Hello, I'm Katrien

I'm a founder and Director of Research of Open Up, developer of  breathwork with psychotherapy which i facilitate in a holistic approach. I am driven by a fierce passion and curiosity for Life. I'm a social entrepreneur and an alive learning educator, and actively create opportunities for transformation of people - and through that, transformation of society. I hope to bring a deeper understanding of the nature of transformation and to generate an innovative form of inquiry and learning in action to unleash insight, which I have coined "Alive Learning". In a previous life I was a multiple award-winning photographer

Alive Learning is learning through the experience of what is alive from an inner learning perspective

Katrien is a highly experienced and trained facilitator of groups and individual processes. She works with widely different people in change-making and decision-making environments, and largely with younger generations, developing self-leadership, and empowering global change makers and decision-makers, individually, and in politics, in organisations, in healthcare, communities, and refugee settlements.

There are many dimensions to her work and Cycles of Learning that is experienced by thousands of people. The practice is to help people go to the source of complexity and open up through what is most alive to come alive where practices and generative questions are explored in order to re-imagine and co-create a rich field of individual and mutual growth. 

With learnings from 15 years of inner work and extensive and on-going research and study in psycho-somatic breathwork, sacred and psychological practice and therapeutic training, the skills have formed a holistic approach which gives deep access to information, wisdom and healing. 

Katrien is a certified Holistic Counselor and trained as therapist by Rafia Morgan and Turiya Hanover, accredited by SIAF and approved by the CRKBO by the Dutch government and within the European Union guidelines for quality vocational education.

in 2020 Katrien openend the Scientific Research division and is pioneering breathwork into psychotherapy as a new therapy and approach for mental health. She is also the initiator of the non-profit inner work project for refugee youth worldwide. 

For more than two decades, she has been a part of initiating, curating and developing several projects, trainings, programs, and been a part of innovative collaborations for regenerative system changeKatrien is currently a co-facilitator in The Emergent Dialogue as created by Elizabeth Debold and Thomas Steiniger within the Emerge Network. She is also co-host and co-creator of the Unlearning Journey, together with Hanno Burmester, who is author of the book The Unlearning Journey.

In 2020 she was certified as a Warm Data Lab host in by Nora Bateson of the International Bateson Institute and helps create new ways of shifting perception of interdependency.

She is creating spaces for co-discovery where skills are learned to build solid foundation in ourselves from where we can safely and responsibly create possibilities of a brighter future. Skills that bring bedding to our knowing and intelligence in order to expand and mature in perceiving the multidimensional. 

Abstract Shapes

Through Open Up we breathe-with, experiment-with, play-with, become-with, learn-with, fail-with, see-with, connect-with the world within us, as the source of all solutions.

       Some things about me 

  • I value experience as the highest good

  • I work with what is most alive to come alive

  • Experiments are central in everything i do

  • I hold space for the delicate, the bold and the brave, and value our humanness.

  • I help to open conversations, challenge our beliefs, and inner dialogues

  • My deepest intention is to listen into our human complexity in quest for depth and meaning

  • Inquiry is an essential element of my practice of not knowing

      Method and teachings I am trained in: ​

  • Holotropic Breathwork as created by Stanislav Grof

  • Breathwork based on the work of Wilhelm Reich and Alexander Lowen

  • Certified level 3/4 BioDynamic Breathwork & Trauma Release by Giten Tonkov

  • Certified Warm Data Lab host by Nora Bateson of the International Bateson Institute)

  • Certified Holistic Counselor by Rafia Morgan and Turiya Hanover and SIAF

  • Certified Yin Yoga 200 hrs by Anat Geiger through Yoga Alliance

  • Certified Essence work facilitator - the Lataif 

  • The Diamond Approach of A.H. Almaas

  • The Enneagram personality typology

  • Client Centered Therapy based on the work of Carl Rogers

  • TRE (Level 1) - Tension and Trauma Release Exercise of David Berceli


Katrien was introduced to breathwork in 2004 which completely changed her perception on life. She realised that using this modality produced an increasing sense of wellbeing, cultivating the exceptional. Whenever she encountered presence, she experienced a completeness of being, a wholeness and effortless peace, explosive insights and profound, awakened relaxation.

With a history of cancer, "being in recovery" and responsible for her own well-being, she started to re-discover her response and ability to engage with life. Her cancer opened a learning to the psychological and spiritual which manifested itself in a physical form - affecting her whole 'being" and all layers of existence. She journeyed to a number of places with illness and had to address it on all levels. This experience, combined with her intense interest in the evolution of consciousness led to the birth of Open Up in 2015; a place for learning and self-healing through the experience of 'what is most alive to come alive'.

​With Open Up she hopes to support deeply meaningful changes in people's lives, and encourages an educational and experiential approach in order to facilitate the exchange of ideas and discoveries for mutual learning, growth and enrichment. To push into our edges, soften and open to our strength and vulnerability, delight in the joy and freedom in our authenticity –and come home, individually and together to our intimate belonging. Ultimately the wholeness she seeks is in the creation of our connected wisdom.

Open Up is founded in 2015, community focussed and always heart–led, challenging and supporting new ways of thinking, sensing, doing and being. 

Image by Frédéric Perez


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© Open Up 2021