Paula Maria BARRETT

Born: 10/09/1962

Special Achievements:

Dr Paula Barrett worked tirelessly to reduce stress, anxiety and depression and prevent suicide in children via a resiliency program called FRIENDS, which Paula authored and implemented in the early 1990's.  This program is now taught in clinics and schools throughout  the world.  In addition to extensive volunteer and community work Paula has opened the Pathways Health and Research Centre and established a charitable trust to help underprivileged schools and communities around Australia without profit.

Paula has won four scholorships in her early years and many awards.

1995 Awarded PhD in Psychology from the University of Queensland.

1999 Australian Psychological Society Early Career Award

1998 Australian Association of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Tracey Goodall, Early Career Award.

2000 Clinic Director at Griffith University School of Psychology.

2006 Adjunct Professor School of Psychology University of Queensland.

2007 Australia Day Achievement Award for outstanding services in the community for families and children.

2008 Telstra Queensland Business Woman of the Year Award.

2008 Queenslander of the Year Award Finalist.

2008 Australian of the Year Award, Queensland Finalist.

2008 Telstra Business Awards Finalist in the category of Innovation.

2008 Certified Speaking Professional, National Speakers Association of Australia.

2009 Highly Commended Certificate, Human Rights Medal Australian Human Rights Commission.

Additional Information:

Dr Paula Barrett has been published widely in the area of prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression and the promotion of resilience through the evidence-based Friends Resilience Programs. Paula received the Highly Commended Certificate in the Human Rights Medal of the Australian Human Rights Commission for her contribution to the well being of children, youth and the wider community. She has been recognised as being amongst the top 1 percent of publishers within the field of Psychology and Psychiatry at an international level.

 Paula was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship at the end of her high school studies, and a Commonwealth Scholarship in 1991 to complete her research Doctorate, the National Australian Association for Cognitive and Behaviour Therapy Early Career Award for her research and innovation in the field of Clinical Psychology in 1998, and the National Australian Psychology Society Award for outstanding scholarship in the discipline of Psychology in 1999. Paula also received the ‘Lord Mayor’s Australia Day Achievement Award’ for far-reaching services in the community for families and children. She is a member of the Centre for Excellence in Mental Health at the Australian National University.

 The Friends Resilience Organisation was founded in 2017. The Friends Resilience is responsible for Worldwide Training in the Friends Resilience Programs. Training is delivered in an interactive format online and the FRIENDS eBooks are also distributed through our website. (www.friendsresilience.org)

 For over two decades Paula has authored and evaluated the well-known FRIENDS for Life program recognized in an evidence-based review conducted by the World Health Organisation for the prevention and treatment of childhood and adolescent anxiety and depression.

The FRIENDS program has achieved worldwide success within Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Hong Kong, China, the US, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, and is also undergoing randomized controlled trials in many other countries.

 In 2007, Paula’s Fun Friends program was officially launched by the Queensland Premier to promote resilience and aid in the prevention of anxiety in 4 to 7 year olds. Paula has also published FOCUS, a recognised treatment for OCD that has been proven effective after 7 years follow up.

 Paula is an acclaimed and engaging speaker in both international and national forums, having delivered numerous keynote addresses worldwide. Collectively her prolific writing, generosity of spirit and fervour for research have had a significant impact on the lives of literally thousands of children all over the world.

 Paula receives excellent feedback for her seminars and she is passionate about helping and working with children.

 Paula is a strong believer in life long learning, and staying active. She enjoys spending time with children and her family. In particular, she loves taking them to natural reserves with waterfalls and creeks to have fun and adventures. Paula also volunteers at Animal Sanctuaries.

 Paula loves the Australian outback. When she can, she goes to a quiet Island where she enjoys watching the marine life, swimming, and running along the beach.

 Paula supports Animals Australia. Paula believes our society would benefit from a change of paradigms in regards to the way we treat animals who are Sentient Beings just like us. We need to develop understanding for all living beings wellness and we need to stop their unnecessary suffering, and to promote cruelty free eating habits.


  • Image - Dr Paula Barrett

    Photo courtesy of Paula Barrett.