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Neurodiversity Online with Dr. Sarah Sibson

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Megan Walker: Hello everyone. Welcome to Healthcare Online. My name is Megan Walker and today our very special guest is Dr Sarah Sibson, who wears a couple of hats. Dr Sarah is a Specialist GP and she's also the founder and CEO of Doc Sibson Consulting and the Neurodivergent Collective. Hi Sarah how are you?

Dr Sarah Sibson: Hi Megan thanks very much for having me. 

Megan Walker: You are most welcome. Let's get started with who you are and what you do. The good old barbecue question. Tell us about your background and your qualifications.

Dr Sarah Sibson: Absolutely that's the easy one. I am a Specialist GP by training and I have a background in women's health which is where I spent most of my professional life working. And in more recent years, I have leaned into neurodivergence care.

So that's my clinical resume so to speak. And then as a neurodivergent woman myself, I have lived experience of ADHD and late recognition of that. So I work in many arenas and wear many hats as is classic for a divergent person. And the businesses that you mentioned are my primary focus now.

So I have moved out of the traditional clinical care models and into more flexible arrangement that allows me to think outside the box and innovate and connect with people in other ways that I'm passionate about.

Megan Walker: I know that we'll get into this, but I have I have an inkling with this aim that you are helping more people on a bigger scale through your work. Is that one of your driving factors?

Dr Sarah Sibson: Absolutely. Yeah. So the one-on-one consulting, well I absolutely love doing that work. But I only have so many hours in the day to provide that kind of service to people. And I wanted to create a way that I could, yeah, like you said, reach more and have a bigger impact and for positive change for people.

Megan Walker: Amazing. So each of those businesses that we touched on in the beginning, so tell us a bit more about what, what each of them does and who they help. So start with Doc Sibson Consulting. Tell us who is that for? What does it do and who does it help?

Dr Sarah Sibson: Absolutely. So Doc Sibson Consulting is the newer of my business babies and I am providing mentorship to neurodivergent women who are really ready to reclaim their identity and their concept of self and embrace a practice of radical self-love so that they can rediscover the harmony that is created by loving themselves first.

Megan Walker: Oh, that's beautiful. And these are people from any background or are they in the medical field or all?

Dr Sarah Sibson: Across the whole spectrum. So I'm not limited to any walk of life. I have tailored my services for women and gender non-conforming people. So it's very open and affirming. So anybody that feels like I'm their kind of person, I am happy to have them.

Megan Walker: Oh, bless you. That's gorgeous. And tell us about the Neurodivergent Collective. What does it do and who does it serve?

Dr Sarah Sibson: So that is my collaboration platform. So that is the space where I connect with other individuals that are looking to make a change for the lives of neurodivergent people. And chances are you're divergent yourself if you're doing that work. And it's a forum for us to bring our passions and our ideas together to create shared projects and ways to improve the landscape for everybody.

Megan Walker: Oh, that is so cool. You're a cool person Dr Sarah. 

Dr Sarah Sibson: Thank you.

Megan Walker: I love it. And so the next question's a bit hard to answer when we're so close to the work that we do. But I wanted to ask you, what problems do you solve? But that's a little bit limiting. I almost feel now after your fabulous introduction I want to ask "what do you make possible"?

Dr Sarah Sibson: Yeah I like that reframe because I'm definitely not a person who subscribes to the classic rigid approach of marketing and pain point pressures and all that kind of thing. That's definitely not my jam. So I would say that particularly in my work, I'll focus on the Doc Sibson and consulting stuff, because that's direct to consumer, it's really for guiding people who feel trapped in survival patterns where they are people pleasing and kind of falling into martyrdom and self-sacrifice and helping them to reconnect with their hearts, their emotions.

What it feels like to have those feelings and recognise them and moving through that process to empower them and to revitalise their lives, and by using those emotions as a power instead of something that they're ignoring.

Megan Walker: How refreshing. I know having gone through my own daughter's diagnosis that for so many years in that conversation, it was about what we couldn't do or this was the limitation and I just drew that line in the sand and I love what you're doing. That says, okay, let's not focus on that, that medical what's broken model. Now we need solutions and focus on what's possible, what's incredible, what's amazing, what's embracing.

