Paula Barrett

Paula Barrett

Professor Paula Barrett
B.Sc (Hons), M.Clin.Psych., MAPS, PhD

Founder, Pathways Health and Research Centre

Author, Fun Friends, Friends for Life, My Friends Youth and Adult Resilience Program

Paula is internationally recognised as a prominent scholar and ground breaking researcher in the field of child psychology. Paula has a distinguished international reputation as a keynote presenter, and 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' programs. Recently, Paula received the Telstra Queensland Business Woman of the Year Award, was shortlisted for the Australian of the Year Queensland Award and the Queenslander of the Year Award, and received the Highly Commended Certificate in the Human Rights Medal of the Australian Human Rights Commission for her contribution to the wellbeing of children, youth and the wider community.

Paula was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship at the end of her high school studies, 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.

Paula is the founding Director of the innovative research-based positive psychology resilience institute, Pathways Health and Research Centre. In 2008, Pathways Health and Research Centre was a Finalist in the Telstra Business Awards in the category of Innovation. Since its creation in 2003, Pathways has helped innumerable families worldwide.

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 Organization 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, Singapore and India, 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.

Despite this impressive list of achievements, Paula remains humble and true to her cause of helping as many children as possible and building a sense of community. She enjoys conducting research and loves working with children. Her passion lies in the preservation of natural environments and the wellbeing of all living beings, including all animals.

Paula is a strong believer in lifelong learning, staying fit and active, and a positive psychology approach. 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 has a passion for the great outdoors and the pristine Australian wilderness. She spends as much of her free time as possible with family and friends exploring the beautiful beaches and Australian Bush land.

An inspiring, dynamic and accomplished speaker, Paula is available for school talks, staff professional development occasions, keynote conference and seminar speaking of all kinds.

Her presentation topics can include –

  • Building resilience in families
  • Strategies for starting school
  • Understanding children through their developmental stages
  • Navigating high school
  • Cyber bullying and Internet safety
  • Taking risks – an inevitable part of growing up


  • Paula’s presentation was greatly appreciated by participants, who found it very inspiring and useful.

    Paula Barrett - TAFE English Language and Literacy Services, July, 2011

    Paula Barrett - TAFE English Language and Literacy Services, July, 2011
    Paula Barrett
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Speaker type

  • Educational consultant
  • Motivational
Paula Barrett