Caring for the Soul

December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

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December 14, 2013

Care For Your Soul with Ancient Recipes

Ancient Recipes of Bulgaria by Evdokia Krusteva

Ancient Recipes of Bulgaria

Ancient Recipes of Bulgaria

Purchase at AMAZON for a special Christmas price. This is the perfect gift for the person who has everything.

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November 25, 2013

We Give Thanks


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February 28, 2013

National Identity and Collective Consciousness of the Bulgarian Community

In understanding the history of the advancements in psychotherapy in Bulgaria and the foundations of the country as a whole, we gain a glimpse into the national identity and collective consciousness of a community; one which was formed by a strong people; a people that strive for religious freedom and the quest for knowledge; one that overcame oppression, trial and, hardship.

For many Bulgarians, communism was not simply a set of ideological directives, but it permeated nearly all spheres of social life. Communism and the lasting effects on its population is not one that is comfortable to recollect. It is neither something that is easy to understand and we may never fully comprehend the post communist mentality. And perhaps we should question those who make such claim.

However, if left ignored, we ignore an undeniable part of history and identity. The danger in not recollecting is that we may in doing so, ignore the possibility for change. Recognition is the first step toward change and empathy. It is only via the shoes of empathy that we can walk in the paths of genuinely comprehending the post communistic mentality and another culture.
Excepts taken from “LOOKING OVER the WALL”

A Psychological Exploration of Communist and Post Communist Bulgaria
Copyright © April 12, 2012 by Kathryn N. Donev
© 2012, Spasen Publishers, a division of

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February 18, 2013

Insight into Communist Agent Techniques in Bulgaria

In light of exploring the mentality of the Bulgarian people, the following is a personal account of the pressures and techniques used by the Bulgarian Secret Services during communism. The report shows testimony to how agents directly or indirectly got themselves involved by using three basic strategies according to the victim:

1. “‘Soft’ breaking of the personal will by method of blackmail, transformation of refusal into ‘consent’ and making the free personality into an instrument deprived of will in the hands of the secret services;

2. Brutal suspension from scientific work, deprivation of the scholar to find any employment position, including the lowest qualified employment for him to earn his family’s daily bread, placement of his family-members to various methods of pursuit and repression;

3. Savage violation on the scholar, on grounds of definite ideological statements, provided by law, by sending him to a hospital for the mentally ill, to a labor camp for ‘re-education’ by means of primitive and sweat physical labor or at prison’s special rigid regime.”

Iankov, I. Psychology of Law Value in Communist and Post-Communist Bulgaria. First International Conference on Therapeutic Jurisprudence. (Winchester, United Kingdom of Great Britain. July 8-11, 1998): 2-5.

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January 27, 2013

The Bulgarian Evangelical Believer and Communistic Consequences

The collapse of Bulgaria’s previous social order, communism, left the country with a moral and ideological void that was quickly filled with crime and corruption. A culture originally shaped by communism currently is influenced by capitalism and democracy. Post communist mentality with definite Balkan characteristics rules the country as a whole. This mentality holds captive nearly every progressive thought and idea. In the post communist context, the atheistic mind is a given and even when an individual experiences a genuine need for spirituality, in most cases he or she has no religious root to which to return other than Orthodoxy. This lack of alternative or spiritual choice produces a pessimistic morale.

From an environment of uncertainty and hopelessness, the Bulgarian Evangelical believer turns to the continuity of faith in the Almighty Redeemer. Pentecostalism as practical Christianity gives a sense of internal motivation to the discouraged. In a society that is limited in conduciveness for progression of thought or self actualization, one finds refuge in the promises of Christianity. It becomes a certainty which can be relied upon. Historically, having undergone severe persecution, the Bulgarian

Evangelical believer is one who possesses great devotion to his or her belief. Having to defend the faith fosters a deep sense of appreciation and in an impoverished country, faith becomes all some have. Christ becomes the only one to whom to turn for provision. In the midst of this complete dependence is where miracles occur. Furthermore, it is in the midst of miracles where the skepticism which is prominent in post communist Bulgaria is broken. When those who believe are healed from cancer and even raised from the dead, there is no room for disbelief or low self-esteem. Surrounded with insecurity and uncertainty, the Bulgarian Evangelical believer finds great hope and comfort in the fact that God holds the future in His hands. Christianity is a reality that is certain.

Excepts taken from “LOOKING OVER the WALL”
A Psychological Exploration of Communist and Post Communist Bulgaria
Copyright © April 12, 2012 by Kathryn N. Donev
© 2012, Spasen Publishers, a division of

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January 20, 2013

Distinct Historical Memories of the Bulgarian Mindset

Nearly 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall traces of communism still remain throughout Bulgaria. For those who lived directly under communism these traces include mental footprints which daily influence these individuals’ approach to life. For that generation who has no personal memory of communism, they find themselves indirectly influenced by the physical traces that will forever be a part of the undeniable history of Bulgaria.

