been the major clinical
investigator in the area of shoplifting and other kinds of thefts
that have been
carried out by usually honest, ethical adults. He
has personally assessed and treated over 700
individuals during the past 39 years, helping them to stop their
self-destructive theft behavior and get on with leading happier, more
constructive and more productive lives.
Dec 21, 2012x]
An Introductory Message from Dr Cupchik
Welcome to the WhyHonestPeopleSteal.com website. I am certain
that on these webpages you will find a great deal of important information to assist
you in understanding and dealing with the serious and frequently
misunderstood problem of the seemingly bizarre and/or even
apparently nonsensical stealing
that has been carried out by an individual who is basically a genuinely honest, ethical, intelligent,
and probably sufficiently financially well off
and/or professionally successful
person - someone who truly has no monetary need to steal the
items or monies that were taken, and yet that person has great
difficulty stopping to steal.
Usually such individuals (or their lawyers) contact me after they have -once
again- committed yet another act of seemingly nonsensical stealing, and
perhaps have been caught and charged. These persons may have tried to seek
help before but they realize that whatever help they have received has not
been sufficient in terms of assisting them to stop their stealing. If
you are one of these persons and you are genuinely interested in stopping
the stealing behavior that is causing you so much distress, and if you are
willing to do the personal work involved in uncovering the reasons behind
your stealing, then
the Intensive Intervention Program that I personally conduct may be of help.
I began my clinical investigations in the area of atypical theft behavior in
1974, while I
was on the psychology staff of the forensic service of the
University of Toronto-affiliated Clarke Institute of Psychiatry from 1974-1986,
and where, for the last two
years of my employment at the Clarke, I held the position of
Forensic Outpatient Psychological Services.
Over the past 38 years, I have uncovered the many of the underlying reasons for such stealing
and have developed several unique assessment and therapeutic tools to help
these persons stop their self-destructive behavior.
you relate to at least some of the following factors?
problem with intermittent or more frequent stealing, even
though you are keenly aware that you are risking your reputation, work
situation, license to practice your profession, and/or perhaps even a jail
term, and at least part of you wants to stop risking so much (usually for so
little in monetary terms). You may have been in counseling or for some time, but your theft behavior has nevertheless
(2) difficulties with self-assertion, including perhaps saying "no" to
some persons at work and/or in your personal life;
(3) ongoing problems in primary
relationships, perhaps with your partner or spouse, child or parent;
personal history of having experienced emotional, physical and/or
sexual abuse or other traumatic experiences in your
childhood and/or adulthood;
(5) familiarity with
depression and/or anger;
still unresolved issues in
regard to either one or both parents
and/or other authority figures;
problems with low self-esteem, no matter how seemingly personally,
socially, financially and/or professionally successful;
a pervasive fear of your family and/or
friends finding out;
emotional distress related to actual or anticipated personally
meaningful losses (of a person,
place, profession, or the health of either yourself or someone close to you;
(10) feelings of embarrassment and remorse regarding your theft behavior;
(11) an awareness that you hold a considerable amount of resentment or anger
towards one or more persons in your life.
list represents just some of the issues that have emerged from my clinical investigations of atypical theft behavior
and are familiar to
many usually honest persons who have repeatedly shoplifted
and/or committed other acts of theft.
If you would have have
answered "Yes" to some, or perhaps most, of the above eleven items, then the likelihood is that you will find this website,
my book, and my Skype-based Intensive Intervention Program to be very
our initial article, titled Shoplifting: An Occasional Crime Of The Moral Majority was
published in the major
American peer-reviewed professional journal, The Bulletin Of The
American Academy Of Psychiatry And The Law, twenty-nine
years ago, in
1983, I have continued to assess and treat these usually honest
clients who have seriously risked jeopardizing their personal, social and/or
working lives, by stealing - and who may have continued to do so even after
having been apprehended, and perhaps even after having already been dealt with by
the courts (possibly more than once), and have likely seen one or more of a variety
of previous therapists.
It is important to note that the vast majority of
reputable psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other therapists
(no matter how experienced or expert they may be in other areas) will readily acknowledge that they are
not very knowledgeable in
regard to assessing and treating atypical theft behavior. Indeed,
over the years, many excellent therapists have referred their clients to me in order to have me assist them in stopping their theft behavior
while the local therapists have continued to work with these individuals regarding other
issues. In fact, I have frequently consulted with 'local' therapists in regard
to assisting them to more successfully focus their work in areas that will
also help their clients stop stealing.
