Counter Culture Season 3 Ep. 10
Grover talks with Faust Ruggiero, MS, Psychotherapist and Author of “The Fix Yourself Handbook”;
Franne McNeal, Author, “Off My Chest, But On My Mind: Busting Beyond Breast Cancer,” also “One Stroke and 10 T’s: Moving Beyond Paralysis.” Business speaker and coach;
Danny Roebuck, Film and Television Actor, Producer and Director
-Welcome to Counter Culture, a talk show in a diner.
On tonight's show, I welcome psychotherapist
and author of "The Fix Yourself Handbook," Faust Ruggiero.
-When you can diversify the population,
you learn a lot of different things
from a lot of different people.
and inspirational speaker Franne McNeal.
-It is important to be passionate about your business,
and we need help running the business.
-Plus, a man you might have seen in films such as "The Fugitive"
and "U.S. Marshals"
or TV shows like "Matlock" and "Law & Order,"
popular actor Danny Roebuck.
-The Lehigh Valley now has such an extraordinary arts scene.
-All right here on "Counter Culture."
Hi, folks. Grover Silcox coming to you
from Daddypop's Diner in beautiful downtown Hatboro.
My first guest might not fix your car,
but he will help you fix yourself with his new book,
"The Fix Yourself Handbook."
His book provides insights and easy-to-understand steps
to overcome fears and frustrations
that can get in the way of living a fulfilling
and happy life.
Please welcome therapist and author Faust Ruggiero.
Faust, good to have you.
Do I owe you a co-pay for being here?
-No, you don't owe me a co-pay.
-Oh, okay. Alright. [ Laughs ]
I'm already relaxed. Alright.
That puts me right at ease. That's great.
"The Fix Yourself Handbook" --
who is it for and what does it do?
-"The Fix Yourself Handbook" is for anybody.
It's a book designed after my therapeutic approach.
It's a program designed to address any problem
you may have at any time in your life.
Anyone who can read can work the program.
-And it's based on your years of experience.
How many years have you observed as a psychotherapist?
-I've been doing this for 40 years.
For the last 20, I've been using this particular program.
It evolved through my counseling
with all the people I've been counseling for years.
It's just that kind of thing where pieces fell together.
-And then the program just evolved.
-Right, and you've served all kinds of populations,
from recovering addicts to homeowners,
housewives, husbands, families, you name it.
When you can diversify the population a bit,
you learn a lot of different things
from a lot of different people,
so all of those elements go into the program, then.
In your book, you call it -- and I think it's your term --
the process way of life. -Mm-hmm.
Life is made up of processes -- trust, honesty, faith,
all those kinds of things, and the book has 36 chapters
that contain 51 different processes.
And I teach people how to use those processes
to replace negativity and just to move forward,
making good decisions in their lives.
-Right. So I guess it begins with someone
recognizing that they've got a problem.
-That's the first step.
You recognize the problem,
and even the first chapter in the book,
I'll say, "Take life off autopilot.
Let's get you away from doing
all the things you routinely do."
Then the book is designed to really simulate
a counseling experience.
We're going to define the problems,
and there will be many, not just one.
Then we're going to give you all the information you need
in order to address that problem.
Then we're going to provide
the exact steps necessary to deal with the problem,
and I think that's where the book kind of differs
and the rest is self-help.
It's the exact steps,
and that's what I do in my practice.
-And you talk about four major attributes,
and they're incorporated into this system
that you have to address those to get to solving the problem.
-Yeah. We want to get to a point of what I call internal balance,
where your physical, intellectual, emotional,
and spiritual attributes all operate kind of in unison,
and the better the balance, the more tranquil we feel,
the processes and using those in the program
will get you to that point.
So it's a lifelong program.
Anything that's good is a lifelong program.
There are no quick fixes. -Mm-hmm.
-We all need help every now and then.
A book, a counseling session, they're good.
You know, every now and then, you really need to get out there
and ask somebody to help you out,
and we all go through that. -Right.
