Faculty member, lead group Breathwork facilitator and executive leadership coach for:

THNK School for Creative Leadership

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

April 2022 - ongoing

Lead Facilitator and partner for:

Advaya; global platform for transformative education. KINSHIP course: an exploration into being together through 

March 3 - May 5 2022

Lead Breathwork Facilitator for:

ICPR 2022 conference

Haarlem, The Netherlands

September 21, 2022

Lead Breathwork Facilitator for:

Awaken the Medicin Within Retreats

November 28 2022 - ongoing




Founder, Katrien Franken

Katrien Franken is a multiple award-winning photographer and artist, educator, philanthropist,

activist, social entrepreneur, as well as founder of Open Up, based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her work explores the question “How can we open up in consciousness, so we may improve our interaction with each other and with the world?”.


Katrien is a highly experienced and trained facilitator of groups and individual processes who designs methodologies, Series, innovative approaches and practices, suited to a better world. She has worked across multiple societal contexts applying the complexity of breathwork and inner work towards individual, social and cultural transformative change. With learnings from 20 years of devoted inner work, extensive and on-going research and study in psycho-somatic bodywork and breathwork, spiritual and psychological practice and therapeutic training, her skills have formed a holistic approach which gives deep access to information, wisdom and healing. 

Katrien has founded and co-founded multiple initiatives, designing and implementing learning programs and is facilitating individuals and groups across the world in change-making and decision-making environments, in politics, in organizations, in healthcare, in purpose-driven communities, and in refugee settlements. Her work is an expression of assembled studies, longings, learnings, initiatives, collaborations, experiments and experience of 20 years at the edges of our evolutionary growth. The many dimensions form part of her research into what she calls "Alive Learning education" which she is facilitating inter-culturally and cross-disciplinary. 

As an educator Katrien has developed processes that challenge, support and equips humans and organizations 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 for systems change through inner systems learning. She co-creates with passionate humans, committed to Being the change. Open Up integrates sciences, arts, philosophy and professional knowledge to create a qualitative inquiry and approach that leverage the psychotherapeutic, experiential and educational potential of Breathwork and inner work for the Future of health and the Future of education. 



Open Up - Assistant Training_edited.png


Recent & Upcoming Engagements

Katrien has implemented learning programmes and created courses and series, bringing together the worlds of breathwork, somatic intelligence, sacred experiencing, consciousness, the arts, education, communication, shadow integration, leadership, psychology and many more interrelational aspects for alive learning.




In for-profit and non-profit arenas, Katrien is creating avenues for collaborative action. In 2020 she founded two independent philanthropy initiatives which deeply invest and aim to make visible what's possible in exploring new understandings of human healing potential and growth. Katrien is part of the faculty of THNK School for Creative Leadership, and is a mentor, advisor and coach for executive stewards of all ages. She is a returning lead breathwork facilitator at the Interdisciplinary Conference for Psychedelic Research (ICPR), and is introducing Breathwork for/as Psychedelic Therapy. Katrien is a Holistic Counsellor and trained as a therapist in trauma and tension release, 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 by Nora Bateson of the International Bateson Institute, and helps create new ways of shifting perception of interdependency. 



philanthropy work


​Open Up is developing methodologies for inner growth, empowerment and healing for youth in refugee settlements. A breathwork and inner work 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.  

Open Up scientific researcg_edited.jpg



What can breathwork offer to the mental health crisis of youth, and open up a radical systems change to reduce the waiting lists, and improve the healing and development of youth through conscious breathwork. Open Up is investing and developing the science in collaboration with Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam and a team of scientific researchers who voluntarily contribute to our mission.

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 am curious about the confluence between mysterie and knowledge, openness and growth, longing and belonging, relation and connection, and the "space in between".

  • 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, psychology, cognitive science, the arts, theatre)

  • I work with the inner dimension of change and healing, 

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

  • Building praxis for embodied action

  • The appetite for time-bound experiments, curiosity, magic, imagination and mutual enrichment. 



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 - A.H. Almaas

  • Trained in Somatic Experiencing (Peter Levine)

  • 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 opened up a transformative alive' learning. This ecological awakening, 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.