Many of the hundreds of clients I have assessed and treated have followed
such a path before finally contacting me for assistance, when they finally
realized that they were in need of highly experienced and specialized
expertise focused on this particular kind of behavior. However and most
unfortunately, before contacting me, some of
these persons have often
been misdiagnosed as suffering from 'kleptomania', and this usually
erroneous diagnosis has frequently interfered with them getting the effective help
In 1985, in
a chapter that my original co-investigator, psychiatrist
Dr. Don Atcheson and I contributed to the book, Clinical Criminology:
The Assessment and Treatment of Criminal Behavior, we labeled these
usually honest persons who steal (by shoplifting, or committing other
kinds of theft), 'Atypical Theft Offenders'
For many years I have worked with
clients who have come from all
over the USA (including California, Florida, Hawaii, Ohio, New
Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas) and across Canada to work with me.
I invite you to read the pages on this website thoroughly and contact me if
you think I might be of help.
Thankfully, since 2008 and the introduction of Skype,
free, easy to use, video communication tool available to
virtually all personal computer users via webcam, I have developed an
extremely effective, 20-session, Skype-based Intensive
so that now I work with
people from around the world via our respective webcam-enabled computers.
Thankfully, I have
found that the assessment and therapeutic work that we do when working via Skype,
is just as effective, and in some respects, even superior to that
which would be achieved if the client had actually traveled to physically be
present in my
office. Why? Because, by arranging
our clinical sessions over a much longer period of time than the
earlier 4-day, in-office program afforded, a client now has the opportunity to
complete practical homework assignments between sessions that allow for
beneficial changes in his or her life to take place and take hold.
And sessions are scheduled so as to minimize disruption
to the client's regular work and home day-to-day activities.
The combination of great effectiveness, minimal disruption to the
client's daily routine, and very considerable monetary savings, makes for a
highly convenient, and more importantly, highly effective therapeutic experience.
the September 23, 2011 edition of the New York Times may have read
the article by journalist Jan Hoffman titled,
Therapist Is Only a Click Away", in which she described the
increasing use of online video tools such as 'Skype' that allow
patients and their clinicians to carry on assessment and treatment
without the need for them to be in the same physical locale (such as
the therapist's office). The article also pointed out that "several
studies have concluded that patient satisfaction with face-to-face
interaction and online therapy... was statistically similar." Having
used Skype with clients for more than four years to this point, I
entirely satisfied myself that this is indeed the case.
about Informational Interviews for Family Members (FMs)
of a possible Atypical Theft Offender
I have often
received emails from family members of a possible Atypical Theft
Offender in which they inquired, “Do you conduct any sessions
or seminars for other family members? It has been very difficult
dealing with this issue and it affects the entire family.”
Yes, I do. Usually, the sessions ‘with other family members (FMs)’
are carried out as part of the already in-progress 20-session
Intensive Intervention Program, in part to provide me with
valuable information about my primary client as well as to deal
with the relationships involved.
However, on occasion, I do offer sessions with the Family
Members (FMs) prior to any formal commitment on
the part of the client to taking the full 20-session Program.
Sessions with FMs
are 50 minutes long and the fees for such (when not part of the
already established 20-session Program) are $220/session. I have
had FM sessions with up to three persons at a time when all in
the same place, via Skype. As you will understand, a part of our
time would be taken up with me learning about my possible
client, his or her family relationships (especially his/her
marriage) and the theft behavior.
shown that we usually require at least a 2-session long meeting
(i.e., 100 minutes long) in order to afford us time to discuss
the issues that most concern the OFMs, once the initial info
about the client has been gathered and discussed.
You will also
understand that I could only speak in general terms about the
possible Atypical Theft Offender; since I will not have met the
possible ATO I could not possibly make any definitive statements
about that individual. Also, of course, if I had met the
possible Atypical Theft Offender, I would not discuss anything
directly pertaining to that person and our sessions
without his/her explicit written permission (and preferably,
his/her presence as well).
the above, I know that some FMs have often gained a good deal
from these discussions and I have also learned important
information about my prospective client from those that
–presumably- know the individual best.