You also worked with inmates at Northampton Prison.
-Yes, I did. I worked for five years in the prison.
I was working in an alcohol counseling center,
and they asked me to go in and just see a few inmates.
And then, you know, the calling comes.
The Lord says, "Hey, let's do this,"
and it turned into five years.
You know, you learn more about freedom in a prison
than you learn about it anywhere else in life.
-Because it really challenges you.
For me, it was just about people who made mistakes.
When you're in there every day with people,
you stop thinking about charges,
you stop thinking about cultures
and all those kinds of things,
and you get to know people on a personal basis.
They're people who were misguided, who made mistakes.
You're going to find some evil in there,
but most people are just people that made mistakes
like the rest of us.
They got caught.
They violated the law. They went to jail.
But a lot of them are just good people.
-Right. Do you think a therapist or a doctor
or anyone who is trying to help someone can do it
without feeling a little bit of the pain that
that other person has?
-If you can't feel the pain,
you probably shouldn't be in the business.
That's what helps you do the job.
It's knowing what to do with the pain afterwards
so that it doesn't have its effect on you.
When someone comes into my office,
I don't look at them just as a client.
I love those people, and I think they feel that.
Empathy, sympathy, those things are very important to our job,
and if you're telling me what your problem is
and you're looking at me,
and I'm, you know, I'm just kind of nodding
and I'm going along with you, you're gonna know that.
But if I'm connected and I want to get in there with you
and help you change things around,
you're going to know that right away.
There's no faking that.
-And addiction is, of course, you know, it's a major problem.
A therapist once told me
that the more times they go through a program,
the more likely they will eventually succeed.
Is there truth to that?
-It goes both ways. For some people,
it takes a long time to get the message.
For other people, they'll just use that program.
I think for the most part,
if you're willing to make that initial decision,
"My life's not where I want it to be.
I want to change," you're going to be able to do the work.
-And then there's people who, if you look at them,
you think they have no problems, but they're silently suffering.
People who are in denial.
-It's never just one problem.
No one has one problem.
That's why the book is written in 36 chapters,
not just three or four. -Right.
-Life is complicated.
Everything gets intertwined,
and then we have to kind of separate
all the rope, if you will.
-You're one of the few therapists,
at least in my experience,
that talks about spirituality as one of the core attributes.
-Has to be.
Faith is one of those virtues
where either you have it all or you have none of it.
There's no in-between on that.
To assume that there's no spirituality in the human being
would mean that we have a finite mind
that's only capable of understanding
That's not correct.
Faith is there, but you have to have all of it.
And I always tell people, "Just go get it."
Treat it like any other process in your life
and put your all into it, and see what you come out with.
I talk about concrete faith -- faith in a person,
faith in something that you do all the time.
-Right. -And if you have that,
it can evolve into what I call abstract faith,
where you're able to apply that
to something that isn't so substantial.
You can't see it every day. -Mm-hmm.
-But once you do that, it's with you all the time
because you're connecting to a power source that does exist
and it does guide life.
-Right, and then the joy that you bring to your work
that you have to have
as a therapist, as a human being.
-I like to have fun.
You know, if you're going to counsel with me,
we're gonna work.
You're gonna pursue all those things
you didn't want to pursue.
You're gonna cry, but we're going to laugh
and we're gonna make it a good time
because if you're gonna make changes
and it's gonna be drudgery every day,
you're not going to look forward to it,
and eventually, you're gonna stop.
So I make it fun,
and when you come in and you're counseling with me,
I am going to have fun with you
because I'm also in those sessions
one after another, you know?
So the last thing I want to do is say,
"Well," you know, "how are you today?"
I want to be able to have a good time.
I want you to laugh.
I want you to know that the next time you come in,
you're going to work hard again,
but I want you to look forward to coming.
-Right, look forward to coming to enjoy it.
I recommend "The Fix Yourself Handbook."
I thought it was great,
and I appreciate you coming here.
