Dwayne Buckingham August 11, 2020 No Comments

Building Resilience During the Pandemic

As America continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of individuals across the nation are faced with unemployment while others are working extended hours, managing their own anxiety, taking care of their families, and homeschooling their children. Unfortunately, the latter challenges threaten the psychological and physical wellbeing of those experiencing this devastating adversity. With uncertainty looming, we must all take an active stance to safeguard ourselves and build personal resilience.


Many individuals define resilience differently. Most researchers agree that resilience associates with an individual’s ability to bounce back after facing adversity or hardship. I define resilience as “the ability to bounce back wiser, better, and stronger after facing adversity.” Resilient individuals recover quicker. They cope with adversity and psychological stress in an effective manner.

Building resilience has many advantages. Resilience helps people face and manage positive and negative life events. Here are three tips for building resilience:

Tip #1–Develop a Personal Resilience Framework 

Having different strengths and personalities, it is important to remember that what works for someone else might not work for you. Examine your characteristics and personal resources. What are your beliefs or sense of purpose? My personal resilience centers around positive thinking and processing. I exchange negative imagery with positive imagery and view resilience as a process, not an outcome. This framework helps me practice optimism and patience.

I often remind people that resilience looks and feels different for everyone. Therefore, you must develop a personal resilience framework. Define what resilience means to you. Create imagery, quotes, or metaphors to help practice resilience. Make sure that you are living a lifestyle that fits your personal resilience framework.

Tip #2 – Focus on Your Strengths 

Your strengths are personal assets used regularly to navigate through life (e.g., positive thinking, good problem-solving skills, a flexible sense of humor, organization, maintaining good health, trust in other people, high self-esteem, creativity, and faith).

When faced with adversity, exert energy towards the things that work for you. Be mindful that our greatest weapon for combating adversity roots itself in our ability to identify what works for us and use it to our advantage. For example, one of my strengths is finding solutions in problems. I often remind myself of these words: “Resilient people find solutions in problems. In contrast, troubled people find problems in every solution.”

Tip #3–Concentrate on Internal Locus of Control

There are two types of control points in life. However, only one provides us with the ability to feel like we are in control. Understanding the difference between internal locus of control and external locus of control essentially builds resilience and successfully overcomes challenges.

What is your locus of control? Do you believe that you have control over the outcomes in your life? If yes, your locus of control is internal. Do you believe that external forces have control over the outcomes in your life? If yes, your locus of control is external.

Why is this important? Life throws curve balls at us such as COVID-19. Those who have internal locus of control believe that their actions impact what happens to them. You cannot control the infection rate (external). However, you can monitor and manage your lifestyle in order to prevent self-exposure (internal).

Internal locus of control has a major impact on your life and helps you build resilience. Remember that resilience is about taking charge of a person’s life. When storms surface, resilient people monitor their personal reaction instead of complaining about the severity of the storm.

Unfortunately, we are facing some difficult times. However, coping with adversity in a resilient manner is possible and proves to work. By building your personal resilience, you successfully navigate through life and overcome any obstacles that are placed in front of you.

As you continue to navigate through these difficult and trying times, please practice self-care and implement the resilience building tips outlined above.

Lastly, keep in mind: the only time “giving” is bad, is when it is used with the word “up,” as in giving up. We will get through this and bounce back wiser, better, and stronger.

Best regards,

Dr. Dwayne Buckingham

Is America on the Verge of Civil War?

Everybody is talking about something these days and no matter where I turn someone is either talking about COVID-19, racism, politics or police reform. Like others, I feel overwhelmed and drained by all of the negative energy. I am watching people become bullies on social media and are saying whatever they feel without any regard for how others feel. People are rebutting and arguing perspectives instead of listening for understanding. Also, people are telling other people that their lived experiences are not real and that they should get over themselves. And to make matters worse, traditional news outlets are fueling the fire.

I don’t know about you, but I am really concerned about the future of America. Let me explain.

During a recent conversation with a colleague I was asked the following question: Is America on the Verge of a Civil War?

As I reflected on his question and on what is happening in America in regard to the increased racial tension and civil unrest, I have come to believe that America is on the verge of civil war. However, not because of the senseless murder of George Floyd or the different viewpoints about politics or police reform.

America is on the verge of civil war because of a powerful and primitive human emotion called FEAR. The murder of George Floyd and civil unrest across the nation triggered fear among millions of people, especially White people and Africans Americans. The presence of danger for themselves and their loved ones became a reality.

As a black man who was raised in a culture of trauma and fear, I know first-hand what fear feels like both physically and psychologically. Unfortunately, like millions of black men and women I live with hope in my heart, but fear in my mind.