If you and/or
other members of your family are interested in having such a
Skype-based meeting, just let me know and kindly forward to me a
bank draft or certified check for $440 US drawn from a major US
bank, payable to myself for the double-session, and sent to
Will Cupchik, 2528 Bayview Avenue, P.O. Box 35532, Toronto,
Ontario, Canada M2L 2Y4.
Do email me to let me know when the check or bank draft has been
sent and as soon as I receive it I will let you know and we can
find a mutually agreeable time for the double-session to take
Dr Will Cupchik
Brief Screening Interview
To arrange for a Free Brief
Screening Interview to help determine whether taking the full, 20-session Skype-based
Intervention Program would be suitable for you, by all means:
(i) thoroughly read this and the other webpages on this website to gain some
preliminary information about my findings and professional
background in this area;
Email me (Dr.
firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about our working together.
DO PROVIDE SOME
INITIAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOURSELF (Age, gender, marital
status, kind of work or profession you are involved in, whether you are
currently facing charges, etc...). Keep in mind that the more
information you provide about yourself, your theft behavior, your personal
and working situation, your educational background, etc..., the better able
I will be to assess whether having the Free Brief Screening Interview may be
worthwhile. By all means, note that I am the only person
who has access to this email address; all your answers will be held in
(iii) After receiving and reviewing
your email, I will
respond promptly to you. If, from my review of the
information you will have provided,
likely that our working together might well be worthwhile to you, we can arrange
a time for the Free Brief Screening Interview to take place via video Skype. If
the information you have provided is insufficient but promising, I may ask for more information from you at
that time in order to better assess the likelihood that doing the Screening
Interview and taking the Program
would be of benefit to you.
The Free Screening Interview usually takes about 20-30 minutes
and affords both
of us an opportunity to gain an initial familiarity with one another, and
will help you and I decide whether taking the full 20-session Skype-enabled Intervention
Program that I
personally conduct, might be helpful to you.
Again, do keep in mind that this offer is extended
to those persons who are in a position to, and are
seriously considering working with me via the Skype-enabled Intervention
Program. And note that the initial Screening Interview is totally
Please: Kindly put my initials
(WC) in brackets in the 'subject line' of your email when
contacting me. My email address is
Also, please do read
all of this webpage before requesting the Free Brief Screening Interview.
from previous Program participants:
has been over five years since I took the Intensive Intervention Program. I would like you to know that I have not shoplifted since, and I am
feeling better about myself than I ever have before. I am doing
really well in my working and personal aspects of my life, and have
already achieved most all of the positive goals I had set for myself
during this period. You helped me to realize why I might have been
shoplifting, and helped point out stressful situations might tempt me to
engage in the behavior again. This watchfulness has helped me avoid such
situations, or when they were unavoidable, to handle them differently . I
also realize that in order to continue to not steal, I will need to deal with
the issues that will emerge in my life by facing them directly,
using the tools I gained during our work together. As a result, while
there have been stressful situations that I have had to deal with since
our working together, I have not even been tempted to steal."
which I did with two other members of my family present at various times, has enabled us
all to reveal truths that we had not talked about in
led/allowed/made me examine those dark moments in my life in
a more fully connected way ... and to appreciate the roles of the
major losses that I had experienced in childhood in my theft behavior...
and to more openly share ...my reality with my mother and sister
who... also took part in the Intensive.
Incidentally, calling your
an "Intensive" is very apt.
The experience has already
led to an incredible improvement in our family dynamics."
"Dr. Will: Having taken your Intensive program to deal with my compulsive
stealing and spending, accompanied by my wife and two year old daughter, I
wanted to give you an update on my progress. I have not been
involved in any compulsive stealing or spending since the Intensive. I have
found other, much more productive ways of dealing with my feelings about
myself and the situations I have been facing. I have also been
dealing with my problems with intimacy much better, and have increasingly
made my family my priority. I have also defined and redirected my career
in a much more focused way. The Intensive was very helpful in coming
to terms with my compulsive shopping, and underlying issues, and the
exercises you offered have really helped. My wife and and I both felt we
gained a lot of insight in many ways from the time and effort. Thank
is not one specific formula for what Dr. Cupchik does that fits all.
a very intensive
program. But I can not say he will do this and then this and then that.
Many of his techniques are described in his book and on his website.
Which ones he uses with individual patients I assume would vary...
