Rubicon Supports TIC Down Under
The necessity of an organization like The Rubicon Group – one that promotes foundational chiropractic education – becomes evident when one considers how many “chiropractors” graduate without ever learning about most elemental components of chiropractic. Such was the case with Dr. Patrick Sim, who graduated from Macquarie University in 1997 but says he “didn’t really ‘find’ Chiropractic (big C intended) for several years” when he took a position with a chiropractor in Adelaide “who made it part of my induction to understand philosophy.”
It wasn’t until this time that Sim learned about essential concepts such as “above down inside out, the triune, and that the body knows how to heal.” Evoking his Australian roots, Sim says his mentor spoke with him about “the ‘Past,’ like some legendary dreamtime.” The “Dreamtime” metaphor from Australian Aboriginal is a particularly apt since it acknowledges the eternal influence of one’s ancestors in informing the present. Sim’s mentor wove a sort of Chiropractic Dreamtime when “Chiropractic was king” and an ancestry that included “legends like Barge, Strang, and the Palmer family.” Despite having graduating as a chiropractor, the education provided by his employer/mentor was the first Sim had ever heard about the landmark Wilk vs. AMA case and the New Zealand report.
However, like so many chiropractors who never discover the “Chiropractic Dreamtime” in chiropractic school, Sim was so struck by this philosophy gap in his own education that he has become passionate about complete chiropractic education for others. His passion has led him to become the spearhead of the movement to create a true ChiropracTIC educational program in Australia and one of the newest members of The Rubicon Group (TRG).
His inspiration to become an educator and activist began with seeing members of his profession performing at their best as part of the “Chiropractors Fight Back” group which came about in response to “organised political medicine’s attacks. There was a lot of professional pressure on chiropractic from the established political medical community, which was promulgated by media. There also existed turbulence within the profession. The AMA in Australia had issued a document called ‘Chiropractic in Australia’ in which it attacked the profession calling it dogmatic, unscientific and dangerous. Internally the profession was working through the amalgamation of two separate representative organisations and was struggling to find common ground. Very interestingly, these are almost exactly the same circumstances we find ourselves in now.
To learn more about Sim and the effort to establish solid, subluxation-focused chiropractic education in Australia – and what you can do to support that effort – read the rest of our interview below:
TCL: Then, what needs to be replicated? In other words, what worked well when the profession banded together to form the “Chiropractors Fight Back” group?
Sim: The Australian Chiropractic profession performed at it best, in fending off the worst. It was focused, intense, and working toward a selfless greater good.
TCL: Speaking of a “selfless greater good” for Chiropractic, what does it look like when Chiropractic is working at its best – both as a practice and as a profession?
Sim: For chiropractic to work at its best, it has to start with the chiropractor. This is true for both a practice and a profession, for I believe that one is just a reflection of the other. The ultimate unit in both of these, the ’soul’ as it were, is the chiropractor. So I see this as asking, “What does it look like when a chiropractor is working at his or her best?”
I think the most critical factor to look at is the life outside of practice, and outside of the profession. My belief is that at its core, chiropractic is a philosophy first…before it is a science, art or profession. I also feel this is where chiropractic is its strongest, in its philosophy…With that in mind then, the philosophy of chiropractic needs to flow into all areas of life for the chiropractor to be working at his or her best.
This philosophy may manifest in myriad ways for each chiropractor but there will be a discernible ease with which the chiropractor “does life” that is reflective of how congruent the chiropractor is with the philosophy. There will be ease in family life, and finances, and romances. This will flow into practice and by extension into the profession as a whole.
And the reverse of this also holds true: it seems obvious to me that this is the cause for chiropractic seemly working at its worst in Australia right now. We have lost our philosophy, or worse, taken on someone else’s mongrel philosophy instead, to clumsily quote Rand.
TCL: Yes, it does seem that the soul of any endeavor is in its philosophy…and how well it guides us in a purposeful life. When do you feel most proud to be a member of the chiropractic profession?
Sim: Well, every day!
However, I’m prouder some days more than others. I think I was most proud of the chiropractic profession when I had the honor of serving as South Australian president. We led a very strong, and ultimately successful, political movement to retain our legislative identity; we also developed a solid media profile and we were the first state in Australia to implement a strategic plan. Man, we were going places!
TCL: What was it that enabled you to achieve that kind of success?
Sim: Our ability to draw a line in the sand based on principle and philosophy kept us pure and passionate. While other groups who were also being affected by the governments drive to rationalise legislation tried to cut deals, we stuck our flag in the ground and said “No.” Eventually all the other professions came and stood with us. It was a great moment to form a coalition of health professions to stand up to the government and to actually win! We called ourselves the “Jedis!”
