• Yellow flowers facing the sun against blue sky with Clarissa Pinkola Estes quote "turn towards the sun"
  • Welcome

    Please note I am currently on maternity leave and not taking on new clients.


    Now more than ever we need to look after our emotional health and expand our inner resources.

    You don't have to manage on your own.


    I can see you in person in a setting that supports appropriate social distancing

    or if you would prefer to stay online for now, we can do that too.


    If you would like to know more about how I can support you, please get in touch and we can talk about what you need.


    I am a fully qualified and registered therapist with experience of working holistically with all sorts of issues.


    I will offer you a warm, supportive and creative space in which to explore whatever it is you are feeling. There may be something specific that is causing you pain, tension or unhappiness, or perhaps you are just aware of wanting something to be different and having a sense of not living vibrantly or even contentedly.


    At the moment, you are reaching out ­– a sign that a part of you knows you need some support. This spark in you, no matter how small, is your potential for growth. I can help you work through your difficulties and create the possibility for things to change.


    My background is in Humanistic counselling, and I work mainly from the Gestalt perspective. This 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.


    Please get in touch if you have any questions about what it might be like to work with me as your counsellor or would like to book an initial session to find out. You can email me or use the contact box on this website.

  • Alice in Wonderland caterpillar asks Alice who are you?

    “Who are you?” said the Caterpillar.
    “I - I hardly know, sir, just at present - at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”


    Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

  • Issues

    I have experience 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:


    exploding with rage at ‘small’ things; ‘losing control’ and feelings of regret; inability to express angry feelings or to feel anger


    worrying a lot; circular, racing thought patterns; feelings of panic and fear

    chronic health issues

    you have recurring problems with your physical health that no longer respond to medication; you feel frustrated, tired and helpless from dealing with a long term health condition; you are curious about the link between your physical and emotional health; you live with or are close to someone suffering ongoing health issues and this is affecting your emotional wellbeing

    creative awareness

    you're struggling to get in touch with the creative vibrancy you once had; you've lost your sense of passion and wonder; you're curious about how your creative and emotional lives collide; you want to work on your issues in a spontaneous and creative way


    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


    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


    how do you find your place in this world?


    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 have close friends but are missing having a meaningful intimate relationship

    lack of direction

    you don’t know what you’re doing with your life; you feel bored; you haven’t found your passion


    you have lost someone or something important to you; a sense of grief but with no apparent cause


    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


    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


    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

  • Anna Nelson-Smith counsellor & therapist

    Hi, I'm Anna Nelson-Smith

    I'm a qualified counsellor working with a Humanistic and Gestalt approach.


    I would love to hear from you.

  • About Me

    When I first began therapy I found it hard to know or identify my feelings accurately and I had little sense of connection to my body or sensations. I wasn’t actually aware that my body didn’t really feel a part of me, and my long-term somatic complaints only served to keep me further apart from my physical self.


    This aspect of mind and body separation is important because it was getting in the way of my ability to feel happy. I was stuck in repeating relationship and work patterns, unsure of what I wanted in life.


    Gradually, with the support of my therapist, I came to notice how much information my body had for me, and more specifically how my movement patterns said so much about my way of being in the world: as I came to inhabit my body more, and developed my self-awareness, I found a truer, more complete, version of myself.


    These personal experiences and continued embodied enquiry inform how I practise as a counsellor and enable me to bring myself more fully and presently to the therapeutic process.

  • My Core Interests

    The basis for my work as a counsellor comes from the belief that we are intricately connected to other humans, creatures, our local environment and the wider world. I think that it is sometimes our sense of disconnection from and hopelessness in relation to these things that can cause anxiety, stress and loneliness, even though we may not recognise this as part of our problem.


    I am passionate about equality, and will always have time for discussions around identity and diversity. I approach our emotional world in a similar way: there is no issue too big or too small and all of our feelings are valid and deserve to be heard.


    I am especially interested in Ruella Frank’s work on developmental movement patterns and how we develop in the first years of our lives – the non-verbal ways of communicating that we learn in tune with our caregivers and our environment that stay with us into our adult lives – and am currently undertaking professional training in this respect with the Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy program with the Center for Somatic Studies.


    I believe that we are born from and into relationship: we are conceived from relationship and we rely on our mothers for survival in the womb and on our caregivers once we are born. We cannot survive alone. This is fundamental to understanding our needs as adults, even if we are not accustomed to thinking about our friendships, family ties, acquaintances or intimate encounters in these terms. Relationship is everywhere we are.


    Therefore, I believe that effective healing also has to take place in relationship. This doesn’t have to be with another person, but it’s a good place to start.

  • Wren in hazy bushes with Rumi quote, there is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen
  • Training Qualifications &

    Continued Professional Development (CPD)

    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)

    Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy (Center for Somatic Studies/Ruella Frank)



    Chronic Pain and Disrupted Early Attachments (Webinar)

    The Hungry Ghost - A Biopsychosocial Perspective on Addiction (Webinar)

    Working in an Existential Crisis (Online workshop)

    Using Creative Arts Online (Online workshop)

    Women on the Couch: understanding female desire (Seminar)

    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)

  • Anna Nelson-Smith BACP registered logo
  • What is Humanistic & Gestalt Counselling?