I found him to
be exceptional at his therapeutic approach, and the experience was very
beneficial to me and my family. Perhaps the most life altering effect for
me was validation and acceptance at a very fundamental level., something
that is difficult to find if it was not instilled in you early in life. For those who ...are quite comfortable with --and fully desire and
intend to-- continue to steal, then his program is definitely not the one for you."
"Thank you for your wonderful program.
work begins. Our adult son has told me that he has begun to "unload" his
apartment of stolen items. My husband will be down to Texas within the month for
overseeing if necessary. My son told me that his psychiatrist read your
report and that you had absolutely
nailed him! Our son's phone conversations seem more adult already and
my husband and I are incorporating your directives as much as possible. We
suffer no illusions that life will be easy for our son but know that he
must do the work to be held accountable regardless of diagnoses. We would
absolutely recommend your program and will speak about it with our son's
former psychiatrist in New York City."
"Dr. Cupchik, I want to thank you so much for your help and for
your report that you prepared for court. The judge took the time to read
your report completely, and then said that because of your explanations
of the reasons for my behavior and your description of the issues I have
been dealing with in my life, he was going to be lenient in my case
- this time. He warned me, however, that I do need to continue
with my treatment and I very much want to do so. I should have a good
life ahead of me and don't want to do anything else to jeopardize my
"Every day I am
thankful for being one step closer to being completely out of the hole.
I have been working so hard on examining myself when I am out in public,
observing my body’s alarms. But I have to tell you that my brain is
working differently… . This may sound crazy, but the lighting in stores is more pleasant, the
other people who are walking through the shop eating their ice cream
seem to have happier looking faces, the floors seem to more polished.
Almost as if my body uncontrollably would enter a store and I would take
something, I now am thinking of the action. Last Friday I needed to drop something off at a
hotel where our big
school fundraiser was being held that night. There are a few shops, but
one in particular that I wanted " to pop into". Walking down
the big open entrance I actually swayed back and forth, left towards the
elevator which would lead me to the stores, and then right towards the
valet to get in my car and get the heck out of there...
guess I did not want put myself back in that awful dark place, because
often in the past, when I would take things, even the most beautiful of
flowers would look dry and wilty. Instead, this time, I went to my car
and felt pretty good and in control, and strong.
I thank you, Dr. Will.."
"Hi, Will. Just wanting to catch
you up on my activities since I last saw you a few years ago. I am still
working part-time after having retired from my teaching position a
decade ago. I find that I have no desire whatsoever to steal and am
continually amazed at that fact, and that I had stolen so many times
over so many years before I finally came to see you. My husband is very
relieved and grateful for your help, as well. And he told me to
specifically tell you that I am one of your great success stories.
March 13, 2012]
Feedback from Intensive participants'
thank you for your valuable assistance and for the fine program that you
have developed to assist such people as (my client). I know from my
personal experience that the other types of counseling and assessment
were of little value to her, but I have seen a marked improvement in her
physical and mental condition since she has been in your therapy
"Your Psychological Report was most helpful to me in my discussions with
(the District Attorney). As you are no doubt aware, the charge against
my client has been withdrawn.... I know that in speaking with her that
she has been much helped by the therapy that she has taken with you. ...
May I personally thank you for your assistance to me and help
would like to thank you for the excellent Report
that you prepared on behalf of (my client). It had a major impact upon
the (district attorney) and the presiding Judge and assisted everyone in
making a determination of what to do with my client. The judge
recognized that this was a (psychological problem) more than a legal
for assisting me with Ms. D's case... Without your report, she
almost certainly would have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment....
For over three decades,
the media has shown great interest in my clinical work and I
have been extensively interviewed by the media in the U.S., Europe and Canada.
Below is a partial listing.
Radio and Internet media:
ABC's Good Morning America MSNBC
CBS's Early Show Discovery Channel FOX NETWORK
Bloomberg Radio News National Public
Radio CBC News
CTV Global Network ABCnews.com
BBC radio BBCnews.com
Newspapers: The NEW YORK TIMES
Denver Post L.A. Times
San Francisco Chronicle Chicago Sun-Tribune
Cleveland Plain Dealer Globe and Mail
Magazines: PEOPLE... SELF... HEALTH...
THE FORENSIC EXAMINER
Read my books
to learn more...
