Photo of therapist in forest

My journey began in rural Southwestern Ontario, in a Mennonite community, spending my summers picking cucumbers and working on the farm. Those early days of hard farm labour ingrained an appreciation for hard work, simplicity, honest living, and helping others. These homegrown values would help guide my journey from the corn fields of rural Ontario to spending over seven years in the Canadian Forces, going to University, getting married, having two children, and working at non-profits, community agencies, and hospitals across Ontario.

I never thought I would be where I am today. I was raised on the virtues of working with my hands, with little emphasis on the value of education, philosophy, or psychology. In many ways, I still relate more to the farmer than to the academic. No one in my family’s history has graduated from University, and neither of my parents graduated high school. I knew I couldn’t afford to go straight into University after high school, so I joined the Canadian Forces and left for basic training two weeks after graduation. I spent the next seven years in the military, learning about life, people, leadership, and perseverance, and earning a Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service. You get to know people on a different level when you spend almost every waking moment together. I spent many long nights having deep conversations with fellow soldiers from all walks of life. Those late nights and long days became my first glimpse into the power of conversation and human connection.

As time passed, I eventually realized that what I loved most about my job was making a real difference in people’s lives. I was told I have a knack for thoughtful and stimulating conversations and should look into a career where I can engage more with people. I initially went to school to become a military Chaplain so that I could support soldiers with mental health issues. But once I started learning, I became more passionate about education and continued with a Master’s degree. At this point, I didn’t know where my education would take me until I did an internship with a local counselling organization. I had done internships before in other fields, but this one stuck with me. I loved the work. I spent countless days and nights reading everything I could get my hands on to become a better therapist. I have never loved learning about something so much. I found my calling.

I began my career in Kitchener-Waterloo, working at KW Counselling Services. I then moved to London to work at Family Service Thames Valley while also working as a family support worker for troubled youth. I eventually moved to Simcoe County to pursue some of my other loves of life: spending time outdoors, running, hiking, canoeing, skiing, and biking. I worked in non-profit agencies and Community Health Centres and helped launch provincial psychotherapy programs with the Ontario Ministry of Health. I eventually realized that the best therapy I could offer people would be in my own practice, and I started my practice in 2017.

My passion for my work has never subsided. I am an avid reader and I do my best to stay up-to-date with world-leading thinkers. I especially love studying the history of psychology, human nature, and how to advance the field of psychotherapy. I also attend regular professional training so I can continue to hone my skills and offer the highest-quality therapy.

So there you have it, from the corn fields of Southern Ontario, to the training grounds of the Canadian military, to the University classroom, and into the therapy office. I think my therapy practice reflects my life experiences in how I balance hard work and authenticity with a soft and inquisitive nature. I aim to provide a friendly and accepting atmosphere while providing high-quality, life-changing treatment.

Ricky Giesbrecht

Ricky Giesbrecht


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