Being kind to yourself changes your brain and increases emotional resilience.
Being kind to others changes the world.

DR Anna Friis 

Anna is a psychologist based in Auckland, New Zealand, welcoming therapy clients to her Ponsonby clinic. She also offers online consultations. She is a Certified teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) with a deep personal commitment to these practices as pathways to increased well-being and flourishing. Learning to be mindful and to treat oneself with kindness when meeting life's inevitable challenges is a powerful antidote to depression, anxiety and burn-out, enabling one to live with ease, connection and contentment.    
"Working with you has changed the most important relationship in my life .. the relationship with myself. For that, I am truly grateful." Vanessa



Evidence shows mindfulness and compassion practices are balms for many modern day ailments and can increase resilience and wellbeing.  Anna is a regular speaker to both corporate and community audiences, sharing personal, professional and academic expertise.



 Life can be difficult. Learning new tools to cope with emotional and physical distress can help. If you feel that compassion-based therapy may be right for you,  contact Dr Anna Friis for an appointment (in person and on-line services available)



 Anna offers training in mindfulness and self-compassion in New Zealand and around the world. She is a Certified teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion with the Center for MSC (, and is a Mentor for the programme through the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness . She also offers monthly free zoom meditation drop-ins to which anyone is welcome. (Click courses tab for current training options and enrolments)



Short Course in Self compassion hosted by New Zealand Psych Society May 7 to June 13 - Anyone is welcome, no prior experience necessary. See link below or email to enrol

See link for booking

Mana Retreat Centre: September 11-16, 2024
Take the evidence-based MSC programme, in a five day format, taught by New Zealand’s only Certified trainers, Dr Anna Friis and Mara Elwood (AThR). MSC, developed by Drs Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, has been shown to reduce burnout, caregiving fatigue, anxiety, stress and depression, as well as improving overall wellbeing.  Held at the beautiful Mana retreat centre on the Coromandel, the retreat includes optional yoga, qigong, massage, and creative arts activities. Learn essential skills for living a more easeful life and tools to share with others. This training fulfills the prerequisite for MSCTeacher Training.  Register interest below to be alerted to the opening of the booking register Feburary 2024.

Book me in

featured blog post

Sunday, September 5, 2021

There was a little Blackbird

This morning I walked past a small blackbird, contorted in pain and turning in small desperate circles on the pavement. A part of me wanted to pretend I hadn’t seen it, but I made myself stop, lean towards the feathered creature and work out the options for helping. I did what needed to be done. It was ghastly, but I'm still glad I stopped. Before this pandemic began, way back when the world seemed like a different place, many of us were perhaps more easily doing our version of walking past the suffering bird. If we looked away, perhaps we didn't have to see. Along came Covid and the presence of suffering all around us has become unavoidable for anyone who has their eyes open. No country has been spared. Alongside many organisations, the US-based Centre for Mindful Self-Compassion ( stepped up and began offering free online meditation circles for anyone in the world who wished to join. We'd love you to join us. Click below to read more and to find the link to join up.

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Unbusy Yourself: There's no Time to Waste

This summer, for the first time in what feels like way too long, I have spent day after day just with myself and my beloved. Real conversations have unfolded. We have had time and space, and felt expansive and safe enough to say things that needed saying, and loving enough to hear them with an open heart. We have learned wonderful new things about each other after all these years together. We’ve had real fun. We noticed how when days slow right down, they become curiously full. Turns out there is a lot going on when we unbusy ourselves. ... click below to read more.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

It's Time to Rest

My body hurts. Whispers of new pain have slowly surfaced over the last ten months. Aches and twangs in my neck, tingling in my shoulders, and an unusual kind of twisting in my spine that has affected my hips.  I am in pain because my son has been sick this past year, and I’m his mum.  My body has quietly been soaking up the trauma and sadness, burying it inside, kindly allowing my mind the space it needed to get on with getting on. There has, indeed, been a lot to get on with. Hospital stays, doctors meetings, multiple surgeries. Keeping vigil. Witnessing. Helping my brave boy shoulder some of the shock of a surprise diagnosis and its consequences. Trying to make sense of a world when a young, fit, gorgeous man can have his life turned upside down out of nowhere. Carrying on with life. Having him living back at home. No time to feel it.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019


A few weeks ago, just before New Year, I spent an hour or so lost in a big sea, swept several kilometres from shore, holding tightly to my paddle board. I felt very small, very fragile, riding increasingly large ocean swells. A decision to test my new board without checking the conditions found me caught in an escalation of off-shore wind and currents – and in trouble. Eventually I got rescued by the local surf life saving crew in an IRB responding to calls from people who had seen the wind blow up and take me away. I lived to tell the tale. And I sure won’t be going paddle boarding in conditions like that any time soon. So, why am I telling you this? Other than an opportunity for a shout out to the local surf life savers (thanks guys, you’re awesome) what was interesting to me was the realisation that I wasn’t panicked, and I think that’s hands down thanks to my meditation practise ... click below to read more.

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  • Practise mindfulness and self-compassion in your daily life

  • Learn how to handle difficult situations and emotions with greater ease

  • Learn how to motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism

  • Learn tools to transform challenging relationships 

  • Increase resilience and learn tools to prevent burn-out

  • Practise the art of savouring and self-appreciation

show me how

Dr. anna friis Ph.D

Health Psychologist
B.A. PGDipSci, M.Sc (Hons),
PGDip Health Psychology, PH.D