Historically, Bulgaria, similar to other Balkan countries, has gone through turmoil, slavery and defeat. Though Bulgaria is the quietest and most obscure nation on the Balkan Peninsula, its people are confronted with the typical social obstacles that plague former communist-bloc countries: slow reform, economical, educational and cultural destitution and moral confusion.

Due to such rich history, Bulgarians have distinct historical memories and it is this distinctiveness that produces their national identity. These similar yet unique experiences of economic ordeals and historical legacy are what shape the Bulgarian mentality. The economical, educational, political and cultural crises have remained an indivisible part of Bulgaria’s reality. And Bulgaria’s evangelical community of more than 100,000 people has its own set of unique anxieties and hardships.

Excepts taken from “LOOKING OVER the WALL”
A Psychological Exploration of Communist and Post Communist Bulgaria
Copyright © April 12, 2012 by Kathryn N. Donev
© 2012, Spasen Publishers, a division of

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December 24, 2012

Deck the Halls It’s Not Too Late To Change Your Mood

Even if you hate all the bru-ha-ha around Christmas of putting up a tree, and lights, and decor, and cooking a big meal, and blah, blah blah, it’s not too late. If you are one of those hum bugs who get down around the holidays, you can really change your mood by just doing.

Behaviorist say, and this is something that should be lived by, is that if you smile when you are not feeling like it or hold hands when you are really frustrated with your mate, you can change your brain chemistry and you will start feeling better or happier.

So on this Christmas Eve, take the time to get into the mood by putting up a small tree or just cooking a quick meal. You don’t have to go all out and get stressed out, but just a touch a the yole time cheer may be just what the doctor order and stay away from the uppers of a different nature.

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December 20, 2012

Family Traditions Preserved: Benefits of Tradition and Pickling

Family traditions are important as if the life line of the healthy development of children.  They produce stability, memories, and over-all ability to adapt. Traditions are the constant in a child’s life that they internally crave. When a child has this constant being repeated year after year, they feel safe and loved.

Our family traditions include making Bulgarian pickled vegetables.  Every year when it gets cold enough outside and the price of veggies are not too bad, we make a least 1 or 2 batches of tourshe.

If you would like the recipe it is in our most recent publication:  Cooking Traditions of Bulgaria which can be purchased on

Health Benefits of Pickling:
Studies have shown the cruciferous vegetables can help lower cholesterol levels. Cabbage is high in vitamins A and C. Cabbage also provides a rich source of phytonutrient antioxidants. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties, and some studies indicate it may help combat some cancers. However, this already helpful vegetable becomes a superfood when it is pickled.

The fermentation process used to make sauerkraut was probably first developed centuries ago simply as a means of preserving vegetables for easy consumption throughout the winter. The health benefits derived from pickling vegetables were already well-known to early civilizations.

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September 20, 2012

Thoughts on Internet Counseling From 2006

So you decide if the following assumptions and view points from over 7 years ago are relevant or outdated:

We live in a fast-paced society where virtually everything is just a click away. With the click of a button, you can pay your bills or even have merchandise shipped to your front door without ever leaving the comforts of home. The Internet has made this and much more a reality. The number of Internet users today is reported at 972,828,001, which is 15.2% of the world’s population and the percentage of population usage growth during 2000-2005 was reported at 169.5% (Internet World Stats, 2005). As the number of Internet users across the globe continues to soar, more and more resources are becoming accessible online. The possibilities of services that can be offered on the Internet are endless. Today, one can even receive online professional services such as counseling.

Online counseling is a relatively new service. Therefore, there currently exists limited research to support or disconfirm its effectiveness. The long-term ramifications of such an experience are yet unknown. There are many concerned with the ethical dilemmas associated with online counseling. Below I will briefly explore the ethical issues centered around online counseling, beginning with a definition of a traditional counseling relationship:

A traditional counseling relationship is an interpersonal relationship between a client and counselor in which the counselor provides the client a reflection of the client’s self in a safe atmosphere in which the client feels comfortable enough to completely relay information to the counselor in order to gain order over personal conflicts.

The first and most obvious ethical dilemma with rendering mental health services over the Internet is one of confidentiality and privacy. The Internet is an open network and therefore is not secure. Consequently, when communicating through an insecure source one cannot be completely guaranteed that what is being revealed in a counseling relationship remains only in that relationship.

Because the Internet is not secure, there are numerous opportunities for an invasion of privacy. Such could occur if one were receiving counseling while at the work place where his or her email is subject to being read because it is considered company property. Other possibilities include, but are not limited to, that another could access confidential emails intentionally by eavesdropping or unintentionally if information was misdirected and intercepted.

