2023 Adolescent Symposium


47th Annual Adolescent Symposium


Event: 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM each day
Location: Plano Event Center, 2000 E Spring Creek Pkwy., Plano, TX 75074

*Approved for 6 hours of CEU credit per day (12 CEUs total for both days).

Designed for anyone who works with teenagers and adolescents, the Adolescent Symposium of Texas features a wealth of programming and learning opportunities specific to youth-related mental health.

This two-day in-person event brings together more than 1,000 professionals who work with youth in schools, social services, juvenile justice, law enforcement, mental health, and other related services. Our focus for the annual symposium is to enhance the toolbox for those working with youth.

Online registration has closed.



Adolescent Symposium Keynote Speaker

Friday, March 3rd


Author of the New York Times bestseller A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy and advocate for mental health.

Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two gunmen responsible for the Columbine High School shootings of April 20, 1999 in Littleton, Colorado. Dylan and his friend killed twelve students and a teacher, and wounded more than twenty others before taking their own lives.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Ms. Klebold remained out of the public eye while struggling with devastating grief and humiliation. Her search for understanding would span over fifteen years during which she volunteered for suicide prevention organizations, questioned experts, talked with fellow survivors of loss, and examined the crucial intersection between mental health problems and violence. As a result of her exploration, Sue emerged a passionate advocate, dedicated to the advancement of mental health awareness and intervention.

From her memoir, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy (Crown, 2016), Sue is donating all author profits to organizations that promote mental wellness, brain research and suicide prevention. She is a member of the National Loss and Healing Council of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and is a member of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Lived Experience Subcommittee. She has participated in presentations, co-chaired conferences at the state and national levels, and written about the experience of surviving a loved one’s murder-suicide. Sue has a Master of Arts degree in Education from Cardinal Stritch College. She was an instructor and administrator in the Colorado Community College System for over twenty years.

“As people read Sue’s memoir, what they will find is that her book is honest, and her pain genuine. Her story may be uncomfortable to read, but it will raise awareness about brain health and the importance of early identification and intervention to maintain it. If people listen to her – to all that she has experienced, and to how this has changed her – they will be quicker to respond to depression in young people, to the suicidal thinking that can accompany it, and to the rage that can build almost unnoticed in young people when the people who truly and completely love and care for them are distracted by other challenges in life.” —Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO of Mental Health America

Thursday, March 2nd Speakers

Opening Keynote


President/CEO for Phoenix House Texas (PHT) and author of the I CAN model of treatment – a positive, experiential, solution-focused approach to adolescent addiction treatment

The Neuroscience of Adolescent Addiction and Innovative Treatment Approaches – This workshop will provide an in-depth look at substance use and the impact and trends within the U.S. From there, it will delve into the specific impact on adolescents, as well as the unique barriers and challenges faced by teens in substance use and in recovery.

The neuroscience of addiction will be presented in an understandable and engaging manner to show the changes that occur in the brain during substance use and early recovery as well as the nature of adolescent thinking and learning. Current treatment industry approaches and models will be challenged on areas for improvement and needed evolution.

A variety of innovative and effective approaches will be reviewed, including positive psychology, solution-focused counseling, accurate empathy, and client-centered care.

The I CAN treatment model will be introduced as an approach to incorporating these principles and associated research into an innovative addiction treatment model, and outcome measures from these new approaches will be reviewed.

Drew Dutton is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, Advanced Certified Prevention Specialist. Drew serves as the president and CEO for Phoenix House Texas (PHT), a statewide nonprofit specializing in adolescent substance use treatment and prevention services. Drew has worked in substance abuse and adolescent treatment since 2011, developing innovative multi-family group, aftercare, parent education, and residential treatment models. He is the author of the I CAN model of treatment, which is a positive, experiential, solution focused approach to adolescent addiction treatment that PHT utilizes in its residential programming throughout Texas.

Friday, March 3rd Speakers