Jan. 9, 2023

Transforming Scrooge: Scrooge Therapy and a Blueprint for Spiritual Awakening with Joe Cusumano

Transforming Scrooge: Scrooge Therapy and a Blueprint for Spiritual Awakening with Joe Cusumano

Transforming Scrooge: Scrooge Therapy And A Blueprint for Spiritual Awakening With Joe Cusumano

With over 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Counselor, Joe has achieved a significant milestone in the field. He was the 43rd person in the state to pass the National Counselors Exam and has since authored two books - Transforming Scrooge (published in 1996) and If You Build It (published in 1999).

The 25th-anniversary edition of Transforming Scrooge is now available in a digital form - an analysis of Scrooge's transformation. Additionally, Joseph has served as the Director of Counseling at Lindenwood University from 2013 - 2017, further demonstrating his expertise in the field.

You can find his book at https://www.amazon.com/Transforming-Scrooge-Blueprint-Spiritual-Awakening-ebook/dp/B09L9ZD922/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1661793277&sr=8-1

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Transcript

Transforming Scrooge Scrooge Therapy And A Blueprint for Spiritual Awakening With Joe Cusumano

[00:00:00] John Cordray: So this episode is gonna be an interesting one, and we're gonna be talking about the Christmas Carol. Now, I realize Christmas is over , but we're gonna be talking about Christmas Carol in a much different way, perhaps a way that you've never thought of before. And we're gonna be talking about transforming Scrooge in Scrooge therapy and the blueprint for spiritual awakening with Joe Ku coming right.

[00:00:37] John Cordray: Welcome to The Mental Health Today Show. My name is John Cordrey and I am a licensed therapist and I'm also the host of The Mental Health Today Show. And I am so glad that you are here. And if you are listening to this at the day of it is released you will know that Christmas has passed

[00:00:55] John Cordray: So we're talking about Christmas fast. But that's okay. That's okay because we're, we're gonna be [00:01:00] talking about the Christmas Carol, but in a much different way in a lens or framework of therapy, mental health therapy, if you will. So this is a really interesting, and my guest today, Joe, he is a licensed professional counselor, but he's been one since 1986 and he was the 43rd, 43rd person in the state.

[00:01:25] John Cordray: I believe it was Missouri.  The Passed National Counselor's Exam. 43rd person. And Joseph is the author of the Transforming Scrooge. Which was published in 1996, and if you build it, published in 1999. His first book is an Analysis of Screws Transformation. It is now in digital form, the 25th anniversary, and Joseph was also the director of counseling at Linwood University from the years 2013 to [00:02:00] 2017.

[00:02:01] John Cordray: And I am really excited about this one. Joe and I are licensed in the same state of Missouri, but I didn't get my license until 2007, but I also went to Linwood University before he was a president and or director, I'm sorry, of the counseling center. So we do have some things in common. So Joe, welcome to the.

[00:02:24] Joe Cusumano: Thank you Johns. It's a real pleasure to be here and it's great to talk about this book again after. This'll be the 26th year since its publication. Wow. 

[00:02:34] John Cordray: Well, that, that's been around for a while, but so has the Christmas carol. So, you know, that's one of my favorites all time favorites is, is watching the Christmas Carol and there are lots of different variations of the Christmas Carol, but before we get into.

[00:02:50] John Cordray: I am really curious. I wanna learn a little bit about Joe Ku. Tell us a little bit of you and your story and your backstory. 

[00:02:59] Joe Cusumano: Well, I think [00:03:00] the most interesting thing about my backstory, John, is how I became a therapist in the first place. And it's sort of a tragic story. My father, when he was 55 years old, had a massive heart attack and died.

[00:03:14] Joe Cusumano: It was fairly tragic because it took us several days to find him. In his car passed away, they did an autopsy. We found out that it was a massive heart attack and I was 24 years old, newly married with one child who was less than a a year old, and I didn't do so well for about a year. And finally my wife said to me quite wisely, you better get some help , or we're gonna be in big trouble.

