GET TO KNOW ME
My name is Wenche ( pronounced “venkia”). I was born and raised in a beautiful town on the west-coast of Norway (hence my name!), but have been living in New York for 7 years with my American husband and our family.
Professionally, I am a Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach, and I have a background as a physician. After high school, I knew I wanted to work with people, but as I wasn't quite sure how yet, I studied psychology for two years before entering medical school. I earned my Norwegian Medical Degree from the University of Oslo, and did my residency followed by becoming partner in a family practice in a town close to where I grew up. I have several years experience working with patients with chronic illnesses, ranging from diabetes and cardiovascular disease to COPD, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, epilepsy and clinical depression, cancer, pain conditions and stress.
Certified Wellness Coach, the Mayo Clinic
Candidata Medicinae, University of Oslo, Norway
Medical intern (neurology residency), Rutgers NJ Medical School, New Jersey
Volunteer research, The Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, NYU Langone, New York
Psychology, University of Oslo, Norway/Atlantis Medical College, Marbella, Spain
Although I'm no longer a practicing physician, as the family doctor, I was the common denominator for my patients, organizing their care with experts and following up. I learned so much and it was incredibly giving. My favorite part of being a physician was getting to know my patients: not just their medical history, but their hopes and worries, strengths and struggles, values and goals. Understanding the impact symptoms, disease and stress had on their general wellbeing and quality of life, put me in a unique position to help my patients achieve what they wanted to. In much the same way, even though I am now a wellness coach and not a practicing physician, my medical knowledge and experience will be beneficial in guiding my clients through defining values and overcoming obstacles in order to achieving their health and wellness goals.
The decision to become a health and wellness coach was born after 3 months in US medical residency, realizing I didn’t want to give up 4 years of my life to become licensed as a physician in the United States. At the same time, I refused giving up on what I love doing: talking to, learning about and helping people. Researching the field of health and wellness, I found the Mayo Clinic course to be a great fit for me: it is thorough, research-based and integrative and it puts the client in focus. I discovered that coaching in a collaborative relationship can be quite different than being a physician giving advice. Frankly, I found that this way of communicating suits me better. Obviously, straight advice and clear expert directions are often necessary (if your physician thinks you’re having a heart attack or an appendix about to burst, it’s not a time to collaborate. You just have to get the right treatment as fast as possible). However, in my experience (and research supports this), when setting goals for ones health, wellness and life, a collaborative coaching approach works much better than being an expert merely telling people what they need to do and why.
On the personal side, I am a social being, and my husband and I enjoy cooking and entertaining. We love drinking coffee while watching the sunrise, experiencing new foods, wines, teas and places together, and more than anything, meeting new people. Our kids go to school and stay active practicing various sports, while my husband and I are elliptical-, bike-, running and weight training (the last one mostly my husband, I must admit) people.
On calm days I enjoy reading, taking walks or just hanging out. I enjoy decorating as it both brings out my creativity and calms me down. I am a sucker for cozy atmospheres and I love candles. Having my parents, extended family and many of my friends in Norway, I do spend a good amount of time on the phone.
Maintaining close relationships is a priority for me.
Deciding to quit the residency to become licensed in the US, was also about priorities. As much as I appreciated the opportunity to work as a physician again, I realized that the required time and effort would significantly and negatively impact my overall health and wellness, including sleep, rest, exercise, diet, and relationships. Essentially, other then seeing patients, I would not have been able to do any of the things I love and am interested in, and that energize, excite and recharge me.
As a health and wellness coach I am excited to work with you to make your priorities based on your values. It is not about ignoring practical life, but defining what's important to you, what makes you happy and energized, and what makes you feel healthy and well. If you have an illness, I'm exited to see if we can change the focus from “how is this illness affecting/destroying my life” to “how might I take good care of myself so I can feel well and healthy and live the life I want despite having an illness”.
I can’t make your illness go away, but I want to partner with you to figure out which changes might be right for you to make in order to reach your goals. My overall goal for you is that you feel healthy and well despite stress and illness. This journey can be challenging and sometimes hard, but also enlightening, exciting, inspiring and fun. That's what we are aiming for!