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"THEFT TALK's" theory and philosophy are unique, quite specific and specialized. In brief, the message is that people are individually responsible for their behavior. When people make the choice to steal, they have control over their actions and choices. Often times they make these choices based on misconceptions and/or inadequate information. When the thinking is based on inaccurate information, "thinking errors" occur. When people make choices in this manner they, are likely to make poor choices. "THEFT TALK" emphasizes the need for people to learn how to make informed and insightful decisions -- to make good choices.

"THEFT TALK" deals with the way the theft offender thinks. We look at what people who steal are thinking (looking for thinking errors), what they are not thinking (looking for thinking omissions) , and give some suggestions on what they might start thinking about. The offender's thinking just prior to the actual incident has proven to be of great importance. When done with this page, you might also want to visit "A Primer to Our Ideology" and "What Does "THEFT TALK" Believe" located on our Seminars page.



The primary premise of "THEFT TALK" is that most people are not willing to cause injury to others if they are aware of, and fully understand, the injury.


Since "THEFT TALK" focuses on thinking, it is natural that our primary approach deals with the issue from the offender's point of view. We strive to understand the logic they use when making their decisions and to increase their awareness of their thinking errors.


The intent of the work done is to change the way people perceive stealing.


Describing the philosophy of "THEFT TALK" would be difficult short of writing a book. "THEFT TALK" is a unique blend of several of the predominant philosophies of the time. We have a behavioral approach, however, use internal rewards and consequences as opposed to external. We are not Freudian however Freud's intent was to develop insight, our intent is the same. Glasser's work regarding responsibility blends quite well with one phase of our work but is only a beginning. The work of Aaron T. Beck, (founder of Cognitive Restructuring) is primary and central to our work. Also, Kohlberg's work on moral development is occasionally modeled after. Many of Samenow and Yochelson's beliefs are similar to "THEFT TALK's", including the focus on thinking, choices, and re-evaluating the causal model.

The philosophical model presently in vogue which is most inconsistent with "THEFT TALK" is the "Systems Approach". The Systems Approach certainly has its place, (especially in family counseling), however, it has no place in "THEFT TALK".

The majority of our work centers around the offenders thinking process. We reject the majority of the "causal" models which attempt to explain criminality as "caused" by social, environmental or psychological trauma. We, instead, adhere more closely to the differential association theory. Regardless of upbringing, social setting and environment we emphasize "choices". The past becomes much less important with this model. We emphasize personal responsibility for each choice we make, taking control of our lives and our future. A list of reading references is provided.


What we do ....

The following briefly describes "Theft Talk's" theoretical interventions and what we offer to clients during sessions.


- Most of "THEFT TALK's" work involves cognitive therapy:

Cognitive Restructuring We assess and address the clients attitudes, values and beliefs.

Victim Awareness We help our clients feel the pain of their victim and picture the human being(s) they affected.

Dissonance Therapy Change occurs when our clients scrutinize the inconsistencies in their thinking.

Thinking Errors Clients learn of the errors and omissions in their belief systems.

Skill Building A key to our success is for each client to learn new decision making skills and to assume personal responsibility.

Education Each component of our programs begins with an educational piece.

"Process" Counseling We allow our clients to think through issues and come to their own conclusions.


Choice Theory: The underlying assumption is that people are in control of their actions.

Empathy Development: Realizing empathy is crucial to the socialization process.

Learning Theory: People learn through a series of rewards and consequences.

Cognitive Behavior Modification: If a person experiences enough discomfort over their decisions they will naturally make different choices.

Moral Development: Most people are unwilling to cause injury to other people, if, they understand the injury.

All "THEFT TALK"™ Counselors are supervised by

a Master's level Counselor


"THEFT TALK" Online Services™


Reading References


Bandura, A., and Walters, R.H. Social Learning Theory and Personality Development. New York:Holt, 1963.

Bodenhamer, Gregory Back in Control. Prentice- Hall, Inc, 1983.

Dudley, J.M., & Zanna, M.P. Making Moral judgments. American Scientist, 1982,70, 515-521.

Fitzgerald, P. Criminal Law and Punishment. New York. Oxford University Press, 1962.

Freud, Sigmund, Further Remarks on the Defense Neuropsychoses. In Collected Papers of Sigmund Freud (Vol I). London: Hogarth Press, 1927

Glasser, W. Reality Therapy: A New Approach to Psychiatry. New York: Harper & Row, 1965

Glasser, W. Reality Therapy: A Realistic Approach to the Young Offender. Los Angeles Prevention Training Project, Youth Studies Center, University of Southern California, 1965

Hart, H.L.A., Punishment and responsibility: Essays on the Philosophy of Law. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968

Hilgard & Gordon H Bower, Theories of Social Learning. Meredith Publishing Company, 1966.

Kohlberg, Lawrence, The Psychology of Moral Development, Volume One. Harper & Rowe, 1981.

Kohlberg, Lawrence, The Psychology of Moral Development, Volume Two. Harper & Rowe, 1984.

Meninger, Carl M.D. Whatever Became of Sin. Prentice-Hall of Canada, 1973.

Rachin, Richard, Reality Therapy: Helping People Help Themselves. Crime and Delinquency, 1974

Reiss, Albert, Delinquency as the Failure of Personal and Social Controls Rimm, David C. & Masters John C. Behavior Therapy Techniques and Empirical Findings. Academic Press Inc., 1974.

Siegel, Larry J. & Senna Joseph J,. Juvenile Delinquency Theory, Practice, and Law., Second Edition West Publishing Co., 1985

Sutherland, Edwin, Principles of Criminology. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1939

Sutherland, Edwin & Cressey, Donald, Criminology, 8th Edition Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1970

Samenow, Stanton E, Inside the Criminal Mind. Times, 1984.

Schachter, S. The Psychology of Affiliation. Palo Alto, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1959. Yochelson & Samenow

Yochelson & Samenow The Criminal Personality, Volume I. Jason R Aronson, Publisher, 1982

Yochelson & Samenow The Criminal Personality, Volume II. Jason R Aronson, Publisher, 1985.

Yochelson & Samenow The Criminal Personality, Volume III. Jason R Aronson, Publisher, 1986.

THEFT TALK -- since 1983  

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