[00:03:40] Joe Cusumano: So I ended up going to therapy at the age of 25. Absolutely fell in love with it. I was a teacher and I don't, don't get me wrong, I love teaching. I was an English teacher, I was a reading specialist, but I also loved therapy and I found my calling, so to speak. [00:04:00] So I went back to St. Louis University at that point and signed up through their school of Education for the family therapy program, and it took me six.

[00:04:11] Joe Cusumano: But I ended up getting a license, a degree in a PhD in in education, in family therapy. And then the next year, 1987 is when Missouri started the lpc and I was in that first group that year. So what I tell people is this, my father's passing gave me my true. and I'm, I hate the fact that he passed away so young, but something great came out of it because this is my true passion and my true calling.

[00:04:42] John Cordray: Yeah, and and I think that you bring up a really good point, and some people may not realize this, but a lot of people who be end up becoming a therapist, they're doing it out of their own hurt and. From their own experiences and, and, and they know how powerful therapy can be. And [00:05:00] there's, so it's a way of giving back to others out of their hurt and pain.

[00:05:04] John Cordray: And I think that's, you just laid it out very clearly, an unfortunate, very tragic event that happened to your father, but because of that event that kind of transformed your journey, if you will, in becoming a therapist, and my goodness, you've been doing this for a long time. 

[00:05:22] Joe Cusumano: Well, let's. I got my degree in at the age of 32 or 33, and I continued to teach throughout the day and then did part-time therapy in the evenings for about 20 years until 2005 when I retired, and then I went full-time.

[00:05:41] Joe Cusumano: So, yeah, I've been, I've been a therapist. I mean full-time therapist. Longer than you went to, you went to Linwood. . Well, and I also 

[00:05:50] John Cordray: like the fact that you said that you retired and then you went full-time. 

[00:05:54] Joe Cusumano: Yeah, well, I mean, yeah, I'll listen. I'm never gonna retire. I'll retire from teaching. [00:06:00] I, I retired from teaching twice.

[00:06:01] Joe Cusumano: Once as a public school, English teacher, reading specialist. Then as Director of Counseling and assistant professor in Linda Wood, and then Covid hit, and then I became this. Quite interestingly, I worked from home and I had accumulated some licenses. So I started working in Missouri, Illinois, and of all places, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts because I love New England.

[00:06:27] Joe Cusumano: And I had actually talked about moving to Vermont. So I got a license there years ago, kept it, and then they all came into play. So right now I actually do counseling in five states from home. 

[00:06:40] John Cordray: Wow. That's similar to me. I, I have three state licenses, so, and I do the same, all remote work from, from home. And, you know, that's a topic for another episode because that is something that I know a lot of therapists who are trying to figure out, do they want to stay in the [00:07:00] office or stay in the, in the organization that they're working at, or do they want to go out on their own?

[00:07:06] John Cordray: So that's a whole nother topic. We, we can go on and on. I 

[00:07:09] Joe Cusumano: know we. Absolutely. Yeah, we could with that, yes. 

[00:07:13] John Cordray: But let's bring it back to the Christmas Carol. Let's talk a little bit about Scrooge. I'm really interested to hear you wrote this book for a reason so long ago, so I'd love to hear your take on the Christmas Carol and, and in particular the book.

[00:07:28] John Cordray: Because yes, Christmas is over, but it's still the concept. It's very fascinating that I think. Even if it's you're, you said it's in the 26th anniversary, go get it and, and read it because I think you're gonna find this very fascinating. So, Joe, let's, let's talk a little bit about Scrooge. 

[00:07:47] Joe Cusumano: Okay, so Charles Dickens wrote a Christmas Carol, and I think a lot of people know the story now, especially through the movie.

[00:07:55] Joe Cusumano: The Man Who Invented Christmas, which came out three or four years ago, a [00:08:00] great little film. It really is, but it showed us the process of him writing a story he thought for money. In six weeks. So he started writing this Christmas story in October of 1843, and it hit the shelves on December 19th, 1843.

[00:08:19] Joe Cusumano: Fast, quick, make some money, get it out. By Christmas, it sold out. He was happy. However, People started ripping the book off and he was suing people left and right before you knew it. He actually lost money on the actual book. But what came out of his unconscious, I believe out of his outta the archetypes were these wonderful characters and Scrooge being the most famous one.

