About Us

Photo credit: News Gazette

Elaine Shpungin, Ph.D., is the founder and director of Conflict 180.

For the past 25 years, Dr. Elaine Shpungin has been exploring how we can communicate more effectively across differences, address structural inequities and power-imbalances, create conditions that increase resilience in our lives, and turn stuck conflicts into opportunities for learning and restoration.

After serving as the director of the University of Illinois’ Psychological Services Center for 12 years, Elaine founded Conflict 180 in 2016. The mission of Conflict 180 is to support schools and organizations in improving climate and addressing conflict more constructively and courageously.

Elaine’s work is based on decades of hands-on experience, and the synthesis of research and best practices from the fields of psychology, communication, organizational change, leadership and equity.

Elaine also brings more than ten years of study and application from the fields of conflict and restorative justice, including her work with Restorative Circles©, the award-winning dialogical systems building process co-created by Dominic Barter and colleagues in Brazil.

Elaine’s writing has appeared in academic journals, scholarly books, web magazines, popular books on psychology, and her Conflict 180 blog.

To restore herself, Elaine likes to hike with her husband and kids, practice yoga, read science fiction, watch superheroes on Netflix, and eat 72% dark chocolate. You can reach Elaine by emailing Elaine@Conflict180.com



Mikhail Lyubansky, Ph.D., is Elaine’s partner in life and in Conflict 180. He is involved in many aspects of training, especially at the intersection of racial equity and restorative justice. He also evaluates Conflict 180 interventions, supervises Conflict 180 students and interns, and runs the Conflict 180 social media accounts.

He is also a member of the teaching faculty in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where among other courses, he teaches Psychology of Race and Ethnicity and graduate-level courses on restorative justice.

Mikhail has over two decades of experience in teaching and writing about racial justice and has been studying, facilitating, sharing, and writing about Restorative Circles since 2009.  In addition to multiple book chapters and peer-reviewed articles (see vitae), Mikhail recently co-edited an academic text Toward a Socially Responsible Psychology for a Global Age and regularly explores racial justice and restorative justice themes in his Psychology Today blog: Between the Lines.

Born in the former Soviet Union, Mikhail immigrated with his family to the United States as a child in 1977. You can reach him at lyubanskym@gmail.com.

%d bloggers like this: