About Elena

O SON OF SPIRIT!
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 integral psychologist and psychotherapist.

My work integrates mindfulness-based understanding of moment-to-moment human resilience with an overall developmental and psychodynamic perspective on whole-person healing and development. I believe that psychological and spiritual health are inseparable, and that healing requires us to work with the brain, the mind, the body, and the soul, as well as with transforming the sociocultural contexts which generate suffering. I work with people from a deep belief in the presence of Spirit 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, and learn to engage life with more wisdom and understanding.

My psychotherapeutic practice is informed by my experience as an educator and social scientist with three and a half decades of work on the evolution of human consciousness and social transformation in cross-cultural contexts. I have accompanied, mentored, and coached diverse populations in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Arab Peninsula on the path to developing resilient and mindful relationships to others and our world. I have taught developmental, social, and spiritual psychology, peace psychology, education for a sustainable civilization, as well as language, literature, and writing, at five universities in four countries as diverse as Zimbabwe, Switzerland, the US, and Bulgaria, and I lecture widely in the US and internationally.

My work on critical consciousness in the lifespan describes the formation and development of critical discernment coupled with a strong, loving and engaged heart, that makes a person fully a Subject in their life. Published in Critical Consciousness: Study of Morality in Global Historical Context (Greenwood/Praeger 2003, Sofia University Press, 2005), it weaves together groundbreaking ideas promoting the evolution of consciousness. Norwich University Professor of psychology Melvin Miller described it as “a courageous tour de force on the order of Maslow’s Toward a Psychology of Being.” The book describes 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.

My focus on the dynamic interdependence between critical moral consciousness, spiritual literacy, and social health has led me to serve 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, which APA PsycNet called “a path-breaking resource, reframing the field in terms of its responsibility as a healing science and force for social justice”, which “elucidates the context that makes this paradigm shift so necessary”. The volume focuses on “achieving a sustainable future, developing clinical practice suited to a global community, attaining global consciousness in the context of societal health, overcoming racism, sexism, and poverty, healing the causes of human suffering and environmental harm, conceptualizing and actualizing justice restoratively, and achieving a psychology of nonviolence.”

My clinical and social perspective is comprehensively represented in my new book, Global Unitive Healing: Integral Skills for Personal and Social Transformation, 2021, Light On Light Press. James O’Dea, Former President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and Washington Office Director of Amnesty International, described it as “a hymn to collective sanity and the deep recovery of higher values”. Joni Carley PhD, United Nations ECOSOC Consultant, wrote about it: “Global Unitive Healing connects the dots between the macro trends on the planet and the micro movements of our souls. Mustakova connects our mystical lives with our social reality, and our bodies and lived experiences with a greater whole.” Michael L. Penn, PhD, Director of Scientific & Philosophical Studies of Mind at Franklin & Marshall College, wrote: As it was with Towards a Socially Responsible Psychology for a Global Era—Mustakova’s edited volume that precedes this work—Global Unitive Healing distinguishes Dr. Elena Mustakova as one of the most enlightened clinician-teachers of our time.

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 teaching as tenured Associate Professor in psychology, to my private practice of over two decades. I spent many years reflecting on why we betray our ideals and what we know and love. On what makes us strong, on what makes us real.

This work took me places that I did not expect. It revealed to me the power of the consciously embraced spiritual path in life, as I discovered in the Baha’i Faith new horizons of human becoming and transcendence, of owning and overcoming our shadow side, of becoming bigger than our espoused identities and inherited fears, and of working collaboratively on creating a sustainable and united ever-advancing human civilization out of our diverse cultural traditions.

Full Resume/CV

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