[00:08:46] Joe Cusumano: This is the, this story, A Christmas Carol is the most adapted story of all. Of any novels. It's, it's the one that's been done over and over and over again [00:09:00] in many different manifestations. Now, I'll, I'll talk eventually about the one that I have a lot of interest in, which is the FX and Christmas Carol, especially for therapists, because from a cinematic point of view, if you have clients that have child abuse issues unresolved, post-traumatic stress from childhood, This is a case study, that movie, and I really believe what's based upon what Dickens gave us about Scrooge in that, and this is the important part, John, that I love, that every movie up until the 2019 FX Christmas Carol missed is that when Old Scrooge went back to the boarding school that his father sent him to as a child, he saw young Scrooge Halluc.

[00:09:51] Joe Cusumano: And see fictional characters out the window. Alibaba, Valentine, Robinson, Caruso, and [00:10:00] old Scrooge started to cry, and my understanding and belief is that when a person is that abandoned and that isolated, they start hallucinating. It's a way of leaving from the pain and abandonment that he was going through at that boarding school.

[00:10:18] Joe Cusumano: So young. Scrooge was very, very, very deeply affected by this isolation. It's almost like a deprivation tank he was put in at Christmas time. Can't think of anything worse for a kid. And the boarding school was not a nice one. It was run down. It was cold, the food was bad. This is 19th century England. It's not a wonderful , you know, Disney movie, right?

[00:10:42] Joe Cusumano: So you have to read into it a little bit to underst. The severity of what he was trying to get across with the character Scrooge and what he went through. And by the way, what Charles Dickens himself went through at about the same age with his father going to prison and [00:11:00] him being made to go out on his own amongst the streets of London and fend for himself.

[00:11:06] Joe Cusumano: So, I mean, he never forgot his childhood abandonment either. And it came out through Scrooge and many, many other characters in his many. Well, I think that's 

[00:11:16] John Cordray: very interesting that you would bring that out because I think a lot there, there're gonna be people who are listening to this that are not necessarily therapists, but people who are, can relate to that.

[00:11:26] John Cordray: And maybe they've had some childhood abandonment and abuse in their, in their background and, and maybe this is gonna bring out a whole new light when they watch the Christmas Carol could be trigger. To a lot of people. 

[00:11:39] Joe Cusumano: Well, I will, I will say this, the, the FX 2019 at Christmas, Carol, you better go if you're gonna watch it, go into it with your eyes wide open because it, it can very well be triggering.

[00:11:51] Joe Cusumano: Now I belong to a group of people on Facebook that love the Christmas Carol. And I have a page just for [00:12:00] this version. It's for people who love it, but for everyone who loves it. There are other people that are ultimately, Shocked, surprised, saddened hurt and upset by this very same movie because they're 

[00:12:12] John Cordray: not ready for it.

[00:12:13] John Cordray: Yeah. Yeah. And so I think a, a trigger warning could be really important. 

[00:12:19] Joe Cusumano: And the thing is, is that the, the, the people who wrote this and it was done in, in, in Britain is and, and Guy Pierce plays Scrooge. Kind of a different kind of a Scrooge, a little younger, wonderful actor, great movie on so many levels.

[00:12:34] Joe Cusumano: The music, the production, the writing, the story is so different in so many ways, but so similar in so many ways. But I mean, it gets down to a lot of sexual abuse. , and if you're not ready for that, you know, just beware because it's there. If you aren't ready for it, it could be a marvelous experience and it lets us know that even Charles Dickens in the middle of the 19th [00:13:00] century understood what a lot of people understand today about those kind of horrible chronic problems and post-traumatic stress issues that people still deal with on a daily basis in 2020.

[00:13:14] John Cordray: Oh, absolutely. And we'll continue to struggle with that for years to come. This is perennial. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So, okay, so we'll come back to the 2019 Christmas Carol, but let's, let's talk a little bit more about your book that you wrote. Really, let's still is a Christmas Carol. But it wasn't about the 20 2019 yours.

[00:13:37] John Cordray: Yours was published way back in 1996. So tell us, first of all, what gave you the idea, like why did you write a book 

[00:13:49] Joe Cusumano: on this? Oh, God, John, you, you asked such wonderful questions. This was at the time of the change in the millennium around the late [00:14:00] 1990s. There was the new age movement going on, a lot of interest in spirituality, and I had.

