Katrien Franken, Founder


Katrien is driven by a fierce passion and curiosity for Life and the evolution of consciousness. Her life and work is about social-transformative change, conscious responsivity, and action in the world that now is. She globally support humans to open up to the whole of their experience and source of complexity, unlocking human magic, and to breathe and awaken vital connections with oneself, others, and nature. She approaches breathwork as alive learning education, as poetry and chaos, as mythopoetic. 

She is learner and educator, curious about the confluence between mysterie and knowledge, openness and growth, longing and belonging, relation and connection, and the "space in between". The appetite for time-bound experiments, curiosity, magic, imagination and mutual enrichment.

She develops methodologies and approaches suited to a better world, and inspires and equips humans to reinvent themselves, and increase radical kinship with the human and more-than-human worlds.

She can be found at the edge where she's calling for collaborations across nations, sectors and generations where she is weaving visions of the possible. She co-creates with passionate humans, committed to being the change.


Prior to the start of Open Up, Katrien worked for 10 years as an independent photographer. She is a renown multiple-award winning artist and been called "The Johannes Vermeer of the 21st century".

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Katrien is a highly experienced and trained facilitator of groups and individual processes. She has founded and co-founded multiple projects, designing and implementing learning programmes and facilitating individuals and groups across the world. She works with widely different people, and largely with younger generations, developing self-leadership, individually, and with-in change-making and decision-making environments, in politics, in organizations, in healthcare, in communities, and in refugee settlements. With learnings from 20 years of devoted inner work, and extensive and on-going research and study in psycho-somatic breathwork, spiritual and psychological practice and therapeutic training, her skills have formed a holistic approach which gives deep access to information, wisdom and healing. 

The many dimensions and Cycles of Learning of her work is experienced by thousands of people globally. She is inspired to challenge and support humans and organisations to open up to the source of complexity where generative questions are explored and experienced that can open to a rich field of individual and mutual growth, and connection.  ​

In 2020 Katrien launched two independent philanthropy projects which deeply invests and aims to make visible what's possible in exploring new understandings of human healing potential and growth. 

Katrien has implemented learning programmes and created courses and series, bringing together the worlds of breathwork, dialogue and inquiry, shadow integration, ecology, and psychology. The Breathwork Group Series,

Darkness meditationListen sessions, Deep Breath and Breathwork immersive sessions are examples of that.


She is part of the faculty of THNK School for Creative Leadership. She also currently co-creating and facilitating groups for the transformative education platform Advaya.

Katrien is a Holistic Counsellor and trained therapist, accredited by SIAF and approved by the CRKBO by the Dutch government and within the European Union guidelines for quality vocational education.

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. 

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

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Current engagements


       Course: 15.03.2022 – 05.05.2022. 

       Previous course: 10.03.2021 - 22.09.2021

      Current course:  27.10.2021 - 06.04.2022 



philanthropy work


Open Up Project for refugee youth in Africa and beyond

initiator, facilitator - Breathwork for refugees in Africa. A youth development initiative from Katrien Franken which was launched in March 2021 in Nakivale Refugee Settlement; one of the largest camps in the world, and home to 138.000 refugees. Read more here

​An inner growth and breathwork project Breathwork for youth in refugee settlements. A youth development initiative from Katrien Franken which was launched in March 2021 in Nakivale Refugee Settlement; one of the largest camps in the world and home to 138.000 refugees. Read about here

Breathwork for refugee youth project in Africa


Scientific Research in breathwork

initiator, developer, facilitator - Open Up unravels the psycho–and physiological, and non-ordinary effects in conscious breathwork for the future of education, healthcare and psychotherapy. Read more 

Initiated by Katrien Franken, Open Up unravels the psycho–and physiological, and non-ordinary effects in conscious breathwork for the future of education, healthcare and psychotherapy. Read more 

Scientific research in breathwork

Vik Muniz, Fragment in Four Dimensions (Blue and Green), 2017 and Five Rips, 2018_edited.j



Things that have guided Katrien for the past 20 years:

  • I deeply listen and through that offer questions that open to the source of the issue where human complexity can be unravelled in quest for depth, meaning and healing

  • My work is non-linear and experiments are central in everything i do. Nothing is fixed or final 

  • I value experience as the highest good. Seeing's believing, but feeling's the truth

  • I work with what is most alive to come alive, because that is often where life is

  • Bridge-building between worlds (e.g. inner work, human development and education)

  • I work with the inner dimension of change and healing to worlding the now

  • I weave visions for the possible, uncovering and discovering stories to re-store, re-imagine and expand perception of the inter-relationality

  • Building praxis for embodied action



Methods and teachings Katrien is trained and/or certified in:​

  • 20 years of buddhist practice and meditation

  • Holotropic Breathwork as created by Stanislav Grof (ongoing since 2016)

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

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

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

  • Certified Holistic Counsellor by Rafia Morgan and Turiya Hanover (School For Essential Counseling and SIAF) including The Enneagram personality typology, Essence work - the Lataif. 

  • Certified Yin Yoga teacher (200 hrs by Anat Geiger through Yoga Alliance)​​

  • Trained in Client Centered Therapy based on the work of Carl Rogers

  • Trained in The Diamond Approach of A.H. Almaas

  • Trained in Somatic Experiencing (Peter Levine’s work)

  • Trained in Emergent Dialogue as created by Elisabeth Debold and Thomas Steiniger

  • 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 while becoming more open, experiencing effortless peace, explosive insights and profound, awakened relaxation. This alive learning entwined the journey of inner and outer learning, and eventually healing. "If we truly start to notice that nothing is more important than breathing, it would challenge us with new ways and tasks of thinking and of learning". A continuous search for “how” to live — the “how” also is the very nature of inspiration.

With a history of cancer, and "being in recovery", responsible for her own well-being, Katrien was introduced to re-discover her response and ability to engage with life. Her cancer affected 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; a falling into death, and in knowing that the world isn't what she thought it was, opened up a transformative "alive' learning; ecological awakening. This, together with a deep interest in the evolution of consciousness led to the birth of Open Up.

​With Open Up she hopes to support deeply meaningful changes in people's lives, and encourage an educational and experiential approach in order to facilitate the exchange of ideas and discoveries for mutual learning, growth and enrichment. To push gently 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.