June 12, 2024

Psychotherapy and Happily Ever After

“I just want to live happily ever after every now and then.” Jimmy Buffett

I think Buffett shows great wisdom in this quote. At one level we would like to live happily ever after but our experience is reality intervenes. So Buffet makes it doable with the “every now and then” addition to the fairytale ending. I try to notice when this happens in my life. Recently, as Katie and I sat at Bub’s, an outdoor café next to the Monon bike trail in Carmel, I noticed. We had ridden a few miles and the bikes sat against the rail while a mother chased her 18 month old daughter between the chairs. We munched on our sandwiches and were drinking lemonade; I asked “are we having one of those ‘happily ever after times now’?” I like noticing…though sometimes it is later, and I can look back and see it from the present but often have been so involved as to miss it as it happened.

Do we get moments of this every day or every week and not notice? I often ask clients “how are you doing now?” My intent is to bring them into the present which is often much better than all those past and future places our mind perpetually tries to take us. Usually as a client sits with me, in the now, it is at least “ok”.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced cheeks sent me high!), author of the best seller “Flow” speaks of the concept of flow. It is in this state of flow that we function in the moment; perhaps, if we asked ourselves then are we “happily ever after” the answer would be “yes”. In the state of flow we are not going over and over either what has happened historically or “what ifs” of the future. In flow we are just occupied in what we are doing…now. While flow can be related to pleasure it is more likely to be connected to being productive and being involved. Often flow will happen as we do work that we are good at and that we feel good about. Time just passes and we are present in the now.

I like it when I notice”Happily Ever after” in the moment or later. It happens for me with family, exercising, or during a therapy session that is connected. By the way, Katie agreed that time was one of those for her too, and apparently noticing did not stop the episode!

Make effort to appreciate those “happily ever after every now and then” times. They may happen more often than you would guess. Maybe you had one today? Maybe now?

When, typically, does “happily ever after” happen for you?


Do you have favorite Rock and Roll quotes that you believe are with wisdom? If so please share them with me.

Interviewing Red

I recently observed a grandson (30ish) “interviewing” his grandfather (mid 80s). It was most tender. The grandson would, with great interest and gentleness, ask grandpa about the distant past. He focused on the first, and then the second (and so on) car grandpa drove. While grandpa was initially reluctant, he warmed to the task. Eventually gramps would, with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips, remember color and make of each car, size of the engine, how fast it went. Gas he said was only pennies a gallon. He noted the reputation he had as “Red”. Grandpa relished, it seemed, being a bit of a “bad boy” in these memories. Their relationship became closer as the old man could remember his youth with dignity and was energized with being a little out of his more recent “grandpa” and “great grandpa” character.

It occurred to me that often, when the old ask the young these same questions, it is seen as prying or criticizing. This interview had quite the different perspective. Part of the difference was the grandson asking honest questions. The grandson was genuinely interested. He wanted to hear of his grandfather; criticism was not part of his agenda.

Often when the older ask the younger the same questions, it is dishonest with the real meaning being “you were driving too fast” or you are being reckless. If too many dishonest questions are asked, then even when honest interest is intended, the questions become heard by the young as ongoing statements of criticism or prying. Communication shuts down.

What a nice conversation for this young man to have with an elder.
Real interest that nourished both. The foundation of honest questions and genuine interest was involved. These are great tools of communication.

New Mental Health Practice Opens in Muncie, Indiana

After 34 years of clinical therapy practice in a community mental health setting, Bill Frederick opened his psychotherapy private practice. Frederick is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in counseling for individuals, couples and families.

His work emphasizes creating effective healthy relationships, managing stress management, marriage therapy, overcoming depression, anxiety, anger management, effective parenting, and chronic pain management. His work highlights the mind body importance and aligns with research that indicates improved mental health contributes to improved physical well-being. Hypnotherapy is a tool he uses. Frederick also provides life coaching, supervision for Social Workers and public speaking.

His practice characterizes the Solution Focused Therapy approach supporting client strengths and abilities to meet the client goals. He attends to and teaches quality of care, using state of the art therapeutic tools. During the last five years, Frederick is a “go to” leader in Indiana for teaching, training and using Solution Focused Therapy. He annually presents this reliable outcomes model at the Indiana State National Association of Social Work Conference and other statewide events. Other workshops include Great Parenting, Use of Stories in Therapy, and Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.

Frederick received a Master of Science in Clinical Social Work at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at DePauw University. He completed post-graduate training in Individual, Family, and Marital Therapy. He serves as adjunct faculty at Ball State University, is a member of National Association of Social Workers (NASW), International Center for Clinical Excellence (ICCE), and Heart and Soul of Change Project, and is certified in the use of Client Directed Outcomes Informed Tools.

Bill Frederick, LCSW, is located at 1945 West Royale Drive, Muncie. Call 765.288.7939 to schedule appointments or request workshop presentations. For more information, visit Solution Therapy Center.