[00:14:07] Joe Cusumano: Marian Williamson, who by the way, ran for president a couple years ago. She had written a book called The Return to Love, and it struck me hard and one of the things that that I got from that book was to kind of go inside and to try to conjure up something within yourself that would make sense to you that you would.

[00:14:31] Joe Cusumano: Learning more about and what popped up, and this was by the way, after Christmas, now in January of 1990, I guess it was 93 because I wrote it in 94. I'll take it back. It was January of 94. Okay. So I got an image in my head of a Christmas carol and went to the public library and read it and read it again, and read it again, and read it.

[00:14:56] Joe Cusumano: And the more I read, the more I was associated it [00:15:00] with things like the near death experience, the alien abduction, and the Kundalini awakening , you know, so, and those all three are treatments that are presented in the book Scrooge as having gone through a near death experience, a life review screws going through a Kundalini awakening where his chakras transformed from animal chakras to spiritual chak.

[00:15:26] Joe Cusumano: Then he talked about the alien abduction. And if you read the Christmas Carol carefully, it appears that he's being abducted by the ghost of the past. He doesn't wanna go, he goes against his will. So everything John that I'm, I'm reading in the Christmas Carol that, that Charles Dickens wrote. I'm seeing this in those three themes and it just, it, it came to a head and I said I could write a book.

[00:15:55] Joe Cusumano: My daughter, who was about nine at the time, on one particular [00:16:00] Sunday, said, dad, what's wrong with you? And I said, I'm not quite sure, but I know I'm gonna write a book. And a song came to my head, John, by a group called Engo Bogo, and it was called Dead Man's Party. I didn't really know the words, but it was a very interesting little song with a very upbeat tempo to it.

[00:16:18] Joe Cusumano: And I was kind of half singing it all day long, and she had an ice skating lesson that night. And this is the God's truth. She said to me, dad, why don't you shut up and let's turn the radio on so we can hear the song. And she hit the button. She hit the button, and the song started. It was nine years old at the time.

[00:16:40] Joe Cusumano: It took me a year to go back and look at the song, the Words to It, but it's about a man who has one last chance to make it. He was invited to a Dead man's party if that's not what Screws went through. I don't know what it was. , you know, it even mentioned the coins on the eyes in the song, and I didn't know [00:17:00] any of that.

[00:17:00] Joe Cusumano: You know how you know a song, but you really don't know the song, and it was also written by, the song was written by. Elman an Elfman, , you know, Christmas and it was a part of Elfman. Also wrote The Nightmare Before Christmas, and this is what Charles Dickens said. Christmas Carol is a ghost story. It's a nightmare before Christmas.

[00:17:26] Joe Cusumano: So I think Archly, I was onto something. I see that as a major synchronicity. What happened that. So I held off for several months until that summer. So in the summer of 1994, I let myself go. I wrote 10 hours a day for two months and wrote the book. Wow. So you, 

[00:17:46] John Cordray: you did a lot of research and I would imagine you probably watched it.

[00:17:51] John Cordray: And read the book over and over again. Like you said. Is it primarily about Scrooge or are there some other characters in it as well that you talk about? [00:18:00] 

[00:18:00] Joe Cusumano: Of course. I mean, you have his nephew who kept inviting. His uncle over for Christmas dinner and every year he would wish him a happy happy New Year, come over for Christmas and screws would tell him to get lost.

[00:18:12] Joe Cusumano: You know, you had Tiny Tim and Bob crashes, his employee and his family, and how poor they were and how Tim was handicapped. Right? And we have this very sting. Hardhearted man who's the boss of Bob Cratchit, and it's just a beautiful reversal at the end. You know, a lot of the movies make a huge deal about the, the transformation of Scrooge, and some of 'em are really fun.

[00:18:39] Joe Cusumano: They really are. But the truth is, is that it wasn't, it wasn't like, you know, fireworks going off in, in some ways it was more about subtle things. I'm gonna give you a raise. I'm gonna endeavor to help your family. I'm gonna make sure tiny Tim gets the help that he needs. So all those things. Once [00:19:00] Scrooge went through his his night of transformation and what he had to do ultimately was come to terms with his own death.

