About me


Voor informatie over mijn coachingspraktijk click hier,

For information about my practice in existential coaching, please click here.

Professional Life

I am an Associate Professor of Health Psychology at Leiden University and an honorary member of the European Health Psychology Society. I also run a private practice as a coach with a special focus on existential matters and lifecycle related questions in Dutch or in English.

Portrait of Winnie gebhardt

Over the past three decades I have worked on the development of theory related to the study of health behavior change. My theoretical framework and accompanying empirical work are among the very first to underscore the importance of contextualizing health behavior within the personal goal structure. As such, my work focuses on 1. underlying motives for (health) goals, and 2. other important and potentially conflicting or facilitating goals, that may influence behavioral change.

My substantial number of well-cited publications support the relevance of underlying motivations, goal processes, and of applying intervention techniques to reduce goal conflict and ambivalence. More recently my research concerns self‐ and group‐identity processes during the process of health behavior change. In this, I explore new intervention techniques to link a health goal to central self-views, and by boosting “transitional identities”.

I collaborate with many scholars in Leiden, in The Netherlands and around the world. My theoretical insights have been applied to a broad range of behaviors and people. These include safer sexual practices, exercise, smoking and alcohol behavior among adolescents, the elderly and those with a lower SES background. In addition, I have evaluated the effects of (governmental) interventions to encourage healthier lifestyles, or to improve the quality of care in patients, and have been concerned with improving the process of implementation of interventions.

Read more about me in my curriculum vitae.

Personal life

I am married to Marc, and mother of Douwe (1997) and Tess (1999). I  like to spend time with family and friends, singing with our choir Decadent, and playing my beautiful new flute. I try to meditate on a daily basis, love to walk outdoors, and to relax at home in our garden, or in the nearby spa. I work voluntarily as a bereavement counselor for the bereavement support group at hospice Issoria in Leiden and used to work as a Humanistic Speaker at memorial services. I also was a volunteer at the Leiden bereavement cafe.


You can reach me at: Health, Medical and Neuropsychology, Leiden University, PO Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, The Netherlands. Email: gebhardt[at]fsw.leidenuniv.nl.