BOTH PAPERBACK, AND AS AN EBOOK FOR
In my book, WHY
HONEST PEOPLE SHOPLIFT OR COMMIT OTHER ACTS OF THEFT: The Assessment And
Treatment Of 'Atypical Theft Offenders', Revised Edition (2002), I
describe my clinical findings and the approaches that I have
developed and employed as appropriate during Intervention Programs. Some
31 sample composite cases are described in the book, providing
the reader with a wide variety of examples of atypical theft behavior.
book is available from ONLINE bokstores in both paperback and ebook
versions, provides an excellent and thorough introduction to this subject.
Many readers have reported that they provided copies to their lawyers, who
in turn gave copies to the opposing lawyers and the judges involved in their
cases so that they could better understand the reasons behind - and the best
ways to treat this aberrant behavior.
In order to make this book more easily available the prices of both the
paperback and ebooks editions have been reduced. The regular price of the
paperback is now $19.95 or less. The ebook's new selling price is $3.99.
Both are available from Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
My latest book on this subject (expected to be available early in 2013)
is titled, WHY USUALLY HONEST PEOPLE STEAL. Published some eleven
years after the revised edition of my earlier book, this new book offers the
most recent findings of my clinical work in this area, and includes
information derived from my most recent - and extensive - clinical study to
date. It also discusses the prevalence of long standing anger among Atypical
Theft Offenders as well as the reasons why the use of antidepressants by
these individuals may actually help trigger new theft behaviors.
These two books can be considered to be, in effect, Volumes 1 & 2 of my
book-length writings in this area.
From a BOOK REVIEW of
the original edition of my first book, published in the 'Criminal
Lawyers' Association Newsletter'
defense lawyers have been faced with the "typical" shoplifting case: a
client steals an item from the store because he or she is poor and
just didn't have the money. Most of these cases are sad.... (However)
the atypical cases, are those in which the client has enough money to
pay for the item or does not even need the item.... .
Dr. Will Cupchik offers a fascinating study of the atypical client - that is,
someone who displays bizarre, nonsensical behavior in committing theft
of fraud....His well-written text is divided into several major parts: i)
understanding why honest people steal; ii) assessing the atypical theft
offender; iii) treating the atypical theft offender; iv) issues for loss
prevention, employee assistance plan and human resources personnel, the
police and the judiciary. ... While the crimes themselves may
be minor, the underlying factors which lead to these crimes are
extremely important both in identifying and assisting the atypical
"It is tempting these
days to simply process such clients by way of diversion or a small fine.
Such an approach, however, does not necessarily assist the client to
prevent repetition of such an offence.... While defense counsel are
not social workers, we are still obligated to ensure that our client's
problems are properly identified and responded to by the courts. Dr. Cupchik's extremely useful text will help both us and hopefully the
judges meet that obligation."
WHY HONEST PEOPLE
SHOPLIFT OR COMMIT OTHER ACTS OF THEFT
available from the following online bookstores in hardcopy and in ebook
format for your
Kindle, Nook, iPhone, iPad, etc...:
from Barnes and Noble:
Aims Of The Skype-based Intervention Program
Intervention Program is intended to assist participants to:
(1) uncover the
reasons behind their inappropriate theft behavior (which is very
frequently at odds with the more usual moral, ethical and responsible
ways in which they conduct their lives)
these 'Atypical Theft Offenders' to stop their career-sabotaging, relationship-stressing and
reputation-destroying behavior .
Intensive attendees receive, at no extra cost, a multi-page Draft
Note summarizing areas that were addressed during their Programs, as
well as a list of specific recommendations for further
treatment/therapeutic work (if deemed desirable) that the attendee may
wish to pursue with his or her own, local therapist (or with me
via Skype). In some instances, feedback from clients have indicated
that these Draft
Notes have been used by their lawyers and presented to the court with
Attendees may also request a subsequent formal Psychological Report to
assist the court in determining a more suitable disposition of their
Detailed Information about the 20-Session long Skype-based Intensive
I have now been
conducting the Skype-based version of my Intensive Intervention Program
for more than five years and have found that it is far more convenient
and efficient (and, naturally much less expensive) than the earlier
Programs that required clients to travel to Toronto and attend sessions
in my own office in several days.
Timing for the full 20-session Skype
Intensive Intervention Program:
Skype-enabled Intensive Intervention Program consists of twenty
50-minute-long clinical sessions carried out via webcam-enabled
computers or tablets. The initial timing of sessions is agreed upon at the outset,
subject to changes in order to comply with the client's and my own respective schedules.
