The FRIENDS Programs
With over 25 years of research, the FRIENDS programs, endorsed by the World Health Organisation, are proven effective at building resilience and preventing/treating anxiety and depression in individuals and families of all ages. Specifically, the programs employ a positive psychology approach, focused on building strengths and promoting a healthy lifestyle (rather than on deficits and problems) using mindfulness techniques.
The programs are delivered in a group setting held at the Friends Programs International Foundation Clinic in West End, Brisbane. This clinic facilitates the ongoing research and development of the programs to ensure they are continually improved and adapted based on the latest research. However, the programs are also implemented in many schools, workplaces and other organisations worldwide. For example, the use of the FRIENDS programs in a school can drastically reduce bullying, improve attention and learning as well as the ability of students and teachers to cope with stress.
There are four variations of the FRIENDS program, tailored to suit different age groups. Each of these address the various challenges likely to be encountered at different stages of our life. Specifically, each program gives participants the tools to overcome these age-related challenges, to maintain physical and mental wellbeing, and most importantly achieve happiness.
Ages (4-7)Play-based group learning for the youngest age group.
Friends For Life
Ages (8-11)Play-based group learning with content suited to the 8-11 age group.
My Friends Youth
Ages (12-15)Activity and Individual based learning with content relevant to older children.
(16-18+)Resilience Training for older teens and adults.
Professor Paula Barrett
Professor Paula Barrett is a prominent scholar and international leader in the field of child psychology. Along with being the Founder of the FRIENDS programs and working on their continual development, Professor Barrett has authored many peer reviewed papers, books and articles. Furthermore, she has translated the FRIENDS programs into a number of different languages and formats such that they can be implemented in schools, clinics and workplaces globally.
Please find an in-depth bio for Professor Barrett below:
Our Quality Assurance
To ensure the quality of the FRIENDS programs is maintained, all program facilitators are trained and certified. Teachers, parents or professionals can also become a FRIENDS programs facilitator and administer the programs within schools, workplaces, or other organisational settings (see Online Facilitator Training page).