Services Offered By:
Alyson Pancer BSW, MSW, RSW
Clinical Social Worker/Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness Based Therapies and Yoga Psychotherapy
Providing therapy to adults, children, teens and families.
Biography & Treatment Philosophy
Life is a delicate balancing act – sometimes we need a little guidance and support to maintain it. I can help you explore coping strategies to help you feel better, and embrace positive change, through evidence based therapeutic practices, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and now Yoga Psychotherapy.
Since beginning my Social Work career in 1996, I have been providing individual, couples, family, and group therapy.My extensive experience has placed me in various settings which have included St. Michaels and SickKids hospitals,family health care clinics, and community agencies.
I have graduated with 4 degrees, including my Masters in Social Work from University of Toronto. I have ensured that my approaches to treatment remain current with evidence based practices including CBT (over 4 years clinical training), Mindfulness Based Therapies, and Yoga Therapy. During my career I have dedicated my services to clientsrequiring therapy for varying diagnosis and continue to apply my extensive education, experience, and passion to individuals living with the following mental and medical health challenges:
• Depression and Anxiety disorders
• Trauma/PTSD and Motor Vehicle Accidents • Coping with Medical Diagnoses • Woman Abuse and Sexual Incest Survivors • Parenting • Family/Relationship Challenges • Separation/Divorce and Impact on Children/Teens • School and Bullying Issues • Learning Disabilities
Background and Training
- Extensive training and experience with individual, family, and group therapy since 1996
- 4 Degrees – BSW, MSW, BA (Psychology), AWCCA (Assaulted Women and Children Advocate)
- Extensive training and experience with evidence based practices including: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
- Invaluable work experience and training at St. Mike’s and SickKids Hospitals specializing in Oncology and Palliative Care Child protection and welfare with children/teens, specializing in multitude of special needs
- Coordinated large group programs for women and children exposed to domestic violence
- Presently providing therapy part-time at Family Health Team in York Region.
- Have provided therapy to most diagnosis including various depression and anxiety disorders, as well as to those living with a multitude of mental illnesses
- Have facilitated and presented multitude of workshops combined with professional trainings provided by Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn, Dr. Zindel Segal and Thich Nhat Hanh, Alyson has developed a strong yoga, pranayama and meditation practice, both personally as well as professionally. Currently completing her Phase 1 training of Yoga Therapy Teacher (CYT) at Yoga Therapy Toronto, Alyson is integrating her 18 year + Clinical Social Work and psychotherapy experience, education, training and practice with the teachings of yoga master T. Krishnamacharya, which includes the art, science and philosophy of yoga.
Over the past 19 years I have been a Social Worker and have worked passionately with each and every patient I have had the privilege of coming to know. I recognize that each person is unique and I ensure that newly referred clients are empowered to share at a pace that is comfortable and safe for them. As the sessions progress, working with each persons goals is my primary focus.
I thoroughly love working with populations of all ages and specialize in children and adolescents and their families. Asa mother of 2 boys (aged 23 and 19), I fully understtand the joys and the challenges of parenting and feel confident that these lived experiences only strengthen my counseling skills with the families whom I have continued to work with. I have been very fortunate to provide individual and group therapy in settings which include SickKids and St. Michaels Hospitals, community agencies, and at a Family Health Team in York Region where I provided psychotherapy to patients living with a multitude of mental issues, including depression and anxiety disorders.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidenced based psychological treatment for individuals living with a multitude of mental and physical health challenges, including anxiety, depression, workplace burnout and/or trauma, Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA) and trauma, family relationship difficulties and physical health diagnosis, pain management, loss and grief, etc.
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CBT helps individuals identify how their thoughts and behaviours impact their feelings and physiological sensations which we experience as a result of life’s challenges. So, for example, if you experience a panic attack where you cannot catch your breath, you may be able to calm the panic through healthy, positive self-talk, and/or through mindful deep breathing, to help you feel better.