I know your practice is in Bangor, Pennsylvania.
-But your book is available on Amazon and everywhere else.
So thank you, Faust. -It's been my pleasure.
Faust Ruggiero, a therapist who believes
that each of us already holds the key
to our own happiness and self-fulfillment.
My next guest is a true inspiration.
She's coached more than a thousand business leaders
to improve their companies and careers.
She's the president of Significant Business Results.
She's the author of
"Significant! From Frustrated to Franne-tastic:
Inspirational Stories for the Entrepreneurial Woman."
Frankly, a book not just for business and not just for women,
as I read it, and it is an inspiration.
it's inspiring for all of us.
Please welcome Franne McNeal to the counter.
-Whoa! Thank you, Grover.
-It is so good to have you.
Now, you have a presence
that is just very relaxing and reassuring.
I could imagine your clients just love you.
-Well, sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't.
-You have to be honest with them, right?
-I have to be honest. Right.
I ask a lot of questions, and I get them thinking.
And that's part of the magic.
Because they do the work, and I support them.
-They come to a class. You offer a class.
-In fact, they come to
the Community College of Philadelphia.
It's a very exciting program.
It's called the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program,
and over the last six-plus years,
we've worked with 539 small businesses.
So it's very, very exciting to see people start the class
who within six months after finishing the class,
their business has grown.
And as a fellow entrepreneur,
we understand sort of what makes entrepreneurs tick.
We understand when they want to resist,
and we understand that growth is possible.
-Your expertise is in business administration,
people, revenue, all that good stuff.
-Right. All for small businesses.
That's really my focus.
I mean, the entrepreneurs and the business owners,
the folks that want to work on their business
instead of in their business,
and they want to do things other than business.
So in order to be able to step away,
they've got to have their house in order.
-So what would be the type of business that might come to you,
and what kind of problem did they bring to your doorstep?
-Well, the problems vary.
Usually, the problem is,
"I'm not seeing the revenue growth I want,"
or, "I can't find the right employees."
Sometimes, the business owner is the problem
in that they really don't want to recognize
that the problem needs for them to step back
and be more strategic, so that's where we come in,
the whole 10K SB team, and kind of help people say,
"Okay, here's the reality.
You've got to learn some things,
you've got to let go of some things,
and you have to do different type of work
in order to make your business work."
There are probably fundamentals
just because you've been running your business
that you haven't been paying attention to,
so there is a lot of things
that people sort of put their business on automatic.
But it may not be automatically set for growth,
and that's our focus.
It is important to be passionate about your business,
and you need to run the business like a business.
And you need help running the business.
What the program does is put people in an environment
where they can learn from each other and recognize,
"Hey, I'm not the only one," so they may be in a group
where someone has a funeral home,
someone has florists, someone is an interior designer,
someone's an engineer, someone's a baker.
I'm like, "Wait a minute, how do we all work together?"
And sure enough, by the third or fourth class,
they say, "You know what, we can learn from each other,"
and that's when they become dangerous.
-I would think they're strong-willed people,
for the most part.
-For the most part, and that's a good thing
because businesses that grow in different ways,
we admire the strength that they bring to the business
and we want to temper that with knowledge.
-I find it very interesting.
You know, you started out.
You got your degree from Princeton.
Your parents were both medical doctors,
and then years into your career,
you were diagnosed with breast cancer.
At one point, I was running my business,
my second business, and I wasn't feeling well.
I went to the doctor, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
And I remember my immediate thought was, "I don't have time.
I'm running a business," you know.
And so over time, I did, in fact, have the chemotherapy,
and a few days later,
after my third round of chemotherapy, I had a stroke.
And so there is a book called "Shift Happens!"
And then if you remove a letter or so,
you come out with a different word.
And, you know, stuff happens.
Being paralyzed was one of those experiences
that when people aren't open to new ideas,
I understand that they might be mentally paralyzed
by just the fear of the unknown.