  • Fearful that I will never be good enough in the eyes of White America, although I have achieved great things.
  • Fearful that I will continue to be preyed on regardless of my status.
  • Fearful that another man will take my life although he did not give me life.
  • Fearful that my skin color provides a platform for violence against me.
  • Fearful that the more disappointment and anger that I express about social injustice, the more I will be labeled as an ungrateful nigger.
  • Fearful that people will speak on my behalf and attempt to crucify me as a black man, but do not seek to understand my fear.
  • Fearful that I will be told that I am not a real American and that I should leave if I am unhappy in America despite the fact that I was born here.
  • Fearful that I will be proven guilty before I get a fair chance at innocence.
  • Fearful that I cannot protect my love ones or myself from injustice.
  • Fearful that the value of my life will always be based on how individuals value my culture.

Some people may argue that my fear is unjustified and that I am being overdramatic, negative and discouraging. No…I am simply sharing fear that is based on my lived experience.

Generally speaking, I believe that Black men fear white men and white men fear Black men. As a child I was taught to show the utmost respect for white people regardless of how they treated me. Also, I was taught to fear white police because they possessed the authority to inflict psychological and physical pain without being questioned or accused.

Initially, I thought that the adults in my life where exaggerating and being overprotective until I saw a police officer drag my sister’s boyfriend down six concrete stairs for questioning him. He did not arrest him, but stated that he could if he wanted to. And, while some people may not have experienced this type of psychological distress it is a lived reality for many African Americans.

As I journeyed through life and had a few negative experiences with some white people and police, I realized that my fear like theirs was rooted in survival. I also realized that the desire to survive triggers a survival mindset and fear. And fear can lead to emotional hijacking, which in return can cause people to engage in irrational, impulsive and even dangerous behavior.

The more that I learned about fear, the more that I learned about one simple fact…Everyone is fearful of something! Fearful that they might be harmed; fearful that they might lose their economic status, fearful that they might lose their privilege; fearful that they might be judged; fearful that they might not be accepted; fearful that they might lose their job; fearful that they might make the wrong decision; fearful that they might say the wrong thing; fearful that they might lose their life; and fearful that things will remain the same despite the need for change.

Fear creates a fight or flight response. It also creates defensiveness in people. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that social justice cannot be achieved, and no true change will take place until fear is addressed and resolved. Some individuals express their fear through silence which can reflect a flight response and can also be perceived as passiveness. While others express their fear by vocalizing it or through protest which reflect a fight response and also can be perceived as aggressiveness.

While I understand the importance of protesting for justice and advocating for police reform, I also understand that laws will not and cannot change people. Laws are designed to govern behavior, not change the hearts or minds of people.

It is without question that social justice in some manner needs to occur, but FEAR must be addressed and resolved across racial lines before justice can prevail. No Psychological Intervention, No Justice or Peace!

Unfortunately, we are living in a mental health crisis and America is on the verge of entering into a civil war that is rooted in FEAR. White elitists fear losing power and wealth and African Americans and other ethnic groups fear just about everything.

Americans will continue to feel threatened and remain fearful of a civil war without widespread psychological intervention! America needs to heal from its’ horrific past and the healing must occur inside the minds of ALL Americans and across the nation through social justice for all.

We are stronger together as a Nation of God loving people and must work together to ensure that FEAR does not destroy the LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE.

Just my two cents!

Best regards,

Dr. Dwayne Buckingham

A Fearful Black Man



A Nation That Is Divided By Injustice and Racism: Why Are African Americans Struggling To Breathe?

I would like to take a moment to explain why it is difficult for a large percent of African Americans to breathe. As we continue to struggle to process and cope with the negative psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now also trying to process the tragic death and senseless murder of George Floyd.

For many African Americans, the modern-day lynching of George Floyd reminds us of the systematic injustice that has and continues to threaten the moral fabric of America. As we try to make sense of what it means to be an American and more importantly what it means to be an African American in this country, many of us are struggling to breathe.

  • We are struggling to breathe because some Americans are not outraged about the senseless murder of black people.
  • We are struggling to breathe because some Americans are remaining silent because they do not have to confront the societal demons called racism and injustice.
  • We are struggling to breathe because some Americans believe that injustice is a cultural issue and not systematic issue.
  • We are struggling to breathe because some Americans hide behind privilege and false perception.
  • We are struggling to breathe because some Americans are well-intentioned, but are naïve about the stronghold and negative impact of racism.
  • We are struggling to breathe because some Americans do not understand that social empowerment cannot be achieved without economic empowerment.
  • We are struggling to breathe because some Americans lack empathy and compassion for people who look like George Floyd.
  • We are struggling to breathe because some Americans are ok with living in A Nation That Is Divided by Injustice and Racism.

I do not pretend to have all of the answers, but I do not know that civil unrest and violence will be unavoidable as long as African Americans continue to struggle to breath. We are as strong as the strongest American. Given this, I challenge you to look at yourself and decide if you are part of the solution or part of the problem. Also, I challenge you to ask yourself, “What positive and productive actions can I take to ensure that all Americans are capable of breathing freely?

We might not be able to remove all of the obstacles that are negatively affecting this country, especially not overnight, but we can begin to work our emotional and mental wellbeing. This is critically important because a person filled with hopelessness and helplessness sees no way forward.

