Be an Open Book

The benefits of sharing your story

Everyone has their own unique story — executives of high-powered companies, college students, caregivers and cancer survivors. Lani Peterson, PsyD, has spoken and listened to people from all walks of life, each with their own special experiences and personal trials.

As a professional storyteller and story listener, Dr. Peterson helps others gain a deeper understanding of themselves, simply by hearing what they have to say.

“Listening to people in their stories is a way of helping them hear themselves, of drawing out what’s most important to them,” said Dr. Peterson. “In one’s stories are not only the content or plot of what happens, but underneath that, all their beliefs, their values, their motives, their goals . . . that’s all contained in someone’s story.”

Through listening to others, Dr. Peterson taps deep into others’ psyches, learning what inspires, motivates, frightens and worries them. Armed with that knowledge, she helps others understand their stories, thereby beginning the healing process.

“Ultimately, we all carry our stories,” said Dr. Peterson. “Perhaps the goal of what one brings and wants to do with their story is somewhat different, but ultimately, I feel we all have a message that we carry, that we want to reach other people, to connect with them, to be able to move forward together in our stories. We’re all motivated in that same way, to be seen, heard and connected.”

Dr. Peterson, a featured speaker at our upcoming Survivors Day event, will share her story — and will listen to others — at “A Hero’s Journey” on Saturday, June 4.

“We’re going to follow that hero’s journey as a healing journey,” said Dr. Peterson. “We will look at our own journey through illness, disease, sickness and what we learned along the way, and how we might help others.”

In our accompanying podcast, Dr. Peterson shares more about her background, including her meeting with Maya Angelou, and how storytelling can open one’s own perspective into their own lives.