Dr Sarah Sibson: Mm-Hmm.

Megan Walker: Oh, so good. So very much subscribed to that.

You've described the essence of a neurodiversity movement and that model of person centered strength based thinking around neurodivergence, which I think is really important.

So refreshing and so like exciting for all humans. Why should we live through a limitation lens?

Like that's just putting us in a box. So with that in mind, I won't ask you what problem you solve with the Neurodivergence Collective ... I will ask you, what are you aiming to make possible with those projects and collaborations?

Dr Sarah Sibson: Mm-Hmm. So from my experience as a clinician, I noticed the kind of siloed approach to neurodivergence and healthcare for people that are neurodivergent and the difficulties that creates between providers for those people and understanding and kind of mismatch of goals that comes out of all of that. So the collective is more about bringing different client groups together and different walks of life outside of healthcare that have, you know, amazing things to contribute that can advance non-medical projects or the overlap of them to really tap into shared gifts instead of defending a patch and keeping your barriers up. 

Megan Walker: Yes I love that. I love that we are all working together, aren't we? Not just siloed.

We touched on the fact that you've been in practice seeing limited number of people a day, governed by the clock and what's possible in a day. And you've stepped into reaching people nationally or event beyond. How have you gone about that process of scaling and reaching?

Dr Sarah Sibson: Okay so it depends on how you want to approach it. I think it's different for everybody. In my case I decided I was going to jump in with both feet. Why not make a change big if you're going to do it? So I have transitioned away from clinical practice entirely and I've designed a couple of businesses from scratch, as you heard, which is a whole learning process if you haven't done that before.

I'll be launching a one-on-one mentorship and that will flow into a group mentorship program as a way to connect with a broader group of people. These people are ideally the ones who want to be involved and start from the ground up and grow with me along the way. From there, the group mentorship will offer a more accessible price point and widen that access for people so that we're not looking at yet another neurodivergence tax of not being able to get the help that you need because of limitations around scheduling and finances. This also frees my time up to be able to help more people through that model, which is really important to me.

Megan Walker: I love that it's the sharing of time, shared knowledge, but sharing as a community and building relationships too. The membership model.

Dr Sarah Sibson: And it's really important in this kind of work to have other people that are doing a similar thing and learning about themselves in the same way, so that you have that support and understanding at least in your online community, if not in your day-to-day life, you have that love and understanding.

Megan Walker: Definitely. I know that people listening will be thinking, oh my goodness, this is amazing. How do I get in touch with Sarah? So in just a moment, I will ask you to share your details, the best way that people can find out more. But my final question before we do that is what's your vision? What are you hoping, what's the movement here and the bigger picture driving this? Tell us your bigger vision and goal.

Dr Sarah Sibson: It's probably twofold which is why there's two businesses.

So the one that's really close to my heart is the vision of neurodivergent women being truly, genuinely themselves and connected to unconditional, supporting loving relationships in all areas of their lives.

Megan Walker: Beautiful.

Dr Sarah Sibson: And the other side of the vision board is the interconnected, rich depth of community that can be the springboard for neurodivergent people in their own ways, in their own lives, to live authentically without having to wear masks or change who they are as they move through the world.

Megan Walker: Love it, love it, love it, love it. So people listening, no doubt, their ears have picked up to either one of those. How can they find out more? Sarah?

Dr Sarah Sibson: Probably the best place to find the collection of things is the website, which is www.docsibson.com.au. And here is the information on the Neurodivergent Collective www.neurodivergentcollective.com.au. 

 Megan Walker: Fantastic. Well, I will put those links in the bottom of where we are watching and listening to this interview. Sarah, thank you so much for the amazing work that you do.

It really is a movement that I can see you are championing. I know from the many years that we've been working together, like it's been wonderful to see it evolve and good on you for having the courage to put that stake in the ground and say, this is my patch and I I'm going to make a difference in this area.

So thank you. Thanks for your time today. Thank you.

Dr Sarah Sibson: I really love talking to you. 

Links and further information

www.docsibson.com.au
 
 

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