About Us

Sandra L. O’Brien, MN, RN, CL, CPC, ACM

Academic degrees:
Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and Nursing (1984)
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (University of Washington, Tacoma 1993)
Master of Nursing in Psychosocial Nursing (University of Washington, Seattle, 1995)

WA State Certified Counselor #CL60640134/Supervision-Geralyn Peterson MA LMCH, CMHS, GMHS,DDMHS #LH0000349

Certified RN Case Manager

Certified Dementia Practitioner

Certified Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Trainer

Certified Professional Coach

Certified Practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

My Orientation via My Experience and Training: 

The early years of my nursing career (15 years) were spent in busy Emergency Departments (E.D.) in both the public sector and as an Air Force Medic. I learned to assess situations and act quickly.  One thing that always perplexed me was why people, who seemed to be fairly reasonable, made intellectual and emotional choices that often would lead to disappointment, angst and sometimes very unfortunate outcomes.

In my quest for answers, I decided to go back to school and learn more and practice in the area of Mental Health.  After I graduated, I spent the next 15 years of my career providing Counseling, Leadership, Geri-Psychiatric, Hospice and Adult Mental Health Case Management and Coaching.

Although my academic preparation prepared me for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as a professional acclimated to the world of cause and effect as an E.D. Nurse, I preferred the quick, fast paced and in the present processes related to the Coaching Model for Counseling.

Specialized Training:

Specialty training in administering and interpreting the MBTI Assessment and Inventory for Personality type through a tool that asks a number of questions related to individual choices and preferences.  The MBTI is means for identifying what your strengths are, what challenges may be, and how best to interact with the other types of personalities along with your true nature that might be helping or might be getting in the way of your success and desires.  Specialty training in Case Management supports the ability to provide consultation and identify needs, goals, motivation along with the need for coordination of resources and referrals.

Q: What do all those initials stand for?

A: I am a Registered Nurse with a Master’s Degree in Psycho-social Nursing; I am a Certified Case Manager and a Certified Professional Coach.

Q: What kind of background do you have?
A: I have been a Nurse for over 30 years, prior to becoming a nurse was an Air Force Medic. My early nursing years were spent as an Emergency Department (ED), working through my “Adrenaline Junkie” needs. But, in the midst of that experience I found myself drawn to the emotional and mental health needs of my patients. I left the E.D. and went on to become a Hospice Nurse, and again, found drawn to the emotional needs of not only my patients, but all those close to them and felt ill equipped at times to do provide the degree of emotional comfort they needed. I decided to go back to school and become a Psycho-social Nurse Practitioner (ARNP). I graduated from the program, but found the role of an ARNP did not provide me with the type of experience I was looking for. I taught Nursing for a while, then, worked in Mental Health areas, as well as Case Management for both the medically ill and mentally ill. Through these years I developed a number of programs both large and small and served on a number of committees.
My last experience as a Case Manager in a Behavioral Health Clinic introduced me to the concept of coaching, as I had been trained in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, but found a number of my patients had either already been through therapy, and still were not where they wanted to be, and/or, had only limited amount of time to take care of problems that were impacting their quality of life. Many had the tools for reaching their goals, but were unaware of how to use them, or lacked the support they needing in reaching goals. They often lacked a concept of success and celebration. I used coaching concepts in both my one-one sessions and in group sessions and was astounded by how effective coaching is in helping patients meet and sustain goals. I was sold! And proceeded to learn more about coaching and become certified.
I have also used coaching in my Management roles for Change Management with Lean applications.

Q: What other specialized services do you provide?
A: I am Certified in The Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory Tool (MBTI) both administration and interpretation. I have found this tool to extremely helpful with my clients in identifying their personality traits and styles for decision making in both the professional and personal world. Understanding your MBTI “Type” will help you in having a greater understanding of yourself and how others may perceive you. This can often lead to a greater understanding of previous experiences with others and why them may or may not have been as satisfactory as you would have liked or hoped for.

Q: Besides the education and professional experience what else do you bring to coaching?
A: Not to bore you, but I have had my share of transitional challenges….

Q: What do you do outside of Harbor Transitions?
A: I am married with two daughters and two granddaughters, and both step-daughter and step-son. I am a consummate gardener and during favorable weather I spend most of my non-working waking hours outside. (Please see Blog for “The Garden of Hope and Mirth” ). I love to laugh, travel, eat (darn it), and read.