Anna Nelson-Smith

Anna Nelson-Smith



About me

Reaching out to talk to a counsellor can be scary, and it’s okay to feel that.

Reaching out is also a sign that a part of you knows you need some support with something. This spark in you, no matter how small, is what I might call your potential for growth.

I can offer you a space to just be yourself, to explore how you’re feeling, or look at a specific situation in your life that brings you discomfort, pain or unhappiness. Sometimes it’s hard to even know how we feel, as our emotions are complex and often present us with feelings we don’t want to have.

Through counselling you can learn to accept yourself as you are, and in doing this you create the possibility for things to change. Through a process of developing self awareness it can become possible to feel more balanced and feel like you have more choices available for how you want to live.

Counselling can be a challenging process, as you navigate aspects of yourself that you might normally keep hidden. It can also bring relief, to know that these parts of you can be heard and accepted in a non-judgemental and safe space.

My background is in Humanistic counselling, and I work mainly from the Gestalt perspective, which means I am interested in all that you bring of yourself, mind, body, soul, spirit, and will endeavour to find with you new ways of making sense of your experiences. In sessions I might invite you to use a range of creative ways to express or communicate your thoughts and feelings, as it’s not always possible to do this with words.

The main thing to remember is that I aim to be led by you - my only agenda is to support your personal journey, whatever that brings.

If you have any questions about how counselling might work for you, or would like to book an initial session to find out, please get in touch. You can use the email link on this website, or if you prefer you can call me on 07715 069356.

What is Humanistic and Gestalt Counselling?

Humanistic counselling is a holistic approach to healing through relationship. At its core is the fundamental belief that deep down underneath your many layers, you are Okay. It believes, therefore, that you have the potential within yourself to grow and change and that you can facilitate your desire for growth through developing your self-awareness.

It rejects traditional models of diagnosis, preferring to place your experience at the centre of the work and allow your understanding of yourself to lead the therapy. This doesn’t mean it’s not challenging, as counselling can be at times, but rather it seeks to facilitate natural change processes in ways that are meaningful and sustainable for you.

Gestalt is a German word that has no direct translation to English but represents wholeness, with the idea of many parts coming together to make one shape or form. Gestalt therapy is more concerned with asking how rather than why something is as it is, and employs a range of creative ways of exploring and understanding your ‘self’, with the goal of becoming more aware of what you are feeling, thinking and doing in the present moment.

From a Gestalt perspective, your ‘self’ is understood as a process of contacting: what happens at the boundary between you and your environment? How do you make contact with your world and those around you? The way that you move about your world is a combination of many things – the different parts that contribute to the way you experience yourself as ‘whole’.

That means that all of you matters. You have many ways of knowing who and how you are, from your experiential in-the-moment perceiving to your cognitive thought processes and reflections: these are all relevant.


I have experience in working with people with a range of issues, many of which don’t always fit into a neat category. I will never seek to put a label on you, but here are some words and phrases which might express something of what you are experiencing:

  • anger
    exploding with rage at ‘small’ things; ‘losing control’ and feelings of regret; inability to express angry feelings or to feel anger
  • anxiety
    worrying a lot; circular, racing thought patterns; feelings of panic and fear
  • depression
    feeling sad for ‘no reason’; low energy and tiredness; lack of motivation; feeling numb and dissociated; inability to see the meaning in what you are doing; lack of connection with friends and family; wanting to be alone; difficulty sleeping and getting up in the morning; feeling irritable; pleasure is unavailable
  • dissatisfaction
    at work; at home; with life
  • existential thoughts
    feeling that life is pointless; feeling lost and confused about your purpose in life; feeling overwhelmed and helpless - carrying the weight of the world; difficulty finding meaning
  • identity
    how do you find your place in this world?
  • isolation
    you feel lonely a lot of the time; you have friends but struggle to feel connected; you don’t have anyone you feel close to; you spend a lot of time alone
  • lack of direction
    you don’t know what you’re doing with your life; you feel bored; you haven’t found your passion
  • loss
    you have lost someone or something important to you; a sense of grief but with no apparent cause
  • relationships
    you find yourself repeating relationship patterns that you don’t enjoy; you are struggling with your partner; you are struggling because you long for a meaningful relationship; your relationship history prevents you from making a loving connection with someone special; you find it hard to express yourself or ask for what you need in your relationships; you feel ‘maybe I’m just supposed to be alone’ but you don’t want to be
  • self development
    you want to understand yourself better; something, you don’t know what, is holding you back from fully living life; you have a lot of good things in your life, but you still feel something is missing
  • shame
    you feel exposed and self-conscious; certain situations lead you to withdraw and go silent and you’re not sure why; you don’t want to be looked at and find eye contact difficult; you feel small and find it hard to articulate what you are feeling; you feel disempowered
  • stress
    you find it hard to relax; your emotions feel uncontrollable e.g. you are prone to snapping or bursting into tears; you feel powerless to change your circumstances and are burning the candle at both ends
  • suicidal thoughts
    you might not feel you want to act on these feelings, but sometimes you think it would be better if you weren’t alive; you can’t share these kinds of thoughts with anyone

Training, qualifications & experience

I am a fully qualified Humanistic counsellor and a Registered Member of BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy). I abide by the BACP ethical framework, and all our sessions will be confidential.

I regularly make use of CPD opportunities that support me to keep developing my skills and make sure that I am up to date with new research.

Professional Training

  • BSc (1st) in Reflective Therapeutic Practice (Middlesex University)
  • Diploma in Humanistic Counselling (Metanoia Institute)
  • Contemporary Trauma Practice (With Relational Change/Miriam Taylor)

Animal Assisted Psychotherapy (Workshop)
Eco-Psychotherapy (Conference)
Psychotherapy and the Natural World (Conference)
Suicide Awareness (Maytree workshop)
Understanding the Psychology of Abusers (Workshop)
Embodying Social Justice (Conference)
Therapy’s Embodied Styles (Gestalt Centre workshop)
British Gestalt Journal Seminar Day
The Loss of Innocence (Workshop)
Energetic Self-Care (London School of Biodynamic Psychotherapy workshop)
Attachment and Separation (Workshop)
Embodied Intersubjectivity (Chiron Association for Body Psychotherapists workshop)

Member organisations


Accredited register membership

Other areas of counselling I deal with

  • Dissatisfaction
  • Existential thoughts
  • Identity
  • Lack of direction
  • Loss
  • Psychosomatic complaints
  • Relationship issues
  • Self-development
  • Shame


My fees are £55 for a 50 minute session.

Fee is payable in advance or on the day of the appointment, preferably by bank transfer.

I hold limited spaces at concessionary rates. Please get in touch to discuss this with me.

Sessions are 50 minutes and take place at the same time each week (although occasionally sessions can be moved).

I require five days notice for cancellation of a session, otherwise the full session fee will be payable. This is because once your regular appointment time is booked, I reserve that slot for you and cannot see anyone else in this time.

Further information

I practise at Norwood Therapy Rooms in West Norwood, South East London.

This is about five minutes walk from West Norwood train station and within easy reach of Dulwich, Crystal Palace, Gypsy Hill, Sydenham Hill, Forest Hill, Streatham, Norbury, Tulse Hill, Herne Hill and Brixton.

The area is also served by the following bus routes: 2, 68, 196, 315, 432, 468, 690, N2, N68 X68, 322.

The entrance on Chestnut Road is discreet. Unfortunately there is no waiting room, so please do not ring the bell before your session time.

I regret that this room is not wheelchair accessible.

Please note that I do not work with couples or under 16s.

Maps & Directions

London, SE27

Type of session

Online counselling: No
Telephone counselling: No
Face to face counselling: Yes

Practical details

Sign language: No
Other languages: None

Types of client