Cyndi Brannen, PhD, is a psychologist, author and teacher. She teaches and writes from the crossroads of psychology, spirituality and traditional wisdom, merging ancient knowledge with modern practices.
Her work explores the journey through darkness to wholeness using the archetypes of the witch and Hekate.
Her teaching focuses on personal healing through herbalism, rituals, meditations, and exploration of the deeper self.
She founded The Covina Institute, a soul school dedicated to the pursuit of wholeness through structured programs of study and transcendent experiences.
After years of a successful career in academia and healthcare, she transitioned to teaching and writing about reclaiming the sacred feminine through spiritual practices after she became convinced that mainstream psychology was not sufficient to lead to personal wholeness.
The Archetype of The Witch Merged With Modern Psychology
Her writing explores the archetype of the witch as a mechanism for healing from trauma, and as a font of personal sovereignty. She examines the many faces of the goddess, through mythology and personal experiences, as a reflection of the feminine principle, the anima, within. Added to her work is her years of professional experience in developing and evaluating self-directed programs based on modern psychological evidence. Notably, the roles of attachment, coping skills, and stress management. She draws heavily from certain modalities, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.
Her Personal Journey Seeking The Goddess
Dr. Brannen describes herself as a seeker of the goddess within and the mysteries of the deeper world. She is deeply connected to the Witch Mother, Hekate. Her quest to understand both have led her through studies in comparative religion, mythology, gender analysis, and feminist scholarship. Along the way, she has studied many esoteric teachings, including astrology, herbalism, energetic healing, shamanic techniques, divination, hermeticism, and mediumship.
A dedicated scholar of mythology, she describes herself as an "accidental classicist," who studies the ancient views of the many faces of the goddess and women, through a modern lens, reclaiming and extrapolating themes to help others heal.
Dr. Brannen's Approach and Methodology
Dr. Brannen's teaching approach is rooted in the belief that exploring the sacred feminine, which she focuses on as Anima Mundi/Hekate, is essential for the achievement of personal wholeness and for healing the wounds of the world. She views the soul is eternal, and archetypes as living forces upon which the universe is built. These archetypes include, but are not limited to, animal spirits, plant medicine, and the powers of the planets.
Reclaiming feminine archetypes, such as the witch and the goddess, is a requirement for wholeness for all genders, and especially relevant for those who identify as women.
This is accomplished through a transpersonal process which includes dream exploration, transcendent experiences through meditations, journeys and rituals, sacred creativity with such things as art, talismans, and, yes, even the casting of spells.
She conducts ongoing research on personal experiences of the numinous using a mixed-methods approach including quantitative analysis and grounded theory.
Her teaching and leadership styles are collaborative, focusing on power with instead of power over.
Dr. Brannen's Training
Dr. Brannen holds an earned doctorate in applied social psychology and years of study of depth psychology. Her former career in health research and academia brings to her teaching and writing her expertise in evidenced based self-help programs in maternal depression, PTSD, and various childhood vulnerabilities. Her doctoral training explored personality characteristics, interpersonal relationships and well-being. Her expertise in areas of well-being include loneliness, attachment, romantic relationships, social skills, and coping skills. Her training in Cognitive Behavioral Techniques (including Mindfulness Based CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and other evidence-based approaches is woven throughout the courses she teaches. She employs these practices, along with depth psychology perspectives, to interpret the archetypes of the witch and the goddess for contemporary seekers on the journey through healing to wholeness.
Dr. Brannen earned her doctorate at the University of New Brunswick in a CPA/APA accredited program. Her doctoral dissertation explored attachment and group relationships.
Her postdoctoral training was at Dalhousie University where she was awarded fellowships studying women's health, caregiving, and wellness.
She has completed advanced training at Arizona State University, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, and the University of Massachusetts.