[00:19:07] Joe Cusumano: If he didn't change, if things stayed the same, then he was headed down a path toward. No one caring. And what it took for him was what I call the triple connection of woundedness, his own childhood woundedness, his abandonment, the woundedness that he saw in Tiny Tim who was physically wounded and couldn't walk.

[00:19:31] Joe Cusumano: And Jesus Christ, the wounded Sanger, once Scrooge caught that and, and somebody said that Dickens there, there's. Religious in a Christmas Carol, there's a whole page where he talks about the wounded savior and so, but it's not just the wounded savior. Scrooge becomes the wounded savior. Also, he becomes the savior of Tim.

[00:19:52] Joe Cusumano: And this is a little bit of an aside John, but I love this. I think Tim, a lot of people wonder, well, what did he have? What [00:20:00] caused him to not be able to walk and have to be on crutches? And I believe it was Ricketts because if you have a vitamin D de. Then you're, it's gonna affect your bones. And so with better food, more money for the family and some, some enlightened doctoring.

[00:20:17] Joe Cusumano: Kenny, Tim walked again, he didn't die. 

[00:20:20] John Cordray: Yeah. And it's also, it could be a blueprint for making amends. In, in wanting to make things right. Again, so many people, I'm sure you have talked to, I've talked to therapists, talked to that really have had, they look back at their, their life and they regret it.

[00:20:41] John Cordray: There's a lot of things that they did that they regret and they're still alive and they can go back and they can talk to and make things right and, and kinda like that, like you said, transforming their life again because the life is not over. They can go back and start over. And I see that's 

[00:20:56] Joe Cusumano: what screws did well and especially with [00:21:00] his nephew and I mean, it's so heart rendy in the book in that he decided to go to his nephew's house for dinner the next day.

[00:21:09] Joe Cusumano: And it took him 13 marches back and forth in front of the door because he could, before he could muster the courage to knock on it, because what he was afraid of, which is what he was always afraid of, John, was rejection, abandonment. And when he knocked nephew, Fred said, uncle, come in. Now, the interesting thing is in the 2019 of Christmas, Carol, there's a twist to that.

[00:21:38] Joe Cusumano: He goes to his uncle and he says, my mother told me there's something about you that was hurt in childhood and that I should forgive you. He said, I've come year after year after year to see you and every year you tell me to get lost. He goes, my wife has told me, and I agree that this will be my last attempt, so if I walk out [00:22:00] this door today, it may very well be the last time you see me.

[00:22:04] Joe Cusumano: That was quite different and kind of an interesting take. But of course we know that you have to project and assume that he did show up. So it still has the same outcome. The 2019 version is just so different. So much darker, and so and so brilliant in so many hard ways. Hard ways. 

[00:22:23] John Cordray: Yeah. It's interesting that both of them though, talk about hurt and pain and loss.

[00:22:30] Joe Cusumano: It's all 

[00:22:31] John Cordray: woundedness. It is. And that, and that is transferrable no matter where you're from and on, how old you are. And, and this was Christmas time, but it could be any time of the year. It could affect anyone in the world any time, any age. So there's a lot of similar things here that we can look at The Christmas Carol and the struggle of Scrooge and, and how he was transformed.

[00:22:54] John Cordray: We can look at that and then we can look at our own life and we can be similar things. [00:23:00] 

[00:23:00] Joe Cusumano: I love what you said about the chance to go back and make amends, and there's a lot of ways to do that. Sometimes even 12 step people will say, you, you go back and make amends if you can, if it's not gonna be harmful to the person.

[00:23:13] Joe Cusumano: You know, so, but there's a lot of other ways to make amends if you can't do it that way. And my other book, which is called If You Build It, is. The wonderful baseball movie Field of Dreams where Ray Kinsella, the farmer, makes amends with his dead father on the baseball field. And they play catch. So I mean, that's a different way to make amends by coming to terms with what happened between them and ending their lives angry at each other, you know?