What I try to share in my book is I understand
that there are these peaks and valleys,
and you can go from being frustrated --
I call it to being Franne-tastic,
but you can go from, you know,
having lemons to making lemonade.
And then the lemonade can go sour
and you can have regular water
and go, "Wait a minute, what is that?"
And it's an important lesson in life.
I mean, you opened with the fact that you read the book.
I mean, clearly,
these are a series of short stories from my life.
A big part of learning
is when people answer questions for themselves,
so I try to provide questions for people to think about
the short story from their own lens and say,
"You know, what was a time when I had a challenge
and I overcame that challenge?
Because ultimately, life is about taking step after step.
And if you fall in a puddle, get up, move on.
So what? You've got a wet foot. Eh.
-[ Laughs ] Right.
These are inspirational, true stories...
-...that are applicable to people in business
and in life in general.
-And life in general.
-Well, Franne, it was so great to have you on the show.
-Oh, thank you. -Thank you so much.
You are Franne-tastic. -Thank you.
-I must say so myself.
Franne McNeal, a woman and business pro
whose determination serves as a great example
of how when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
When you see my next guest,
you're going to say, "Wait a minute,
is this an episode of 'Matlock' with Andy Griffith
or the popular TV show 'Lost'
or the box-office hit 'The Fugitive'"?
He's appeared in all of them
and dozens of other primetime TV shows and major motion pictures.
Born and raised in little old Bethlehem, PA,
he left for Hollywood and made a name for himself
as an actor, producer, writer, and director,
and he's back in Pennsylvania preparing to produce
his next movie called "Hail Mary."
It's a pleasure to welcome, ladies and gentlemen,
drum roll, Danny Roebuck.
Dan, how are you?
-I give you the late shift,
[As Jay Leno] "Oh, thanks a lot. Thanks.
Thank you very much. Oh, Jay Leno.
-I want to thank you not only for being here,
but it's your birthday.
-It is. It's my birthday today.
-Happy birthday, my gosh.
-Thank you, thank you.
I love working on my birthday
because I feel that on this program,
you know, one of the benefits of being here in a diner
is you get to overhear other people's conversation,
and Faust was just talking so much about faith
that I was getting excited about it
because I feel that my career absolutely was a gift from God
and my life is a gift from God, certainly.
And so when I work on my birthday,
I think that I'm giving glory back to him.
And not in the money,
so if he's paying attention, I'm not getting a dime.
Not a dime.
-[ Laughs ] So. Wow.
From Bethlehem to Hollywood.
What a journey.
-I think, "How did it happen so fast?"
-Yeah. You went to Bethlehem Catholic.
Yeah, Bethlehem Catholic,
and then almost immediately moved to Los Angeles.
I moved to Los Angeles when I was 20.
-Right after high school, like just a couple years.
-Yeah, we were lucky in the Lehigh Valley.
We had a regional theater, the Pennsylvania Stage Company,
back in the '70s, early '80s.
I worked there for a little bit,
and then I just went to Hollywood.
I'll tell you this, though, I --
-It takes a lot of guts to just leave and strike out.
-Guts and, you know, faith.
From the time I was 6, I knew what I was going to be.
I wasn't that smart, but I was smart enough to know
that if I wanted to be in a movie,
I shouldn't stay in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
As it turns out,
I'm making movies in and around Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
-How about that? -But the Lehigh Valley now
has such an extraordinary arts scene.
And now, I mean, you know, last night,
we have a FIFO, a fade in, fade out,
a film consortium in the Lehigh Valley that,
you know, is actively helping people learn how to make movies,
and they helped us make the first movie.
And so, you know, we've been partnering.
-Right. Your first movie made here,
which was a few years ago, right?
-"Getting Grace," yeah. -"Getting Grace."
-We shot it four years ago.
-Okay, where are you?
See, I don't find this kind of thing funny.
Wh-Where are you?
-Does this coffin make me look fat?
-I produced it, directed it, co-wrote it, and acted in it.
