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DR AVA RUTH BAKER MB ChB Dip Health Sci (Mental Health)


About myself and my work

I am a registered medical practitioner specialising in autism spectrum and other forms of neurodiversity, now based in Wellington region after many years working in Bay of Plenty and Christchurch. My background includes over forty years of general practice with extensive post-graduate training and experience in anthroposophic medicine and other holistic approaches, mental health, the autism spectrum and other forms of neurodiversity. I have also worked as school doctor at several New Zealand Waldorf schools, and as medical officer for Hohepa Canterbury. 

Due to other commitments, my clinical work is now part-time, and while seeing me, clients should also remain enrolled with their regular general practice.

 I offer:

  • for chronic physical and mental health conditions:  a holistic overview, second opinion or in some cases ongoing sessions that may include biography work, contemplative therapy, or other approaches

  • for autism and related developmental conditions (any age): assessment and diagnosis, strategies for autistic individuals and their support persons, ‘translating’ between autistic and neurotypical perspectives, post-diagnosis counselling, contemplative therapy, presentations and workshops.




Because of the wide range of needs clients come for, I normally begin with an exchange of emails and background information, then outline the estimated timeframe and cost before confirming appointments.



About Contemplative Therapy / Reflective Integration Therapy

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

Originally designed for and trialed 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.

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.

 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.

See here for more information by Rachael Lee Harris or for the child version Rit For Kids

To book a session or ask for further information, contact Ava Ruth on



  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.

About Anthroposophic Medicine

Anthropsophic Medicine is a way of practising medicine which is based on a view of the human being as encompassing a self, a psyche or soul, and a dynamic and developing physiology as well as a physical body composed of material substances. This view enables a doctor to understand illness and healing in a way that offers new approaches to treatment.

Treatment often includes recommending botanical and potentized remedies, artistic and physical therapies as well as the allopathic drugs and surgical techniques of mainstream medicine. The unique view of the human being provided by Anthropsophic Medicine guides the Doctor in choosing the appropriate modality.

Anthropsophic Doctors are conventionally trained and registered medical practitioners who have undertaken further studies to be able to examine and treat each case from this fuller concept of the human being.

In a consultation, aspects of the patient’s biography, personality, preferences and habits will often be enquired about as well as the more common questions about symptoms. 

Diagnosis can be conventional, Anthropsophic or both. When treatment choices differ between the conventional view and the Anthropsophic view, we explain the risks and benefits of both and help the patient to make an informed choice.

To book a session or ask for further information, contact Ava Ruth on

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