Contemplative Therapy / Reflective Integration Therapy

Contemplative Therapy (known formally as Reflective Integration Therapy™) is a structured 12-session programme (1) available here at Aurora, for clients aged 16 years or over, or a alternative story-based 10-session version (2) for children aged 5-12 years.

Originally designed for and trialled with those on the autism spectrum, contemplative therapy may also be a valuable approach for non-autistic adults for whom metaphor, silence and a contemplative approach to life’s challenges appeal.


The goal is “psychological healing, a greater sense of self-awareness and personal growth” (2, p14) by learning to navigate life’s challenges “to a place of stability and inner peace” (1, p25). Discovering in the process that life is “not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.” (1, p64). The underpinning philosophy being that we are not ‘broken’, needing to be ‘fixed,’ but ‘wounded’, needing to be ‘healed and restored to wholeness.’


This revolutionary new approach, strongly endorsed by Dr Tony Attwood and other autism spectrum specialists, was designed by psychotherapist Rachael Lee Harris as an alternative to traditional approaches such as ‘talk therapy’, CBT, mindfulness etc. In doing so, she has drawn on her unique combination of experience as psychotherapist, on the spectrum herself, and her earlier years living in a monastic community as a contemplative nun.


Contemplative therapy draws on innate autistic strengths such as the capacity for “silence, withdrawal, intense focus and repetition” (1, p23) to address challenges commonly faced by those on the spectrum: issues of identity, resilience, self-esteem, sensory / emotional regulation, finding meaning and self-acceptance in a neurotypical world, healing the effects of ‘masking’, trauma, etc.


For more information by Rachael see

or for the child version

For enquiries, contact Ava Ruth Baker who offers this approach at Aurora


  1. Harris,  Rachael Lee. Contemplative Therapy for Clients on the Autism Spectrum: A Reflective Integration Therapy™ Manual for Psychotherapists and Counsellors Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
  2. Harris, Rachael Lee. RIT for kids: Contemplative therapy for young children on the autism spectrum (ages 5-12) 
  3. Attwood, Tony – Foreword to reference 1.