Fun Friends Blog

After finding out about the FRIENDS program through a school talk delivered by Paula, one mum of two kids decided with the support of her husband to sign up to our Term 3 Fun Friends program. We spoke with her to find out more about her personal experience. She believed the course may be of benefit to each member of the family and would improve their ability to cope with challenging situations.

As the weeks progressed, E has noticed that by each person identifying what they are grateful for each day has been super uplifting for everyone. For the kids especially, when they are in a happier mood they are able to use the skills that have been taught more confidently and proficiently. Some of the highlights of the children’s program E has found include; the kids encouraged to try their best more often, being able to identify feelings, the notion of thumbs up and thumbs down actions and the self-soothing and breathing component.

In conclusion, E feels as though she has enjoyed the Adult Resilience course and has found having the two courses combined to be very useful as it is helpful to have everyone at home talking in the same language.

If you are interested in Paula attending your school to deliver a talk, or if you would like to talk to someone about singing up to the FRIENDS program, please contact us on




It’s not complicated, it’s confident resilience!

Many years ago, I found it necessary to expand the definition of resilience. Decades of working with children and adults with anxiety, has reinforced the necessity to challenge common conceptions, or misconceptions, particularly in relation to resilience!

Resilience is not complicated, it’s simply more than just the ability to bounce back from adversity.

A willingness to accept a new opportunity with confidence and enthusiasm requires resilience. In fact, a resilient person will see a challenge as an opportunity, a risk as a prospect and gamble as a venture …or adventure! Confidence is intrinsically linked to resilience. Without resilience you can’t have confidence, and without confidence you can’t have resilience!

Case in point is Stella (9yrs) who days ago, finished Friends for Life.  During a family discussion after school this week, Stella shared her thoughts on her day, cleverly linking new skills learnt over the last 5 weeks.

“The Friends Program has made me think about why other people behave the way they do – and that a lot of negative behaviour comes from people not being confident. I can then change the way I think about other kids into green thoughts. And it makes me want to be a confident person”

I love working with children, they keep it simple and to the point!

Dr Paula Barrett Silkstone State School

Feedback from Silkstone State School

“Dear Paula,

On behalf of Silkstone State School parents, teachers and neighbouring school colleagues we would like to thank you so much for your wonderful presentation on Wednesday 21st October.

We felt that you presented in such a way that we felt inspired, informed and engaged. Your presentation gave us greater understanding of risk factors and protective factors. The research you shared with us highlighted the value of proactive and preventative actions we could take as educators and parents. You also included so many ideas that we could try at a school level, classroom level or in our homes.

Some feedback from attendees included:

  • Dr Paula Barrett helped me understand how important it is to build the skills for resilience in myself and my students.

  • The idea of ‘immunising’ against anxiety and depression is so inspiring and positive. Dr Barrett had a wealth of information that helped me understand that I can help my child.

  • Dr Barrett inspired me and gave me simple tips that can help me support my child. I had not realised the importance of being active and making sure we all get the sleep we need.

  • I think Dr Barrett has a video camera into my home! Everything she was saying was a massive ‘Aha moment’ for me and helped me realise I can try different strategies to help my children. The idea of ‘helpful thoughts’ and ‘unhelpful thoughts’ is something I will talk to my children about.

  • It is not just me and my family! Dr Barrett helped me realise it is okay to talk to others about what is happening and get help. I found the information on protective factors to be so powerful and gave me great tips I can try.

  • It was so wonderful. I had not realised how much I would get from this talk for my own mental health. I wish I had brought my entire family along.

  • Can we get Paula back?

After listening to your presentation, we have decided as a school that we will review current procedures and investigate ways to incorporate the Friends programs into the curriculum for all students rather than those identified as needing the support.

Many thanks for your wonderful presentation.

Yours in Education,

Kelly Stanson
Deputy Principal
Silkstone State School”

My Friends Youth Blog

Friends_ Resilience_Logo_Square_MFYThe staff and volunteers in this term’s My Friends youth group were privileged to meet and work with so many enthusiastic and inspiring adolescents. It was pleasing to see the participants at ease so quickly and able to open up and partake in group discussions.

This term, we interviewed some of our My Friends Youth participants to find out what they thought of the whole experience. When participants were asked how they felt before coming to the groups, a common answer aligned with something along the lines of “quite nervous as I didn’t know what to expect”. Most of the participants had never done a similar program before, so a lot of the content taught and the way in which it was delivered was fairly new to a lot of them. As the weeks progressed, many felt their nerves dissipate only to be replaced with feelings of excitement and comfort. *James (12), compared coming to the group sessions to going to a friend’s house.

When asked what their favourite part of the program is, answers varied from “The relaxation activities and mindfulness” to “The interactive activities where we all get to work together as a group”. A favourite of James’s was the no shoes part! *Annie (11), really enjoyed the group discussions where everyone got to share their answers. She said she learnt so much just by listening to other people’s experiences and suggestions. During the groups, a noticeable favourite activity was the warm up activity. We began each session by going around in a circle and saying what we are thankful for and something kind we did for someone else. This kind of positivity from the get go helped everyone settle in and open their minds.

What useful skills did the participants learn and when will they use them? According to *Jennifer (13), she has learnt how to better interact with others in a social setting and is looking forward to using step plans to help her work through future challenges. She has found that the skills taught are helpful to use in everyday life and she will try to implement many of them into her daily routine. Another participant said that she’s more appreciative of her friends and brother and will make an effort to be kinder to them. A couple of participants mentioned that over the past 5 weeks they have already been practising breathing exercises before bed in order to relax.