    Dragonfly hovers near white pond lilly
  • 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.

  • Fees

    Pink wildflowers against hazy sky
  • Please note I am currently on maternity leave and not taking on new clients.


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


    Initial consultation – £50 

    Continuing sessions – £60


    I hold a limited number of spaces at a concessionary rate. Please contact me for details.


    I require one week's 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.


    Payment is due on the day the session is held, in cash, or by bank transfer prior to or during the session.

  • Location

    Woodland temple path/steps
  • My practice is based in in South East London and East Sussex. 


    I am currently on maternity leave and not taking on new clients.

  • Contact Me

    If you have any questions or would like to have a brief phone consultation, please get in touch.

    Privacy Policy
    Website Privacy Policy
    This Privacy Notice gives details of why and how I, Anna Nelson-Smith, collect, receive and protect (or “process”) personally identifying information (or “personal data”) from users of my website (www.turntowardsthesun.co.uk). I will also provide you with a Data Processing Statement in our first session which details on-going data processing and which I will ask you to sign if we continue working together.
    •	I consider my commitments with regards to privacy an extension of my ethical commitments as a counsellor and therefore fundamental to good practice. 
    •	I aim to be completely transparent about how I process your personal data, therefore you can expect that any data you provide will be handled only in accordance with this Privacy Policy and my Data Processing Statement. 
    •	Your data will not be shared beyond what I describe in this Policy. 
    •	I will only use your information to provide you will details about the services requested from me or, if you become a client, to communicate with you about appointments.
    By visiting my website you are accepting and consenting to the practices I describe that apply to the use of my website. By continuing to use my website you are agreeing to my use of cookies described below.
    I may make changes to this Privacy Notice which will be made available here. I suggest you check this page for information on my up to date Policy. If you become a client I will inform you of any major changes in person and/or in writing.
    Data Processing: What, How and What For?
    I will collect personal data processed directly, the legal bases for which is my legitimate interest in being able to determine your counselling needs and to be able to respond appropriately:
    •	Information provided by you when you write a message via the contact form on my website, including your name and email address and any information you include in your message. This information is stored in my business email account and will be destroyed within one month if you do not make a booking.
    •	Information provided by you when you call me, including your full name, phone number, details of your counselling needs to the extent that they are shared, and email address if you make a booking. This information is handwritten, kept in a locked cabinet, and will be destroyed within one month of you making contact if you do not make a booking.
    While you are using my website, the following information may be processed indirectly:
    •	Your Internet Protocol (IP) address. This is a numerical label used to connect your computer to the internet by identifying your host or network interface and location.
    •	Cookies are like memory for web pages: they are pieces of data that websites place on visitors’ computers’ to store information. My website (hosted by Strikingly) uses:
    o	cookies which are essential to website functionality (e.g. navigating the website): without these the website wouldn’t work properly. Therefore if you do not accept my website cookies this may effect your experience of using the site.
    o	cookies for analytics, to track how many people are visiting my site, what countries they visit from and how long they spend looking around.
    o	cookies that mean my website recognises you when you return to the site.
    •	I also use a website analytics service, Google Analytics, which use cookies to provide me with information such as how many people are visiting my site and from what location and what time, which Google Ads they have responded to, what device they used, how long they spend on my site and which search terms they used to find me. Knowing these things helps me to improve my website content and functionality.
    You can configure your browser to notify you when a cookie is set, to block all cookies or accept all cookies. For more information on both Strikingly and Google Analytics cookie usage, please visit: 
    Strikingly: https://support.strikingly.com/hc/en-us/articles/214364818
    Google Analytics: https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/analyticsjs/cookie-usage
    Information Transmission and Security
    Please be aware that the internet can never be a completely secure method of communication. With this in mind, please only share details via my contact form or by email that you feel comfortable with. Once the information is with me, I will take all possible measures to deal with, store and erase it securely. 
    Your Rights
    Under the GDPR you have the right to:
    •	request confirmation that your data is being processed (i.e. this document)
    •	access copies of your personal data
    •	request any supplementary information relating to data processing
    •	request to have inaccurate personal data rectified or incomplete personal data completed, in certain circumstances
    •	request to have your personal data erased (also known as ‘the right to be forgotten’), in certain circumstances
    •	request that the processing of personal data is restricted, in certain circumstances
    •	request to obtain and reuse personal data for your own purposes or to send to other services
    •	object to the processing of your personal data based on ‘legitimate interests’
    To exercise any of these rights you can contact me verbally or in writing and I will respond to your request within 30 days.
    If you have a complaint about the way that I handle your personal data, please contact me in the first instance. If I cannot resolve your concerns in a way that you find satisfactory, you can lodge a complaint with the ICO: 
    Website: https://ico.org.uk/concerns/
    Telephone: 0303 123 1113
    For more general information about GDPR, visit the ICO’s website: https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/
    Please address complaints, comments and access requests to:
    Anna Nelson-Smith (Data Controller)
    Email: anna@turntowardsthesun.co.uk
    Tel: 07715 069356
    Information Commissioner’s Office Data Protection Public Register Number: ZA318508
    © Anna Nelson-Smith 2018