TCL: What do you value most about being a chiropractor, besides being a Jedi, that is?
Sim: The Vitalistic philosophy, without doubt. It is the one thing that distinguishes us from all other professions on the planet. Without the philosophy, chiropractic is just another modality to treat back pain…
Through the lens of the Chiropractic philosophy, I met my wife. Though the lens of the Chiropractic philosophy, I had children after being told I couldn’t. Though the lens of the Chiropractic philosophy, I get this chance to establish this crazy College!
TCL: What is the impact of this value?
Sim: This is a bit of a double-edged sword. The philosophy ultimately impacts on my responsibility, and I cannot emphasize the meaning of that word in this context enough. The saying, “Ignorance is bliss,” is very true. Life can be blissful when you are ignorant of the effect of your actions. But once you know the chiropractic philosophy, you cannot be ignorant anymore. You have to take responsibility for your life. Once you get ADIO, you can no longer be a victim. Once you get the Triune of Life, you can no longer feed your children junk. Once you get the principle of Time, why would you bugger around and not do something with the time you have? In a nutshell, the impact of the Vitalistic philosophy is: Own Your Life.
TCL: If you are as successful as you envision in creating a truly Vitalistic chiropractic program in Australia, what will the profession look like in Australia twenty years from now?
Sim: In 20 years’ time, the Australian College of Chiropractic has created over 500 Chiropractors. Its graduates, with their superior purpose and skills, have risen to positions of leadership and influence within the profession in Australia and around the world. Those who have opted for private practice are exemplars to the rest of the country in business and clinical excellence. The ACC will have established a cutting edge research facility a decade prior, and is one of a dozen similarly minded facilities around the globe whose network and research output influence policy and politics; and have proven that Chiropractic saves money, restores health, generates greater creativity, and makes you a better lover…I think the profession looks pretty good.
TCL: That’s a wonderful – and very likely – vision of the profession expressing itself optimally absent interference. On the other hand, if you are not successful, what will the profession look like in Australia?
Sim: Well, we will be successful. But in the scenario where we are not, sadly there is no profession. ‘Chiropractic’ will be a modality occasionally used by body-based therapists.
TCL: Just out of curiosity, what is the connection, if any, between Vitalistic chiropractic and the Health Australia Party?
Sim: As far as I can tell the Health Australia Party has similar values but nothing ‘chiropractic’…yet.
TCL: They certainly seem like-minded. Sounds like a potential alliance in the making, perhaps. Speaking of alliances, who (or what) can best support your efforts in creating the Australian College of Chiropractic?
Sim: Support must come from Chiropractors first, and Australians at that. Australian chiropractors need to take responsibility for our current situation. The blood and tears we have lost so far needs to be paid in kind to build the College. We need to bleed into the mortar of this College so that we can take full ownership of it. It might not be your direct fault but we all need to stand up and own the situation.
Words are cheap. In fact they are cheaper than ever with the advent of social media. So we do not need your words. We need your action, and that action needs to be transferring money from you account to the ACC account.
We have the very best people working on this project, and so we will get the job done. We just need the money. How much? Well, to go through the set up process and to get accreditation its going to cost about $500K AUD. We’ve had some real stand-up people give significant amounts but we are still a ways off reaching this first goal. We need this initial half million RIGHT NOW! So come on! Pay your bit!
TCL: Who (or what) might hinder your efforts?
Sim: Like all disease, the worst is from the inside out. The biggest problem the project faces is lack of support and “white anting.” If you consider yourself truly chiropractic, then support us. If you have questions then please, call to ask them. Secondary to this is lack of funds, although this is really a symptom of the support. The great thing is that whilst we had to deal with a few stones being thrown initially, our supporter base (and our bank account!) is steadily growing.
TCL: Um, “white anting?”
Sim: Oh “white anting!” A “white ant” is another name for a termite! So “white anting” refers to being eaten away from the inside, usually by your own kind…a very political turn of phase.
TCL: These are certainly very political times and it’s a very apt phrase for what we’re seeing in the profession worldwide. But, thanks to people like you and the other members of the Rubicon stepping up, we’re also seeing increased understanding of the need for a Vitalistic philosophical underpinning in all health care.
TCL readers who would like to see an example of Dr. Sim’s contribution to having chiropractic included as part of workplace wellness may find a copy of his presentation (rather impressively) hosted on the Australian government website: