About Elena

The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.

(Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)


I am a spiritually-oriented social-cognitive developmental psychologist and psychotherapist, with a strong commitment to the intersection between scientific psychology, spirituality, and psychotherapy. In line with the Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and many prominent psychologists and psychiatrists, I believe that psychological and spiritual health are inseparable, and that for healing to happen, we have to work with the brain, the mind, the body, and the soul.

Human development is the love of my life, from the years growing up in the communist totalitarian regime of pre-1990 Bulgaria, to my Sofia University years as a major in English language and literature, to the years traveling and working in Africa and The United Arab Emirates, to my explorations of art all over Europe, to my Ed.D. in Human Development at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, to my tenured teaching at the Psychology Department of University of West Georgia, to my private practice in the last 10 years. I spent many years reflecting on why people betray themselves, their ideals, what they love. On what makes us strong, on what makes us real.

My work on the ontogenesis of critical consciousness in the lifespan on the formation and development of the kind of critical discernment coupled with a strong, loving and engaged heart, that makes a person fully a Subject in their life, took me places that I did not expect. It revealed to me the power of the consciously embraced spiritual path in life, as I also discovered the Baha’i Faith. It allowed me to discover the many paths of human becoming and transcendence, of owning and overcoming our shadow side, of becoming bigger than our espoused identities and inherited fears, of carrying forward the spirit of an ever advancing human civilization. My book, Critical Consciousness: Study of Morality in Global Historical Context (Greenwood/Praeger 2003, Sofia University Press, 2005) describes what I understand to be optimal development in a global age. It also addresses the emergence of a qualitatively different kind of education, oriented toward integrative, interdisciplinary understanding, spiritual literacy, love of humanity, global citizenship, and preparing young people for lives of empowered and creative service to the advancement of the human family.

As an educator, I have focused my efforts on elucidating the dynamic interdependence between critical moral consciousness and spiritual literacy, and social health. I have served as coordinator of Psychologists for Social Responsibility Program on Social Health, Justice, and Well-being. In 2014, I co-edited a volume titled Toward a Socially Responsible Psychology for a Global Era.

I have taught developmental, social, and spiritual psychology, language, literature, and writing, at five universities in four countries as diverse as Zimbabwe, Switzerland, Bulgaria, and the US, and I lecture widely in the US and internationally.

My work spans the areas of adult development, cross-cultural and global community psychology and holistic health-oriented psycho-spiritual and psycho-educational interventions with individuals and communities, as well as peace psychology, and education for a sustainable civilization.

Over the last 20+ years, my clinical work has evolved into an integration of mindfulness-based understanding of moment-to-moment human functioning with an overall developmental and psychodynamic perspective on whole-person healing and development. I work with people from a deep belief in the presence of God in our lives, and with reverence for the unique perspectives each person brings. It is my joy and privilege to accompany people as they heal their hearts, quiet their minds, reassure their souls, reconnect with their own strength and resilience, and learn to engage life with more wisdom and understanding.

Full Resume/CV