Why? Because, you know, if I did all that,
that was three less people I had to pay.
It only got sticky one night when I had to fire myself.
-[ Chuckles ] How'd that go?
-So it was a little confusing for a while,
but we pulled it off.
-So you're in Hollywood. -Yes.
-We'll go back to the beginning, okay?
-Right. -And your first big break.
I mean, I'm trying to make these faith-filled family movies now,
but my first break came
in a teenage sex comedy called "Cavegirl."
Now, I don't want people to be too offended
because in the first place, I wasn't a teenager.
-Okay. -There's no sex in it at all.
-Right. -And it's not funny.
-[ Laughs ]
-So it was literally my first audition to be in any film,
and I went and I was going to read for a little part.
-You must have been so excited.
-Beyond my comprehension.
And when we're talking about, you know, art,
we both have a bit of a background
in stand-up comedy.
You'll appreciate this.
The day I was going to the first audition,
I bumped into Carl Ballantine, the great Carl Ballantine.
-Oh, the great. Yes, the magician.
-The magician, and I had been a magician.
And I said to Carl Ballantine, I said,
"I have stolen so much of your act and performance."
And he goes, "What are you doing? What are you doing now?"
And I said, "I'm going to audition for my first movie."
And Carl Ballantine's advice to me --
it's not advice that you can repeat on a show like yours --
But the advice is don't...it up.
So what I do, all you need is a gift from God.
That's primarily what you need, and you know --
-Talent and drive.
-Talent, drive, and, you know,
people say you got to be in the right place at the right time.
God's plan is always interweaving us
where we need to be.
Sometimes, we ignore it and detour.
I do want to say I think it's important to note
that we should get this on the air
that "Cavegirl" actually closed the Union Boulevard drive-in.
-For that alone.
-And I still get hate mail about it.
People were not happy.
Shankweiler's is only there
because they never played "Cavegirl."
Paul was very sure about that.
My second movie was "The River's Edge," very well-received film,
and it really did put me on the map
as a young character actor, right?
I played a very sad individual who killed his girlfriend
and then bragged about it at school, based on a true story.
-So you get on "Matlock," as -- was it Cliff Lewis?
-I get on Matlock as a doctor in my first episode,
and I'm a guest star, you know, red herring.
I'm literally saying,
"You're gonna give me a second to really act this out
because I want the audience to know how pathetic I am."
They said, "Daniel, this is Andy Griffith."
And I said...
-[ Laughs ]
-He was like..."Oh, my."
So we rehearse the scene,
and then in the rehearsal, he said, "I've got this pain."
And he pointed to his, you know, his belly.
And then when we're shooting it, he said, "I've got this pain,"
and he pointed to his groin.
So the camera's rolling, and I pull the pants down.
And I shoved my hand right where he pointed,
and I'm like, "Here? Here?" You know.
And, you know, Matlock was... -Right.
-And then the next day, the director comes up to me.
He says, "I don't know what you did yesterday,"
but he said, "But the old man wants you as a series regular."
-Wow. -I call my agent.
I'm like, "They said they wanted me!"
And he goes, "Dan, what are you, stupid?
That's never going to happen. It's never gonna happen."
Years later, I went back to do what was gonna be
the last episode of "Matlock," and while I was shooting it,
my manager called and said, you know, he said, "Sit down."
And I said, "I'm sitting."
He goes, "You know, no, never mind. Lay down."
"What?" "Lay down."
I lay down, he goes,
"So you are now a series regular 'Matlock.'
I said, "What are you talking about?
We're shooting the last episode."
You know, where I was playing a D.A.
He goes, "No. They just dropped it at NBC.
ABC picked it up. Andy became the executive producer,
and he said, 'Now I want Daniel Roebuck.'"
-So that's like -- can you imagine?
-At least I would have one year...
-...of the most master acting class
that you're ever gonna get in your life.
I'm working next to not just an actor,
but an icon and a great dramatic actor.
-What are you doing? -Calling the police.
