The biggest misconception in therapy across various cultures is that something has to be "wrong with you" to see a therapist.


Until recent years, therapy and mental health have been swept under the rug by society. There is still progress to be made regarding social stigmas and systematic support for mental health, but there has been a shift in society to realize the importance and normalcy of therapy. Regardless of race, religion, gender, or economic status, each human will endure obstacles, situations, or challenges that will test our mental health. Therapy isn’t always utilized for crises. The best time to make sure your roof is in order is when the sun is shining. Crises are more prone to happen when regular maintenance hasn’t been performed. Therapy is often utilized as a resource for maintaining healthy mindsets, relationships, marriages, and careers. After learning of how important mental health professionals are, I made an intentional effort to lift the voices and publish books for Black Therapists that are making a difference in the culture, community, and economy. Dr. Shundrika Jones has been doing all three plus more. This week I had the opportunity to catch up with Dr. Jones after she published her first book with Williams Commerce.


Ross: 2022 has been such a productive year for you, and I believe you have many more things to accomplish before 2023. Could you please tell the readers about your achievements this year?

Dr. Jones: 2022 has been a busy yet exciting year so far for me. I published my first book, and my business Collective Psychotherapy expanded. Additionally, I had a lot of success in my military career. I successfully completed my Company Command time.

Ross: What motivated you to start your business?

Dr. Jones: What motivated me to start my business was my passion to help others and my own mental health journey. I learned a long time ago to enjoy the journey instead of focusing on the results. That is truly what I teach my clients to do. Understanding that taking time to enjoy your healing journey creates mental stability like no other. Additionally, wanting to help the youth was another significant contributing factor to my business. For every child, I can reach and help equal one less emotionally and mentally damaged adult in the world.

Ross: What advice do you have for new authors wanting to grow their brand?

Dr. Jones: My advice for new authors is to follow your heart and be sure you are keeping your target audience in mind when you write or produce any new products. Most authors will probably agree that we are inspired to write in order to help others in some way, but as we build our brand, it is important that we continue to keep our purpose and customers in mind.

Ross: What are the unique aspects of your business?

Dr. Jones: At Collective Psychotherapy, we focus on helping individuals, families, and couples heal from traumatic events. We currently have two therapists, which allows potential clients to choose the therapists they resonate the best with. Additionally, I am hosting groups for teenagers to help them learn their emotions and effective ways to navigate and communicate with them.

Ross: How has releasing a book changed your career?

Dr. Jones: Releasing my book has been a bonus in my career. I talk a lot about shifting your perspective with my clients. One way to do that is to use positive affirmations and journaling. Therefore, my book has been used by many of my clients, and it has helped them identify their own thinking patterns.

Ross: What are the biggest misconceptions about mental health and therapy?

Dr: Jones: The biggest misconception in therapy across various cultures is that something has to be "wrong with you" to see a therapist. Therapy is viewed as a luxury expense for many people. Many people also only think of mental health as a label such as a diagnosis. The truth is you can see a therapist to learn ways to adjust to life changes or cope with life stressors, which we all experience in life. We do not have to go through life suffering in silence.

Follow Dr. Jones on Instagram & visit Collective Psychotherapy - Are you looking for relief from life’s daily... to learn more about her business.

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Ross: When did you first get the idea to write a book?

Brian: I first got the idea to write a book back in 2015. Writing was a cathartic experience for me and helped me to release a lot of the feelings that I was hiding and holding in. By writing things down I was able to find my voice to be able to talk about all the things that happened and start to process it all to move towards healing.

Ross: What were the biggest challenges with completing your book?

Brian: Some of the biggest challenges in completing the book for me were actually finishing it and making the decision to release it. I was struggling with how do I bring the book to a closing as well as deciding how vulnerable I wanted to be with sharing certain elements of my story. Completing this book was definitely a process that I learned to trust wholeheartedly. I had to understand my true job in this whole process was simply to share my story.

Ross: What are the biggest lessons you learned about the book creation process?

Brian: I have learned that writing a book can be a very tedious process overall especially when you want what you’re saying conveyed a certain way. There is a lot that goes into telling the story just the way you want it.

Ross: How has releasing a book impacted your career?

Brian: I believe overall it has raised awareness about who I am and what I am capable of. It also, has established my credibility as an author.

Ross: What is your profession aside from writing?

Brian: Aside from writing I have been a defense contractor since 2011.

Ross: What advice would you give to someone trying to publish their first book?

Brian: I would tell them to grant themselves grace along the journey and don’t be afraid to create visuals to develop how they want their book to flow from beginning to the end. Also, I would tell them that power lies in vulnerability because it helps to build true connection with readers.

Ross: That’s amazing advice! How did you find strength in your vulnerabilities?

Brian: I was able to find the vulnerabilities did not mean I was weak. It meant I was strong enough to be transparent and have a very human experience. Vulnerability requires you to get really honest with yourself about a lot of things. And if you won’t be honest with you then don’t expect anyone else to do it.

