Substance Misuse Counselling

Watari’s Community Addictions Counselling Team (CACT) works with individuals, couples, and families in the Strathcona/ Downtown Eastside area and surrounding communities around issues related to problem substance misuse. We provide free confidential counselling, education, referrals, and other preventative programs. Referrals to the program can come from anyone including: family, social workers or any medical/mental health professional workers and self. The counselling team is committed to serving people from a harm reduction philosophy.
Open Monday to Friday, the counselling team will assist the people we support in identifying the areas of their lives that are working and those that are a struggle.
We recognize that substance use is often connected to other issues such as: poverty, abuse, isolation, or mental illness. So whether it’s your struggle or that of a loved one, Watari’s highly trained and compassionate counsellors can bridge you with new options, choices, and opportunities. Our team of counsellors come with different backgrounds and approaches, allowing us to find a match for anyone walking through our doors.

Indigenous Talking Circle

Every Friday at 12pm, John hosts an Indigenous Talking Circle for First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people, and their families.
Culture as therapy is practiced in this group. Through this group we have opportunities to do many things including make drums, smudge, and harvest medicines.
Food and beverages are also provided.
For more information or to join call John at:
or email him at: john@watari.ca 

Vietnamese Group

This group is for Vietnamese people in the community. Although running a little differently due to COVID-19, the group meets to socialize with other members of the community. Together we share culturally appropriate food, socialize, and celebrate Vietnamese Tết.
For more information, or to join please call Veronica at:
or email her at: veronica@watari.ca

Expressive Arts Therapy

Watari provides Expressive Arts Therapy to youths under 25 years old.
Expressive Arts Therapy is a multi-modal approach to therapy, which allows people to choose between different modalities of art to create art works and to explore their responses, reactions, and insights. it is in the process of art making, in a safe and secure space, that allows people to awaken their imagination and creativity, and discover how to engage their senses, externalize their difficult emotions and behaviors, and how to regulate them. Expressive Arts Therapy provides a full expression of the imagination and emotional voice through playful activities without judgement or interruption.
Prior art experience is not necessary. 
For more information call Ahmad at:
or email Ahmad at: ahmad@watari.ca

Community Peer Support

As part of the Peer Support Program, Angelo supports peers that work in, or attend the following Organizations: H.A.V.E. Culinary Society, SRO-Collaborative, Dudes Club, WePress, DTES Neighbourhood House, Aboriginal Front Door, Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre, Overdose Prevention Society, Raise the Rates, PACE Society, WAHRS, and Watari.
Apart from individual counselling support – addiction, grief/loss, anxiety/stress, etc. – Angelo offers his support to each organization to explore conflict resolution strategies using Theatre of the Oppressed, a form of ‘social theatre’ he’s been practicing for almost 20 years. Something crucial to Angelo when working with these organizations is listening, and learning from them, understanding their dynamic and what works best for each, in order to see how he can compliment their working systems to give the best positive results.
For more information call Angelo at:
or email Angelo at: angelo@watari.ca

The Process:

Everyone must have an intake appointment completed before or on their first visit to Watari. Intakes take approximately 30-45 minutes. When the intake is completed, the counsellor assigned to you afterward will contact you directly for your first counselling session appointment. Sometimes there is a waitlist, however we do our absolute best to support you as soon as possible!
For more information or to see a counsellor, please call us at:
to set up an intake meeting with one of our counsellors.