Peak House Program Overview

Peak House is a ten-week, live-in, treatment program for British Columbian youth experiencing problems with drugs, including alcohol. We are located in Vancouver, operated by Pacific Youth and Family Services Society, and funded by Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. We are a suitable treatment option for youth with the willingness to get back on track with their lives, but whose challenges overextend the resources of the family and local treatment professionals.

Peak House is a voluntary program, for youth aged 13-18 (inclusive), all genders are welcome. We do not offer detox services, we ask that clients abstain from substance use for a minimum of seven days prior to entering the program.

Assessment & Orientation

During the first 2 weeks in the program, the Intake & Assessment Counsellor works closely with new resident to help orient them and assess treatment readiness. During this time staff and resident collaborate to determine program suitability and willingness to participate in the remaining eight weeks of the program. After the assessment phase, a therapeutic plan is developed to outline treatment goals and a welcoming ceremony is held.

Treatment Approach

• While we do not think that any one model, theory, or framework holds a monopoly on what is effective for young persons struggling against the problem of substance misuse, we make the assumption that all young persons would like to become more the authors of their own lives. Furthermore, we assume that young persons are able to do so because of the knowledge they have in regards to healing patterns and solution wisdoms that work for them.

• We believe that young persons are all capable of rediscovering and remembering stories about their lives that challenge or contradict the story that they have defective identities.

• We collaborate with young persons, families, and concerned others, in assisting clients with separating themselves away from the problem of substance misuse. Our re-authoring therapy considers young persons as distinct from the problem.

Program Philosophy

Our statement on Program Philosophy sets forth our perspective on “the Problem” of substance misuse. In the Peak House program, staff collaborates with young persons, families and others against “the Problem”.

A re-authoring therapy assists young persons in separating from “the Problem” of substance misuse. A re-authoring therapy considers the person as distinct from the problem.

We think of our work within the context of collaboration – we collaborate with clients in opening space for the discovery of new stories; stories that no longer support oppressive descriptions of the person.

A collaborative approach to co-authoring and maintaining changes often requires information from not only the young person, but family members, friends and others. Old patterns and the stories that support these habits need to be identified and taken apart. Our intention is to seek an understanding of the real effects of substance misuse in the life of the young person and family, and to further understand how the young person and family members are combating the problem.

Inclusion & Diversity

• Peak House welcomes clients from all walks of life, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations and genders. There is no tolerance for racism, homophobia, classism, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination at Peak House.

• We are accountable toward clients, and toward one another, within the community of Peak House, especially in regards to practices regarding gender and gender expression, race, ethnicity, culture, age, sexuality, social class, and disabilities.

• At Peak House we are committed to creating a welcoming environment for all residents. As such we incorporate various cultural wisdoms, education and teachings into our program and staff training. We strongly value our diverse staff team.

The House

Peak House is located in a residential neighbourhood. We have 7 bedrooms and 8 beds, a full kitchen, a beautiful backyard, living-room, two group rooms and 4 bathrooms. Youth have told us that the house feels comfortable, warm, safe and welcoming.



Some places have rules, we have agreements. These are ideas and behaviours we require if you want to come and stay at Peak House. These agreements help us to create a safe place for you and everyone else to do the hard work of treatment. If you are not able, or don’t want to agree we will work with you to find a program or option that better reflects your needs. Explanations of agreements are on the back of this page. The agreements fall under two main categories, safety and group living. These Agreements are non negotiable-they are required if you are to enter and stay at Peak House.


-No drugs, alcohol, paraphernalia at Peak House

-No physical violence, verbal threats, intimidating, isolating, or bullying ‘mean’ behavior

-Follow your own safety plan

-Do not leave the program without notifying staff

-Do not ask other youth to leave the program with you


-No relationships that pull attention away from recovery

-Full participation/contribution in the program

-No sex, sexual intimacy, sexual relationships, sexualized touching with/of other people at Peak House

-Respect for others space and right to a positive therapeutic community

Program Components

See the Program Components page of our website.


It has been a tradition at Peak House, since our opening in 1988, for the night attendant to draw portraits of residents as part of their recovery at Peak House. Young people are able to see their face of recovery from an artistic point of view. Youth are able to keep these portraits, to take home, as a reminder and reflection of their work towards their new beginning.

Family and Community Cooperation

Research and experience have shown time and again that treating youth without regard to their family and community environment is ineffective.

There needs to be a suitable environment for the young person after completing the program. There needs to be a regional Alcohol and Drug Services counsellor, or an equivalent professional, who will follow the client from initial assessment, through treatment and into aftercare. There must also be a family member, foster parent or social worker willing to support the youth’s progress in our program and be available for support in treatment.

Final Comment

Like any parent or caregiver, Peak House has the task of walking the fine line that separates support and acceptance from expectations and consequences.

We do not think that any one model, theory, framework or program has a monopoly on what is effective for all persons struggling against problems. Ultimately, we think clients are knowledgeable in regards to healing patterns, and solutions, to the dilemmas that challenge them.

We are accountable to clients, and with one another, for inclusive practices regarding gender and gender expression, race, sexuality, culture, disabilities or social class. For instance, a significant number of referrals are from the First Nations community and we make a serious effort to use those strengths and incorporate a First Nations perspective into our staff training, staff selection and program development.