-Ben! -My vault had $1,000 dollars.
I'm calling the police. -Oh!
Andy Griffith was a great guy.
He called, and maybe we talked for 20 minutes, 30 minutes.
And I got to tell him my gratitude.
It changed the trajectory of my life for a few reasons.
One, it gave me steady employment,
two, my second wife, Kelly, the mother of my children.
-You know, we were given a great foundation
for the life we had because of that show
and the work that grew out of it.
-Right. That's amazing.
And then the other one I always think of is "The Fugitive."
-Oh, yeah, which was a blockbuster.
I just got a call from Harris Community Hospital.
The wounded guard swears he saw Kimble
right outside the emergency room.
-Well, that's odd.
-And Harrison Ford.
That was great, but Tommy Lee Jones.
-I was gonna ask. Tommy Lee Jones, you know.
-That's, like...you better be --
That's not A game. -Right.
-That's whatever AA game is. -Yeah.
That's like you better
hyper know everything that you are
'cause in any scene, Tommy Lee Jones might say,
"Biggs, what was that other case where we had to chase that guy?"
You better be like, "Oh, that was the Johnson case.
Remember? That was back in '78 where we had to chase -- "
You know, you better be ready for whatever he threw at you.
You know, that was the fun of it.
-And so when are you producing "Hail Mary"?
-So "The Hail Mary," we're making in the Lehigh Valley,
and we're making it through A Channel of Peace.
And I invite people to go to AChannelOfPeace.org
-This is your organization.
-It's an organization in which I want
to tell faithful family stories that --
faithful stories that you can just watch with your family.
"Hail Mary" is a movie, feature film, about a nun,
a very funny nun finds a guy who needs redemption,
so she cons him into creating
a football team for her all-boys Catholic school.
I like superhero movies, but superheroes --
That's not how we really solve our problems.
You have to be the superhero of your story.
In our vision of the work we want to create,
that's going to come through a higher power to you,
and you're going to have to be reliant on something greater
and bigger than you.
The next movie is gonna be
a documentary called "The Lost Art of Forgiving."
-Doesn't that sound like an idea whose time has come?
-Everybody's mad at everybody.
It's like, you know, what Franne does
and what Faust does, they give you tools
with which you can make your life better.
-And be inspired.
-I hope so. -Which is what you do.
And your life is inspiring because you left Bethlehem,
you made a name for yourself,
you had the career you loved, and you came back to share it
with the people you grew up with.
-I think it's important that people see how great
the area is that we live in.
-I'll never make the Lehigh Valley look negative.
Well, you're one of its most positive offspring...
-Thank you, sir. -...if you will.
Well, Danny -- Well, wait a minute.
Wait, we forgot something.
Here we go. Happy birthday.
The whole crew and I want to wish you
the happiest of 39th birthdays again.
I know you're celebrating again.
-But at PBS, every birthday is 39.
-That's right, that's right! -I just wrote that!
I'm sharing this with none of the crew.
-[ Laughs ]
We're all on diets anyway,
but we'll be glad to take a slice.
-What a blessing. Thank you for remembering.
And why don't we take this moment
to remember all of our parents.
-Very good. Thank you so much, Danny.
-Danny Roebuck, the man who was kind enough
to celebrate his 39th birthday again on PBS39
on "Counter Culture."
Wow. Talk about making a wish.
He just made mine come true.
Well, that's all for this episode of "Counter Culture."
I'd like to thank tonight's guests, author, motivator,
and inspirational speaker in business
and in life, Franne McNeal.
-Ultimately, life is about taking step after step.
-The therapist who helps you help yourself, Faust Ruggiero.
-Faith is there, but you have to have all of it.
And I always tell people, "Just go get it."
-And one of PBS39's good buddies,
actor, director, and writer producer Danny Roebuck.
-I like superhero movies,
but you have to be the superhero in your story.
-And I want to thank you folks for watching.
Don't forget to tune in next week
because you never know who you'll meet at the counter.