In conclusion, the end of our Term 3 My Friends Youth was bittersweet. There was a lot of excitement to have accomplished the course however we will miss all of the lovely participants!

We now look forward to our Term 4 groups commencing at the end of October.


*names changed for privacy reasons


The annual Queensland Education Resources Expo (Quedrex) bought with it an exciting opportunity for the FRIENDS team to showcase our programs and training opportunities within these programs. Many of our visitors conveyed some of the issues they were experiencing at their schools/ in their classroom and expressed the need for resilience training across staff and students. With age specific programs targeted towards the prevention of anxiety in depression in people of all ages, the FRIENDS programs are compatible for all schools from early childhood into adulthood.

Throughout the day we had many different people arrive at our stall including children wanting to test out our FRIENDS app, teachers from kindergarten through to high school (specialising in different subjects), special needs teachers and school administration staff; all sharing a similar interest in our resilience building FRIENDS programs.

To become a facilitator in the programs of your choice and bring the programs to your school, please follow this link:

to enrol in our next online training sessions. OR, you may like to organise an in service training with one of our friendly staff members.

Thank you!

A humanity message

Listen to Dr. Jane Goodall talking about her life experiences and giving a great message of what makes us human.


“Take advantage of opportunity and above all, never give up”
“Everyday brings its own kind of education and we can learn from it. If we keep our eyes and ears open and think of every day as an adventure, then each day will give us a lesson”

Feedback from a client from over 10 years ago

Hi Paula,

I thought you might like an update on P, who first saw you back in 2005 and did the Fun Friends program.  She is now in Year 11 and achieving amazing results. Her first report card for senior showed 3 A’s and 2 B’s.  She excels at all things musical, singing, playing the piano, guitar and drums (you name it she can pick any instrument up and play it).  Last year she was lead in the school musical and this year she has been accepted into the State Honours Ensemble Program at the Conservatorium for Voice.  She hopes to complete a Bachelor of Music (Performance) and Teaching when she graduates.

Earlier this year she became very ill and after three months of testing was diagnosed with a serious neurological condition, which thanks to the wonderful work of her neurologists and neurosurgeon is under control. Although not life threatening it was/is certainly life limiting for P and she drew on her inner strength to keep giving her all at everything she does.

We knew when we did the Fun Friends program with you back in 2005 that it was something special, but we now know that the early intervention and the skills she learnt through Fun Friends have been the basis for her resilience, strength and success now.

Thank you Paula from the bottom of our hearts for your work and the difference it makes in children (and families) lives.

Kind regards

M and J

Healthy eating is delicious!

Have you considered how much your diet influences your mind and body? Luckily, the best foods for us are all found in nature, which is packed full of all the vitamins and minerals that we need. Fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole-grains are just some of the foods that are worth consideration. It’s never too late to make a change!

Many people all across the planet are taking the step towards cutting animal products from their diets. Here are just some of the fantastic sources of iron that can be used as substitutes.

  • Cashews
  • Spinach
  • Kidney beans
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Quinoa
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Apricots

Here at the Friends Resilience, we teach parents, children and teachers that healthy living is an essential part of feeling good. It’s scientifically proven that choosing the right foods for our bodily needs makes a big difference to our well-being.

If you would like to know more, feel free to contact us on 07 3391 6866. Our world-acclaimed programs will be commencing this Sunday, the 31st of July, a great way to start you and your family’s journey towards resilience.

Empathy is a virtue


When was the last time you were treated with empathy and how did it help you?

Empathy means trying to put yourself in another living being’s position and considering how you would feel if it were you. Having empathetic skills is an important tool for understanding the way another is feeling. When we practise empathy, we can make a difference to the lives of others.

It’s important to remember that animals have conscious feelings as well because they are individuals. Non-verbal communication cues are expressed between both humans and animals, and by showing empathy expresses how you understand. All beings express love, happiness and excitement along with fright, sadness and pain.

Consider the life of another. Consider that man you walk past every day on your way to work who wears the same clothes, begging on the same street. If it was guaranteed that everyone practised empathy at least once daily, wouldn’t the world be a better place? What’s stopping you?

Here at the FRIENDS Programs we teach empathy and compassionate skills because we all deserve to be understood by someone else.

Isn’t it time to make a change?

may you wake with gratitude

Helpful, powerful reminders are an important part of our vitality and health, and that can all begin with a little bit of gratitude. Just imagine, you’re sitting there at your desk and your mobile phone vibrates each hour, sending through a positive text message and helping you to remember just how great you can be. It’s time to not only give others the gratitude they deserve, but ourselves as well.

Sometimes it can seem impossible to remove all those unhelpful, negative thoughts buzzing around in your mind, especially if life isn’t going quite as planned. However, once we acknowledge the relationship between our thoughts, feelings and our behaviours, we can work towards making a change.

This week, the 7th edition of the FRIENDS Programs books are in the making. Our Adult Resilience program will explore the ways in which we can learn to give ourselves helpful, powerful reminders. Our thoughts are just thoughts – they are temporary and you have the power to choose. It’s never too late to send yourself a positive reminder, so go ahead and click ‘send’!

Feel free to call us on 0417 628 389 if you and your family are interested in our world-acclaimed programs, starting on Sunday the 31st of July. Our programs are open on weekends, so both mothers and fathers as well as children can attend the group sessions to learn effective resilience skills for life.