2023 Onyx Woman Leadership Award Honoree Doreen L. Upshaw


Doreen L. Upshaw is the Founder/CEO and Lead Counselor of Compass Counseling and Support Services

Doreen L. Upshaw is a gifted and rising pastor, professional counselor, speaker, mother, award-winning author, innovator, and advocate for healthy family relationships. Doreen is a fifteen-year Army Staff Sergeant Veteran. She holds three degrees; B.S. in Community Ministry, MS in Counseling, and an M.A. in Biblical Exposition as an alumna of Carlow University, Geneva College, and Liberty University. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Pastoral Counseling at Liberty University. Doreen is also an award-winning author. Her first book, “Amos and I, The Unique Contributions of a Father” won 1st place in the self-help & Inspiration genre with The Author Zone’s “TAZ Award” in 2020. As the founder and CEO of Compass Counseling & Support Services, Doreen graduated with honors specializing in child and family counseling. Since 2017, Doreen has provided play, art, and tech therapy to children and teens across Pittsburgh as her specialized area in counseling. Doreen also provides services for women, men, and children in trauma, grief, domestic violence, marriage, and other mental health-related issues. With a passion for fatherhood, Doreen established a social media platform called “Fathers Matter.” The platform has more than 2400 members from all over the world who post words of encouragement and questions to positively promote healthy fatherhood and supports fathers through the court proceedings and other parenting-related topics. From this platform, a city-wide fathering group was developed entitled “The Father Forum.” In the wake of the 2020 Pandemic, her counseling practice lost many of its children and youth clients due to the shift to telehealth which prevented play and art therapy.

As an innovator, Doreen created and holds the first U.S. patented mobile therapy service: CCSS-Mobile. This new service allows Compass Counseling to bring its counseling services to children and youth ages 4-18 at their home, school, after-school program, or a preferred location. Doreen has developed plans to create mobile services for a broader client base. Her mobile service idea has caught on in other states and led to licensing negotiations under her patent.

Tell our readers how you incorporate self-care into your busy life.

“I believe self-care aligns with self-esteem. Either we reap the full benefit of its power, or we grieve living without it. How can I esteem myself if I don’t care for myself? Self-care happens daily, privately, and involves more than appearance. We know appearances can be deceptive. I have always believed I must be the most important person in my life. Why? Because caring for myself shows in everything I do. By any means available, I must check in to better understand the ME inside of me. I call it the control center. I want to know more about myself than that of those around me. I’m checking in on the what, when, who, and why of my attitude, my behaviors, emotions, fears, needs, weaknesses, strengths, passions, and even my family history. It’s self-knowing. And although it starts with self, it benefits everything and everyone we touch.”

Photo Credit: emmai alaquiva


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