Another ethical issue associated with online counseling involves client and counselor identification. Without being able to confirm the identity of a client during each interaction, one cannot be certain of who is being counseled. The danger in this circumstance is that one could easily misrepresent him or herself and the counselor could be mislead to believe that he or she is counseling a particular individual when in fact this may not be the case. If this were to happen, confidential information could be unintentionally divulged to a third party.

Additionally, if the client were to misrepresent his or her own identity, for instance their sex or ethnicity, this could be just as damaging and could hinder the counseling process. If a counselor does not fully know with whom he or she is working, then the story which is being revealed by the client cannot appropriately be put into context, thus resulting in misinterpretation of what the client is communicating.

Virtual Relationship:
One of the most common negative results of interacting online is the phenomenon of being in a virtual relationship. Both the counselor as well as the client are in a sense unreal, they are simply “cyber-beings” as the author likes to describe them. Being in a virtual relationship causes an individual to have no sense of commitment to the counseling process. The client is simply writing another email via a keyboard and has minimum personal connection to the counselor.

Due to the lack of a personal relationship with the counselor, a client may be more easily offended by the advice that is given in an online counseling session. A client may feel that a cyber-being has no right to become so personal. If this is the case, then a client may also be more apt to end the relationship either temporarily or permanently by simply clicking a button.

The first and foremost responsibility of a counselor is to protect the welfare of his or her client. Yet, if one is counseling a virtual person then it is nearly impossible to be able to ensure the client’s safety. A counselor does not even truly know whom they are counseling or the location of the client’s residence. With this being the case, a counselor cannot intervene if a client is a danger to him or herself or others. A counselor’s hands are tied when it comes to his or her “Duty to Warn.”

As a result of communicating over an insecure source to a cyber-being, a client receiving online services may not be willing to be straightforward about all information. Additionally, when information is shared with a lack of commitment to the counseling process this could lead the client to actually falsify information. Not only is there a danger that a client might be misleading or may even lie, but there is also the risk that a client could intentionally leave out parts of his or her story. A client may feel the need to be deceitful due to the fact that he or she may fear a breach of confidentiality or simply feel no responsibility to be honest because no personal relationship exists between counselor and client. If this is the case, then the counselor cannot work at full capacity because of a lack of all the pieces of the client’s history.

Dishonesty leads to confusion which makes the counseling process difficult if not impossible. If a client were able to be assured that what is said would stay only between counselor and client, then there would be more freedom to be completely honest. Also, if a client were in a face-to-face relationship, they may perhaps feel more of an obligation to be upfront.

Lack of Nonverbals:
Nearly 94 percent of all communication is nonverbal. We communicate with our facial expressions, posture, eye contact and so forth. Needless to say, reading nonverbals is an essential element of counseling. If one is being counseled online, these nonverbals are unobservable and such is detrimental to the counseling process. Nonverbals which cannot be observed during an online session are nervous behaviors, whether eye contact is maintained, angle and distance of body in relationship to the counselor, etc. Also, a client may be typing content which appears to be uplifting, but at the same time may be crying. Conversely, a client may be typing distraught messages but may be laughing while doing so. Such is evident of inappropriate affect and is a good indicator of possible mental diagnoses.

Abandonment Issues:
Another responsibility of the counselor is to not abandon a client. Yet, abandonment may be impossible to avoid when counseling occurs online due to the instability of the Internet. Communication could be hindered because of technology failures or glitches or as a result of a poor Internet connection.

If a relationship is suddenly ended for any reason, it would be almost, if not, impossible for a counselor to get back in touch with his or her client due to the fact that in an online counseling relationship the client is anonymous in most of the cases; thus making abandonment impossible to avoid. Furthermore, if a client were to abruptly leave a counseling session after threatening to harm him or herself or others, then not having the ability to protect your client would be the ultimate case of abandonment.

There appears to be many “ifs” in the ethical dilemma of online counseling and not enough certainty. “If” we as counselors could guarantee the privacy of our clients, “if” we could make certain of who we are counseling, “if” our client is completely truthful and “if” we were guaranteed they would not terminate before a session is over, then there would be little debate over whether online counseling should be attempted. Nevertheless, as of now, the “ifs” do exist.

Counseling, whether online or in person, involves much responsibility. When counseling an individual, you are placed in a position where you are a major influence in that person’s life. A counselor holds much control over the mental health of another. If Internet counseling is attempted, it should only be done by a competent professional who is well-educated in the field and should only be done via secure websites or with an encryption technological e-mail communication application.

Counseling online is a great responsibility as is counseling an individual face to face. As well, such a relationship should be treated with the highest ethical professionalism. Regardless of that an online client is communicating in a virtual world, his or her problems are still very much real.


Internet World Stats (2005). Usage and Population Statistics, downloaded from on 12/2/05. 10 a.m.

DATE WRITTEN:  January 17, 2006

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