I have been found that working for 1-2 sessions at a time, once per
week, allows the clinical work to progress in an optimally effective
fashion. Exceptional flexibility regarding timing allows some
participants to have their sessions held either during regular working
hours, in the evenings, or even on weekends. The full program usually
extends over a period of 2-1/2 months, a length of time that lends
itself to providing clients with enough time and opportunities to do the personal work required and
to make substantial changes in how they conduct themselves, especially
in regard to matters that may have triggered their theft behavior.
of The Partner or Spouse or other 'Significant Other' of the Client in the
I has found it to be extremely helpful (although not absolutely necessary)
to have the partner or spouse (or anther key individual in the client's
life) personally involved in at least parts of the Intensive Program.
Often I will have an interview
session with this 'other person' alone so as to get his or her input regarding the
client and the latter's behavior.
Sometimes, when it appears likely to be useful, and of course, only with
the client's agreement, the 'significant other' is invited to participate in one or more
sessions along with the client: decades of experience have clearly
demonstrated that having the 'significant other' involved
in the process and available to assist the client to dealing with issues
that may arise during the Intensive, can be very
helpful. Experience also shows that spouses are often relieved, and very much appreciate, being invited to participate in
at least some of the clinical
sessions, in order to better understand why their loved ones has carried out
such self-destructive behavior. They also usually want to help out in any ways that they can, especially since their
partner's theft behavior may be creating major difficulties in their
relationship and at home.
It is important to note that I do not reveal any information
divulged by either the client or the 'significant other' to the
other person without explicit permission having been granted.
The Usual Progress of the 20 Sessions:
Initially, it is vital that I acquire a very thorough
understanding of the client and his or her theft behavior. Consequently,
in the first few sessions, the focus is on the assessment
part of the process. Also, near the beginning of our work together, I provide both the client
(and the 'significant other', where
appropriate) with a considerable amount of information in the form of
focused mini-lessons, where both can gain important insights that
usually lead to them improving their
relationship, their understanding of the reasons behind the client's theft behavior,
the role that their relationship may have played in regard to the client's
acting out. As the Intensive Program progresses, more and more of the sessions' time is devoted to the therapeutic
aspects of the process. Clients are given 'homework' assignments during
the Program; these assignments provide the client with practical
exercises and experiences aimed at assisting the individual to cease any
further theft behavior.
In addition to very likely being
the most experienced clinician in the field of atypical theft behavior,
I have been a practicing psychotherapist for more than fifty years,
and my expertise is applied to the issues that are specific
to each person's situation. Over the years I have
conducted many kinds and formats of psychotherapy, including individual,
intergenerational (i.e., parent-child), and group therapy.
My doctoral dissertation focused upon interpersonal relationships and
involved the creation of unique assessment and therapeutic tools with
which to assess and improve them.
therapeutic approaches I employ in the course of an Intensive: I utilize
a variety of approaches that I have found will provide optimal
effectiveness for clients. Generally, I take the view that the broad goals of
the Intensive are (1) to gain an understanding of the reasons why the
individual has been stealing and then, (2) to apply those tools that may be
most effective in facilitating positive changes that improve the
client's mental and emotional well-being while (3) reducing the likelihood
that he or she will re-offend. I employ techniques derived from the
therapy schools of Gestalt Therapy, Transactional Analysis,
Redecision Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, Reintrojection Therapy (the latter
being my own unique
contribution to the field that has been published and referenced in professional
publications and applauded by other prominent clinicians), and Mental
Imagery, while grounding a good deal of the work within a framework that I explain thoroughly to the client.
[This information has provided for those persons who have some
familiarity with various kinds of psychotherapy; if you do not have much
or any familiarity with these terms or approaches, don't be concerned;
you will learn about them firsthand during the process of the Program.]
relationship itself is considered an important, and indeed, a vital
element in helping to move the client forward towards the agreed upon
goals. As a result, the client may gain increased self-awareness,
insight and can begin to move towards making positive changes in a
variety of areas of his or her life. To learn more about the therapy
approaches used, you are encouraged to read my
books. Therapy is considered a cooperative and collaborative process;
and the 'homework assignments' given at the end of the sessions offer the client
direction and the opportunities to change how he or she operates in the
world, in positive ways.
the conclusion of the 20-session Intensive: By the time the
Intensive ends, typically the client: (i) will have gained a great
deal of understanding of the reasons underlying his or her theft
behavior; (ii) will have made considerable strides in changing the
conditions that had led to the stealing, and (iii) may have stopped stealing altogether.
