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

DR Anna Friis 

Anna is a registered health psychologist based in Auckland, New Zealand, welcoming private clients to her Ponsonby clinic and also offering 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)


Self-Compassion at the frontline: Caring for the Carer One-Day Workshop, St Francis retreat centre, hillsborough, auckland
Saturday September 11, 2021 $300

Self-compassion is not just self-care and neither is it a sign of weakness or self-indulgence. It is a potent practise that enables us to stay afloat when life is difficult, to flourish and be happy in spite of life’s inevitable challenges. For those working in caregiving roles on any level - or at the frontlines of health care in New Zealand, self-compassion is a state of being that helps us to care for others while at the same time caring for ourselves; an evidence-based buffer against burn-out and empathic distress. Dr Anna Friis and Mara Elwood will show how self-compassion helps us to know what we need, and to maintain equilibrium and warm-hearted connection with ourselves and others, whatever life’s circumstance. Come and enjoy a day of practise and space, learn new skills, and reconnect with yourself in the beautiful environ of the St Francis Retreat Centre, Hillsborough, Auckland. Morning and Afternoon teas and lunch included: This workshop is also suitable for the general public as well as to practising health professionals. There is accommodation available at the Retreat Centre for those wishing to stay overnight. Contact St Francis directly for overnight enquiries.

Book me in

featured blog post

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. Yet, of course I am in pain; my son has been sick this past year, and I’m his mum. It seems 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. And there has 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 for tears.

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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

what is self-compassion?

Renew Our Self-Compassion for the New Year⠀
2 Free Mini Silent
Meditation Retreats⠀

Dec. 30th or Dec. 31, 2020⠀
Join your favorite MSC teachers during one
or both of MSC Circles of Practice's 2 Free
Mini Silent Meditation Retreats.⠀

December 30⠀
4pm Steve Hickman
5pm John Julian⠀
6pm Anna Friis⠀

December 31⠀
7am @christophergermerphd
8am Christine McMulkin⠀
9am Rochelle Jaffe⠀

*All times PST. To register

Dr. anna friis Ph.D

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