• Ryan Schmidtke

An Unorthodox Path

Some of you reading this may be wondering a little bit about what made me want to get into psychotherapy.


You see, when I was a kid, being a therapist wasn’t really on top of my ‘what do I want to be when I grow up’ list. I wanted to play in the NHL. But being 38 my window is closing on that dream. Thanks to guys like Joe Thornton, however, it is still open a crack! Anyways, I think the greatest contributing factor to me becoming a therapist was the experience I had working as a camp counselor during my teen years.


It. Was. Awesome!


It was really my first time being in a situation where I would actively help people or “counsel” them in some way.


But alas, my teens didn’t last and I couldn’t keep working at camp forever. So, I had to make a decision. Go to school or get a job. I tried school for a bit, but it wasn’t for me at that time. I wasn’t ready. So I got a job. And I actually had a few jobs before becoming a therapist. I’ve worked as a welder, rigger, carpenter, youth worker, cabinet maker, and an addictions worker (there may be some I have forgotten, 20 years is a long time).


"The carpenter's workshop" by Alan Cleaver is licensed under CC BY 2.0


So how did I go from all these jobs, which seem to be all over the place, to narrow it down to psychotherapy? Kinda by accident, if I’m honest. During one of these jobs I realized I had a knack of being able to listen to people. Which if you didn’t know is very important in therapy. With some mentoring, coaching, and encouragement I went to school to become a psychotherapist.


I took a rather unconventional route and ended up being grandfathered into the CRPO in 2015. Yet, this unconventional route is what I think helped me be the therapist I am today. I have some life experience under my belt which allows me to see the world a little differently. I know what it is like to be laid off and the uncertainty that comes with that. I’ve been off work due to illness and know how complex the stress can be for the person involved and their family. I’ve wrestled with career trajectory and whether or not I’ve made big mistakes.


Now I am not saying that because of these experiences I “completely understand” what you are going through. I can’t. It’s your life. However, on top of giving me a greyer beard, calloused hands, and the wisdom to prevent setting my pants on fire (unfortunately this has happened to me on more than one occasion); these experiences also helped me be more compassionate and understanding.


If you are going through a period of life where things aren’t making sense and you need help to sort some of these things out...give me a call. I’d love to hear from you. (I also like hearing about home renovations you may be working on as well 😉) Call us at 613-877-4148 or email us at hello@limestone.clinic and ask for me, Ryan.





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