Staying in Touch:
Out of professional and personal interest, and in order to continue to
accumulate additional data for my ongoing research into the clinical
area of atypical theft behavior, I always welcome
communications from former clients via snail mail and/or email, regarding
their personal experiences and progress following their Intensives. The
'testimonials' provided near the top of this webpage were reprinted from
Cost of the 20-Session Skype-enabled
The current cost of the entire 20-session
long program (each session being 50
minutes in length) is currently $3800.--U.S.
Do note that the cost of the
Program is subject to change at any time up to the time that the
particular client's Program is firmly scheduled. [You may wish to note
that the full regular sessional fee as recommended by my professional
association is currently $220. However, participants of the Skype-enabled
Intervention Program benefit from a nearly 20% discount, as the
sessional rate for each of the 20 sessions of the program is only
THREE TYPES OF THEFT OFFENDERS
DRs CUPCHIK AND ATCHESON
Which Type of Theft Offender are
you (or the person you are concerned about)?
(A.T.O.) is an individual whose
acts of theft, which may involve shoplifting, fraud,
or employee theft, are aberrations of that person’s usual
ways of conducting him/herself as an ethical, law-abiding and
contributing member of society.
The A.T.O. may feel ‘out of control’ about having
violated his/her own moral code by stealing, and frequently
experiences serious confusion, deep shame and genuine remorse in
regard to the theft behavior.
Theft Offenders frequently have serious personal and interpersonal
issues that need to uncovered and dealt with, usually with the
assistance of directed clinical treatment.
Theft Offenders are often
labeled as suffering from ‘kleptomania’, a
that usually precludes their receiving suitable treatment. Without
effective treatment, these offenders may remain at risk to commit
additional offenses, at which time the
of kleptomania may be erroneously re-applied, again and again.
Suicidal potential is a genuine concern with some Atypical
(T.T.O.s), who undoubtedly constitute the majority of theft
offenders, are very comfortable with their theft behaviors, and may only
experience regret about having been caught, as opposed to feeling
shame or remorse about the act of theft itself. Unless such individuals are
genuinely ready and willing to work within and outside of the
clinical sessions, and to make the recommended changes, they make
exceedingly poor candidates for clinical intervention.
Most theft offenders who take my Interevention Program display both Atypical Theft Offender and
Typical Theft Offender elements, and are referred to as the
Type’ Theft Offender (A.T.O./T.T.O) . Many of these
individuals, are amenable to clinical intervention.
One of the
functions of the Free Brief Screening Interview is to ascertain which
of the above categories the theft offender belongs to, as this has
implications for the nature and prognosis of any clinical
intervention, as well as for the appropriate disposition of the case
within the legal system.
Please note that
the majority of clients who I work with,
are of the 'Mixed Type', that is, they display
features of both ATOs and TTOs.
experience have demonstrated that the key factors in predicting a high
likelihood of success in the Intervention Program are the individual's sincere
desire to stop stealing and willingness to be open and to
work hard throughout the program.
DETERMINING THE CATEGORY TO WHICH
THEFT OFFENDER YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT, MOST LIKELY BELONGS
following items in Tables A and B, are derived from the Cupchik Theft
Offender Spectrum (to be found, in full, in my book), and can assist in distinguishing Atypical or
Mixed-Type Theft Offenders from the more common Typical Theft Offenders.
more items the theft offender could respond to truthfully in the
in Table A, and in the
in Table B, the more likely it is that he or she may be a suitable
candidate for this Program.
the theft offender steal in such an obvious fashion as if to
purposefully get caught?
the theft offender under an unusual or extreme amount of stress at
the time of the offense?
the offender appear to be experiencing profound shame in regard to
having committed the act (as opposed to having such feelings
because he or she was caught)?
the theft offender anticipating (or actually) experiencing any
major personally meaningful losses just prior to the offense?
the theft offender experiencing marked resentment or anger towards
his or her ‘intimate other’ at about the time of the offense?
the monetary value of what was stolen very small compared to the
individual’s readily available financial resources?
cancer or any other major illness an issue either for the theft
offender or a ‘significant other’ at about the time of the
the theft offender experience any major or unusual losses while a
the theft offender feel ‘out of control’ in regard to stopping
the theft behavior?