[00:23:44] Joe Cusumano: So, I mean, there's a, there's a lot of beautiful ways to make amends if you have the opportunity to really make amends and to say, I'm sorry. And I, I just wish that people had the opportunity to be able to say, I screwed up. I didn't understand. I see the light , I really do see the [00:24:00] light. Yeah, 

[00:24:01] John Cordray: absolutely.

[00:24:02] John Cordray: And, and there are times when someone tries to seek forgiveness and the other person may not receive it. 

[00:24:09] Joe Cusumano: That can happen. Yeah, 

[00:24:10] it 

[00:24:10] John Cordray: can. It can happen a lot. And, but I always tell people, forgiveness helps you. It's to release this thing that you're hanging onto, and if the other person's not gonna receive it, that's on them, but 

[00:24:23] Joe Cusumano: that's not on you.

[00:24:25] Joe Cusumano: Well, and also, and also John, letting go is important to me as a therapist. I, I tell people, if you let go of the pain from the past, the person who may have caused you pain and suffering may not ever be brought to justice or, or learned the truth. But if you let go, it's no longer. Harming you, you, you're taking that power away, you know, which is a, that's a beautiful thing.

[00:24:48] Joe Cusumano: And not only that, but you can pay it forward too. So in some ways, when I became a therapist, I mean, I love being a teacher. Once I understood what therapy was about, my [00:25:00] job became to help other people, you know? So that's the type of pain forward. Yeah, 

[00:25:06] John Cordray: no doubt. And, and. I think it's very important to be thinking how this is relate to our life.

[00:25:14] John Cordray: And it's easy to think, well this was just a show, this was just a movie, or it was just a book, but it was a book about real life and there are things that we can learn from it and we can apply it to our life and, and so yeah, I think a big theme is letting go in seeking or asking or extending forgiveness.

[00:25:35] John Cordray: So, so important. That's a 

[00:25:37] Joe Cusumano: great lesson. I always tell people that, that in some way we're all Scrooge and we all have an. We have a shadow. We have a dark side, right? And so it's not just watching him change and become a different person. It's about us. What is our screws? You know, it may not be the kind he was, it could be a different kind of scrooge.

[00:25:58] Joe Cusumano: But I mean, we all have to [00:26:00] come to that reality. You know, that it's, it's there for everyone to learn from. That's what makes it such a beautiful archival, universal story is that no matter when it's presented, it makes sense. And the newest manifest station is what I call the me Too version, which is the 2019 version.

[00:26:17] Joe Cusumano: You know, so it, it relates to the time period that it's been. When these films are made, it seems to relate to those time periods very well, and the story lends itself to it every time. You know, John, this we're, we're taping on the winter solstice December 21st, the darkest day of the year, right? I love the metaphor of that for the holiday, because what did Scrooge do other than die to his old animal?

[00:26:45] Joe Cusumano: Selfish, angry self. And the tiny light of spirituality came through and he was reborn on the day of Christ's birth and the rebirth of the son. You know, so we're, we're talking about some profound [00:27:00] things going on in this story, and I think people may not realize how deep a story it is. Even George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life if we think about that.

[00:27:09] Joe Cusumano: He was gonna commit suicide. Yeah. Right, 

[00:27:12] John Cordray: right. It's very 

[00:27:13] Joe Cusumano: dark. Yeah. It really is. Well, I, I think 

[00:27:17] John Cordray: you really hit on some really interesting topics that relate to, I would say, everybody at some level, and we're our, our episode is coming to a close here, but what would be, what would be something, a takeaway that you would say that we all can learn from, from Scrooge, from the Christmas.

[00:27:39] Joe Cusumano: Well, the, the one thing that I've, I find is, especially when I go online, I lo I love to go to Facebook, to the Christmas Carol Page or my page or whatever, and, and people are always saying This version is better than that version. You know, that kind of thing. My, my big takeaway is that in every version that was [00:28:00] ever made, there's good.

[00:28:01] Joe Cusumano: A lot of people say, oh no, the 51 version with Alistair Sim, by far the best version, forget 'em all. I don't believe that's true. I think you have to incorporate and understand and get every single one of them, including, and I'm gonna make a prediction, this 2019 version, which back in 1951, the movie that everyone now says is the cream of the crop.

