Amy Blackwell

Executive Director

Amy Blackwell is the Executive Director at Compassion Counseling, has a Bachelor’s in Business with a specialization in leadership and Management and Leadership, and stands as a certified professional committed to advancing mental health. Amy holds certifications as a Family Support Specialist in Tennessee, a Family Peer Specialist nationally, and a Trauma Support Specialist certified by the Trauma Institute International. Her exemplary contributions were acknowledged as a recipient of Reclaiming Children’s Award from the National Federation of Families in 2021.

Amy’s journey is not just a professional one; it’s a personal born out of love, experience, and an unwavering commitment to fostering compassionate understanding around mental health issues. As the Executive Director at Compassion Counseling, Amy continues to lead with empathy, dedication, and a vision for a future where mental health challenges are met with understanding, support, and healing.

Amy Jackson, NCC

Amy grew up in Southwest Virginia and traveled to various parts of the country as an adult before deciding to follow her passion in mental health.  She graduated from Maryville College with a BA in Psychology in 2006.  She then earned her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of the Cumberlands in 2021.  She is a Nationally Certified Counselor by the National Board of Certified Counselors.  She has 18 years of experience working with individuals with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and Borderline Personality Disorder.  She is trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  She has the most experience working with adults, ages 25 and older.  Amy follows a person-centered and holistic approach but uses various interventions from other approaches as needed during the therapeutic process.  She has a passion for empowering individuals from all cultures to find their own strengths, resiliency, and sense of well-being.

Ashley Ottinger


Ashley graduated with a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee in May 2021 and Master of Professional Studies in Clinical Psychological Science from the University of Maryland in December 2018. Ashley has dedicated her career to primarily working with children, adolescents, and young adults. Ashley has a professional background in school social work as well as working on research projects in social science fields. Ashley is excited to be with Compassion Counseling and very passionate about the work that we do each day! 

Ashley believes the therapeutic process is one that requires an equal partnership between the client and the therapist. She comes into each meeting with an understanding that the client is the expert on their own life, and their input will be vital to us achieving their goals as a team. She also believes in using evidence-based practices within the scope of cultural humility and individual differences and needs.

Matthew moved to Tennessee from Phoenix, AZ in Early 2016. He has been married to his wife for 17 years and has 2 adult children living in different states.  he received his BSW from Northern Arizona University. He loves helping veterans and does Volunteer work for Mission 22, Stop Soldier Suicide and the Valhalla Project. Matthew has been at Compassion Counseling for 2 years. 

Suzanne Stratton, LCSW

Clinical Supervisor

Over the past 26 years, Suzanne has worked with children, families, and the elderly In hospital, home, and school settings. Now she serves as Compassion Counseling’s Clinical Supervisor. She has both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in social work from the University of Tennessee. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has a School Social Work Certification. Suzanne has served in leadership capacities as President of the Tennessee Association of School Social Workers and Knox Branch Chair of the National Association of Social Workers. She is passionate about providing quality services to clients and the mission of Compassion Counseling. 

Lizzy is a friendly King Charles Spaniel who has never met a stranger.  She loves to provide support to those in need.  LIzzy has been a HABIT (Human Animal Bond In Tennessee)  dog since 2017. She has provided animal assisted interventions with children and adults on a regular basis.  If you would like to visit with Lizzy, let your therapist know.

Tara Phillips

Office Coordinator

Tara is a dedicated advocate for the betterment of the human experience, particularly for children. With a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an associate degree in business and accounting, she brings a unique blend of technical expertise and business acumen to her endeavors. Tara is passionate about amplifying the voices of children and ensuring their well-being and peace are preserved. Alongside her professional pursuits, she is an avid athlete and a staunch supporter of women’s rights. Tara is deeply involved in the local special needs community, further demonstrating her commitment to inclusivity and compassion. 

Dave Lloyd


Dave has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. He is currently in the Advanced Standing program at the University of Tennessee Knoxville pursuing a master’s degree in Social Work. Dave has experience working with kids, teenagers, and young adults. He also has experience working in schools and with the LGBTQ+ population. He has a special interest in working through a trauma-informed perspective and applying that to the client’s life course. Dave will be providing support groups, classes, and therapeutic sessions for Compassion Counseling.  

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