Further to an initial clinical biopsychosocial assessment, you will receive feedback and recommendations for further treatment, if appropriate. Over 8-12 weeks, you can learn to integrate CBT into your life to help you cope with presenting challenges and/or diagnosis. Evidence has shown that through the use of CBT tools, you can learn to prevent relapse and live healthy, balanced and happy lives.
Homework will be an important and integral part of your healing.
Therapeutic Yoga is an evidence based healing art of awareness, breath, and movement. Therapeutic Yoga helps the systems regain emotional and physical balance and vitality through gentle yoga, breath practice and meditation. It is suitable for all levels.
Suitable for children, teens, adults and families!
- Classes and/or individual sessions designed for 4-7 year olds, 8-12 year olds, and teens and family/partner
- Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness practices and philosophy in child/teen friendly terms
- Age appropriate poses, breathing practices, games, and relaxation techniques
- Best practices for class and behaviour management as required
- Anatomy, physiology, and how Yoga benefits the main body systems and mental health in children and teens
- Developed yoga sequences which support motor, cognitive, emotional, and chakra development
- Yogic approaches to assist challenges of children, teens and/or their families (e.g. disconnection, stress/anxiety, attention, sleep, somatic, etc)
- Effective teaching resources and inspiring yoga and meditation themed picture books
- Use of music, imagery, and props to meet the needs of children, teens and/or families.
Play and Art Therapy for Children and Adolescents
Coming to see a psychotherapist to talk about feelings can often be overwhelming for anyone, including children and adolescents. As a result, children and adolescents continue to suffer in silence.
While they can benefit from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness Based Interventions (including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) (see website for further information), working through play and/or art mediums can help them connect to their thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, sensations, feelings and behaviours in a safe, and at times, fun manner.
Art and play therapy makes it possible for children and adolescents to connect with painful past experiences while coming to understand what their picture looks like from the inside. Like the Titanic, we can only see the tip of the iceberg – not necessarily the cause of the damage and what lies deep inside. Peeling back the layers of anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, experiences of bullying, low self-esteem, etc. can help children and adolescents put the pieces of the puzzle back together again.
An initial clinical biopsychosocial assessment may begin with initial participation with the parent(s) to help the child or teen “break the ice” and find safety in sharing. At the end of the first session, parent(s) and their children/teens will receive feedback and recommendations for further treatment, if appropriate. Over the course of treatment (8 sessions on average) children/teens can learn to integrate evidence based therapies, including CBT and Mindfulness Based Therapies into their lives to help them cope with presenting challenges and/or diagnosis.
Mindfulness Based Intervention Services
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” (Jon Kabat-Zinn).
- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction – MBSR,
- Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy – MBCT,
- Mindfulness Based Therapy for Eating Disorders – MB-Eat
- Mindful Parenting
Through formal and informal practice of Mindfulness Based Therapy (including meditation, gentle yoga, activating your senses, etc), evidence has shown that you can learn to overcome symptoms of anxiety, depression, chronic pain, grief and loss, etc. Through continued practice, you can learn to prevent relapse into those dark, scary, difficult anxious and/or depressive periods in your life.
Further to an initial clinical biopsychosocial assessment, you will receive feedback and recommendations for further treatment, if appropriate. Over the course of treatment (8 sessions on average) you can learn to integrate Mindfulness Based Therapies into your life to help you cope with presenting challenges and/or diagnosis.
Homepractice will be necessary and integral towards healing.
Plans & Pricing
Psychotherapy (60 minutes)
Psychotherapy (90 minutes)
Clinic Hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Evening appointments can be arranged upon request. For more information, and/or to arrange initial assessment, please contact me at:
Phone: 416-913-3080 (ext 302)
Registered Social Work (RSW) fees are often covered and receipts for services will be provided. Please check with your extended health insurance provider to inquire if your plan covers RSW fees. RSW receipts are also eligible for tax deductions.
All cancellations must be made a minimum of 24 hours prior to your appointment time. Any appointments cancelled outside of the 24 hours will be charged in full. Each appointment that we book is in partnership with a practitioner who is focusing their independent career in mental health and wellness. This is their passion and livelihood, and why we have these policies in place. Thank you very much for your understanding.