When therapists and researchers look into why people steal, aside from absolutely needing something to survive, the most common answer seems to “I don’t know”. Sometimes the individual started stealing at a young age to impress friends or maybe just for the thrill of getting away with it. Sometimes individuals steal things that are high-end that they couldn’t otherwise afford. It is a rebellious act that needs to be psychologically dealt with in order to end the behavior.

"I Seem to Steal to Collect Things"

In rehabilitation, the first step needs to be the acknowledgement of the act. Whatever the reason is, the individual generally doesn’t realize there are underlying problems that need to be solved. Theft and shoplifting are curable disorders that can be corrected with the right approach and motivation. The majority of patients that exhibit this behavior fall on the Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum. The individual just can’t stop himself. Many get a temporary sense of satisfaction when they steal an item and get away with it. The courts today will punish by law with fines and often mandates to take theft and shoplifting courses to help overcome the disorder. This combination seems to have a more long-lasting affect than jail time, as the perpetrator will receive education on how to actually handle the disorder.

"I Know I Have a Disorder"

Acknowledging the presence of the disorder is the second step towards recovery from this disorder and the only road to self-improvement. This means that the individual understands that something is wrong, has empathy and has the inclination to correct the bad behavior. Denying the disorder can only make matters worse and will not address the recovery process.

"How Can I Deal with This Disorder?"

The third and major step in this recovery is taking ownership of the problem and trying to deal with it. This is the difficult part, as many might fear ostracism or being stereotyped by peers. However, once an individual gets past this fear, the chances are highest for a successful recovery.

The government now allows and even advocates theft and shoplifting prevention classes. These are also offered online for a small fee but with great rewards. Some websites offer individuals to take classes and pay the fees anonymously because the site owners are aware of the emotional and psychological implications this might bring once anonymity is compromised.

Classes are offered in modules so that it can be easier to digest the information presented. The modules make the individual more aware of his or her actions and compulsive behavior. After the identification of symptoms, the student is then taught how to control such compulsions and the necessary steps to take to prevent the act from reoccurring.

The identification and prevention would not be complete without a long-term planning. The implications of what life will look like if the individual continues on this path are addressed. Some examples such as losing the parents', spouse’s or friend’s trust, and living life as a felon, make the individual personally commit to him or herself never to do the criminal acts again. The program also encourages the student to make friends with positive influences and set-up accountability partners they can talk to when they are feeling conflicted.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Ari Novick is the President of TheftClassOnline.com. A website dedicated to educating people about theft education. Click here for more information on Theft Classes Online

Click here for more information on Dr. Novick's expertly developed Alcohol Drug Class. Addictions that contribute to theft.