Ross: Which books inspired you to become an author?

Brian: The Four Agreements, The Power of Now, The Alchemist and A Course in Miracles. These books helped me to understand that all you really need is already inside of you if you’re just willing to tap into that power.

Ross: What do you have planned next for your literary career?

Brian: I want to explore some different genres of writing. I want to see what I can do with fiction and poetry. I don’t want to limit myself to one style of doing things. I believe there are some more ways to become innovative with literature.

Ross: What are the main takeaways you want readers to have from your book?

Brian: I want the reader to know that they can overcome anything and that they should never count themselves out. I also want the reader to understand that life is a learning process, and you have to be willing to grow through what you go through. Healing is a beautiful journey of becoming the best version of yourself along the way. Forgiveness is a powerful tool and making peace with your past sets you free to focus on the present moment and look to the future with optimism.

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Ross: When did you first get the idea to write a book?

Mike: I 1st got the idea to write a book back in 2007. I went to a poetry group meeting where we read poetry out loud, and the folks there that night were in love with my writing, so I started making holiday cards and giving them away. Eventually, in 2010, I had written enough material to release my 1st book titled (CHAMBERS OF MY HEART POETICAL SCRIPTURES VOL.1 )

Ross: What were the biggest challenges with completing your book?

Mike: The biggest challenges for me were the funding and the know-how, where you have all this wonderful work you want to share and contribute to the world because you can’t take it with you, but you don’t have the marketing funds or even the resources to market your book. I sold many books hand-to-hand and online, but that burns you out when you have to pay bills and provide.

Ross: If you could go back and change something about the beginning of your literary career, what would it be?

Mike: I wouldn’t change anything. The poems I shared with the world have helped others I still keep in touch with. I view the world with so much more to do. Your 9 to 5 isn't the end all be all. Whether you have read my poems or just purchased a book, one thing for sure people know that I am brave and confident just to be able to work so hard to take my 9 to 5 money and take a chance on myself.

Ross: How has releasing a book impacted your career?

Mike: Well, as a nurse, having released two poetry books makes me unique. People look at me differently. Sometimes it's with envy. At times, folks think I have arrived, but I am not where I want to be yet. I am still a starving artist. These books have also impacted me in a way where it taught me to be patient and that every L is not a loss. It is a learning opportunity to do something different.

Ross: That’s a deep takeaway. What is an example of how you turned a loss into a win?

Mike: Most of my learnings are that I used to place others before myself. Example: I used to manage some very talented artists from Brooklyn, and I enjoy managing, but it is a lot to deal with, especially when the rap artists are into street activity. I have learned that I was putting my dreams on hold to help market and push my artist. I started to lose sight of what I wanted to offer the world. Eventually, we went our separate ways. We are all still cool, but I do what I have to do now for me, myself, and I because when you are down for the cause of others, you become engulfed in their whole lifestyle. Now when you make the transition to do something for yourself, there is no one to help you push you. No one there is as engulfed in your brand as engulfed as you were in theirs. It's just you alone. So, the win is that I now truly dedicate every breath of life to my craft and brand.

Ross: What advice would you give to someone trying to publish their first book?

Mike: I would tell that person to do the research because there are a lot of companies out there that don’t even know your demographic. I would tell that person to know their go-to audience and build from there. I know at least 60 folks will be ready to purchase my 3rd book when I release it. When I travel, I network from the time I get in the airport. The whole flight staff gets books. When I travel, I learn about people's cultures so I can sell them books. I would tell a person to search for multiple independent publishers to release their book. Also, try to get sponsors and a team because you will burn yourself out juggling a day job and trying to market your book. It worked for me because I see everyone as a possible supporter. The worse thing they can do is say no, I don't want to purchase your book today.

Ross: Which books inspired you to become an author?

Mike: 48 Laws of Power is like my daily Bible, so that book. Plus, The Rose That Grew from Concrete by Tupac.

Ross: What do you have planned next for your literary career?

Mike: My 3rd book is titled “Letters to Hip-Hop.” I'm going to keep working until something happens. I had one, now two, and number 3 coming.

Ross: What inspired the creation of your third book?

Mike: The 3rd book is not done yet, but “Letters To Hip-Hop” is the love and hate battle I have with hip-hop that forces folks to think that they have to create this super gangsta image that may not even be them just to be accepted in the world of rap or the hip-hop lifestyle. Why does every person who is trying to rap have to meet this thug criteria? You either have to had sold drugs, killed, shot a gun, gang bang, almost lose your life, or go to jail just to earn a place in the rap game, and this is the only genre this is like that.

Ross: What are the main takeaways you want readers to have from your book?

Mike: My 2nd book, titled “Faces of Instagram What Filter Are You?” I just want folks to know the difference between Instagram, social media, and the real world. Too often, these worlds tend to cross, and the outcomes are also bad. I write from a poetical stance in this 2nd book.

Follow Mike Pierre Paul on Instagram and check out his powerful poetry books on Amazon

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