[00:28:26] Joe Cusumano: You know, it's the best one, the reviewer. They said it sucked , and there's a lot of reviewers today who are saying the same thing about the 2019 version. I think in the next 10 to 20 or 30 years it's gonna be ranked up there with the best of the best, but they all have great things for kids. You know, there's a 38 version that a lot of people say it's too fast and it's too slick, but for kids it's an hour long.

[00:28:56] Joe Cusumano: It was made in 1938. Scrooge was kind of a grumpy old guy. There [00:29:00] was good music in it. It's just gets the kids into the story. It has its worth and value. Mickey Mouse version, the Mr. McGoo version, the musicals, . I mean, they all have something wonderful to them. And so I, I want people to stay open to the whole spectrum of a Christmas Carol.

[00:29:19] John Cordray: I like that. And speaking of, of your book, I'm sure that people can go to Amazon and find that again, it's called Transforming Scrooge Scrooge Therapy in a Blueprint for Spiritual Awaken. And I'll have that in the show notes, the link that you can go right to that book as well. And Joe, before I let you go though, it's something I ask all of my guests and it's about self-care cuz I talk about self-care all the time and I'm sure you probably do as well.

[00:29:47] John Cordray: What are some things that you do that maybe some top two or three things that you do for your 

[00:29:53] Joe Cusumano: self? I love John to learn, so I, I spend a lot of time [00:30:00] watching biographies, reading biographies, and I, I just joined. But it's the great courses I get. The great courses. Anthropology, psychology, mindfulness, mathematics, science.

[00:30:14] Joe Cusumano: But I just joined Wonder, which means that you can, you have access to everything that they have, so, And that's online. So that, to me, it's a little nerdish, I guess. But I love, I love to learn and there's nothing better for me to sit watching something that's fulfilling my soul . You don't like that? 

[00:30:34] John Cordray: Yeah.

[00:30:35] John Cordray: Yeah, yeah. No, I think that's great. Excellent. Well, Joe, it was a real pleasure talking with you and having you come on and, and talking to us about Scrooge and about the Christmas Carol and just unpacking that from a mental health perspective. Excellent insights. So I really appreciate 

[00:30:52] Joe Cusumano: you coming on.

[00:30:53] Joe Cusumano: Thank you very much, John. And I know it's past Christmas, so I can't say Merry Christmas, but. Happy New Year and, [00:31:00] and let's, let's try to get Scrooge out there outside of just December. I think that's the key. Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

[00:31:06] John Cordray: No, no doubt. Well, and I want to thank you, my listeners, for tuning in to this. This has been a, a real special treat to talk about this and, and like we said, it doesn't have to be a Christmas time to talk about what we can learn from Scrooge, from the Christmas Carol and how we can apply it to our own life.

[00:31:25] John Cordray: There's a lot to learn. And so I want you to continue working on your mental health and remember, the Mental Health Today Show has been transforming in helping your mental health since 2015. Take care of my friends. 

[00:31:40] Joe Cusumano: Bye.

Joseph Cusumano Profile Photo

Joseph Cusumano

Therapist and Author

LPC in Missouri since 1986...the 43rd person in the state to pass the exam. I now have licenses in Missouri, Illinois, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Since covid, I've been exclusively a video therapist. I've had covid twice...no taste or smell. I love it. I work on a cash basis only. I've written two books: Transforming Scrooge (1996) and If You Build It (1999). The first book is an analysis of Scrooge's transformation. It is now in digital form (25th anniversary). The other book is about Field of Dreams. It was the first book written about the movie, and it was sold at Left and Center Field of Dreams for 10 years. I was an English teacher/Reading Specialist for 28 years until 2005, and a part-time therapist until I retired. I worked at several clinics and was the Director of Counseling at Lindenwood University from 2013 - 2017. I am a devotee of Henry David Thoreau and Thornton Wilder. I wrote a research paper about Thoreau titled Henry David Thoreau: Secret Schizoid, which was published in the Concord Saunterer in 2020 (came out in February of 2021). I would very much like to appear in late November/early December to discuss the Scrooge book, and to also discuss the controversial BBC remake (2019) of the story starring Guy Pearce. Disturbing, but for therapy purposes, highly instructive.