FOR TABLE A
what was stolen desirable to the offender?
what was stolen needed by the offender?
greed a factor in the theft?
the theft planned before the incident?
the item used by the offender, his or her family and/or friends or
a weapon or threat used in the commission of the offense?
the theft offender previously been convicted of any other kinds of
crimes or illegal actions (DUI, etc..)?
the item later sold by the theft offender?
FOR TABLE B
The greater the number of ‘Yes’ responses from Table A and
responses from Table B, the greater the likelihood that the theft offender
is an Atypical or Mixed-Type of theft offender, and may therefore be a
suitable candidate for the Atypical Theft Offender Intervention Program.
Note: Most participants of the Intensive Intervention Program are
of the Mixed
(ATO & TTO)-type of theft offender.
course, the fewer the number of ‘Yes’ responses from Table A
responses from Table B, the greater the likelihood that the theft offender
is a Typical Theft Offender; generally these individuals are more complex
candidates for the Intervention Programs.
some primarily Typical
Theft Offenders reach a point in their lives that they, also, genuinely
to cease their theft behavior,
but have very great difficulty doing so. At that point they may be
suitable candidates for this program.
To read some articles
of interest by myself that offer some examples of the atypical theft behavior of
usually honest, ethical people, just
... have been a counselor and
psychotherapist for over fifty years.
... am a life member of the
American Psychological Association,
Canadian Psychological Association and
the Ontario Psychological Association. I
also hold Diplomate status with the
American College of Forensic Examiners
training in individual and group therapy at
many venues, including the Western
Institute For Group And Family Therapy
located in Watsonville, California,
beginning in 1972. WIGFT's co-directors, Dr.
Bob and Mary Goulding, taught their
Redecision [Transactional-Gestalt] Therapy
approach to attendees at their extended
workshops; I was also a guest lecturer at
some of their workshops, and I
have been referred to in their books.
... have conducted individual, couples,
and intergenerational (parent/adult child)
psychotherapy with literally thousands of clients
... am the originator
of numerous original assessment and
therapeutic tools, including
unique approach to uncovering and healing
long-term, often painful, remnants of
previous and/or ongoing relationships,
especially including parent-child
difficulties. This approach was reported
upon in 1984 in my article titled
Reintrojection Therapy: A Procedure For
Altering Parental Introjects, published in the
professional journal, Psychotherapy:
Therapy, Research, and Practice. My
work in this area was also specifically
cited in Dr. Christine Coutrious's important
book, Healing the Incest Wound.
... have worked with many clients on issues of
loss, depression, and anger,
as well as on mid-life, mid-career
issues, life and executive coaching,
and pre-retirement and retirement
... am the author
of the best-selling book (in its category, keyword:
shoplifting), titled WHY HONEST PEOPLE
SHOPLIFT OR COMMIT OTHER ACTS OF THEFT:
ASSESSMENT AND TREATMENT OF 'ATYPICAL THEFT
My working life has been very
extensive and varied:
first worked as a professional electrical
(1961-2) at Computing
Devices of Canada, designing navigational
guidance systems for military (including American) aircraft,
and then as a:
school science and mathematics teacher
guidance counselor and attendance
have been a psychotherapist for over fifty years, working with adolescents, adults,
couples and groups
worked first as a psychometrist, and later
psychologist on the forensic staff at the
Clarke Institute of Psychiatry (12 years
held the title, Psychologist-in-Charge, Forensic
Outpatient Psychological Services, at the
Clarke Institute of Psychiatry (1984-86)
I have been
working as a Psychologist in private practice since 1986
I was a
university lecturer teaching courses in psychotherapy in the
Graduate Studies dept of the
University of Toronto
developed of various original psychological
techniques and pen-and-paper tools in the
areas of relationships and
atypical theft behavior
the author of the novel,
The Avro Arrow
available from the Canadian Air And Space
NOTE: As of late December 2012 my original article on the subject of
atypical theft behavior titled Shoplifting: An Occasional Crime Of
The Moral Majority, published some thirty years earlier in the
prestigious, peer-reviewed professional journal, The Bulletin of the
American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, was still available to
read, for free, on the AAPL website; to go there now simply click on the
- Postal address
- Dr. Will Cupchik, 2528 Bayview Avenue,
- PO Box
35532, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M2L 2Y4
Copyright © 1997, 2011 Dr Will Cupchik