  • Take a risk and speak up!
  • Take a risk and get counseling!
  • Take a risk and hold people accountable!
  • Take a risk and change what you do not like when you look in the mirror!
  • Take a risk and work to change A NATION THAT IS DIVIDED BY INJUSTICE AND RACISM.

“He who is not courageous enough to take risk will accomplish nothing in life.” -Muhammad Ali

As we all struggle to understand what is happening in America, please remember that breathing is necessary for living. We want to breathe justice! We want to breathe freedom. We want to breathe because Black Lives Matter.


Best regards,

Dr. Dwayne Buckingham

A Culture of Trauma: “When They See Us – The Central Park Five” Story

When They See Us – The Central Park Five” story had me in my feelings so I had to take action.

I often engage in self-dialogue after watching black stories that are somewhat traumatizing. I do this because many of us have been exposed to or lived through trauma so long that we get use to experiencing negative emotions and then ignore them by moving on.

Anger, frustration, dislike, disbelief, shock and fear must be processed or these emotions will surface and cause health problems both physically and mentally.

Individuals like myself are unfortunately too familiar with the trauma and injustice experienced by Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, and Raymond Santana.

Between the ages of 5 and 25 I lived through so much trauma that it became normal. Can you relate?

✅ At age 5 I saw my first dead body while walking home from school

✅ I was bullied for having a speech impediment throughout elementary school

✅ I was shot in the arm at age nine

✅ I watched the police beat and harass black men daily

✅ I feared the police due to harassment

✅ I was held in a jail cell for 4 hours at age 15 for being in the wrong place during a drug raid

✅ I witnessed violence and death due to daily gang activity

✅ I attended my nephew’s funeral – he was killed in a drive-by shooting at age 17

✅ I lost my mother at age 17 after she loss her battle with cancer

✅ I attended my friend’s funeral – he was murdered during an attempted robbery

✅ I was robbed at gun point in downtown St. Louis during summer break from college – the gun was pointed at my chest

✅ And more…

Some of you might be asking yourself, “What does his story has to do with the Central Park Five story?” You might also be asking yourself, “Why was he in his feelings over the weekend?”

Glad you asked.

The Central Park Five story is reflective of the African American story. A story of trauma and injustice.

They were traumatized and treated unjustly because of their ethnicity, lack of resources and for being in the “wrong” skin, in the wrong place and at the wrong time.

Time and time again, minorities and especially Black and Brown men have been and continue to be imprisoned, beat and even killed because a percentage of society see us as a threat, not as a human being.

I share my thoughts and feelings, not to solicit sympathy or to trigger back lash, but to simply highlight the importance of processing negative energy and traumatizing emotions.

“When They See Us” is a powerful film that triggers emotions that should and must be processed in a safe and healthy manner.

As a black man who has experienced trauma, I understand this personally. And as a licensed clinical psychotherapist with over 20 years of experience, I understand this therapeutically.

If you watch the movie, please speak with someone if you experience negative emotions. We have to stop feeling bad and not doing anything. It is normal to feel pissed, angry, sad and frustrated, but is not normal to hate, self-destruct, destroy your family or your community because you cannot or do not know how to cope with raw and traumatizing emotions.

Do not hold on to trauma because it will imprison you. The Central Park Five are free physically, but I wonder “Are they free mentally?

For support, please see our services or email us at Rhcs@realtherapyhelp.com



The #1 Marriage Quality Profile Assessment

The Marriage Quality Profile (MQP) Assessment is designed to provide you with insight about your overall readiness for marriage, identify areas needing more growth and pinpoint seven personal qualities that have been frequently associated with marital happiness and longevity.

The assessment was developed based on the therapeutic work of Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, a licensed clinical psychotherapist and relationship expert who has provided individual and marital therapy to over 30,000 clients from around the world. The seven personal qualities that Dr. Buckingham uses to predict marital readiness, compatibility, happiness and longevity were derived from his dissertation research and clinical interviews that he conducted with 30 couples who have been happily married for more than 20 years.

Are you…?

  1. Forgiving – willing and able to forgive; merciful and compassionate
  2. An Effective Communicator – delivers and receives messages with clarity
  3. Respectful – respects differences and shows admiration
  4. Integrity-Driven – behaves righteously when your partner is not present
  5. Self-confident – have confidence in yourself; free of doubt
  6. Trusting - believe in your partner; not suspicious
  7. Emotionally Resilient – possess the ability to adapt to stressful situations

Being a “good” woman or man does not necessarily qualify you as being marriage quality. By taking the MQP Assessment you can evaluate your readiness for marriage and find out if you possess the 7 personal qualities that are needed to succeed in marriage.

Think You Are Marriage Quality? Prove it!


This assessment contains 7 sections and has 10 questions in each section. By giving honest and spontaneous answers, you will get a sense of your marital readiness and/or the quality of your current marriage. Remember that there are no right and wrong answers, so do not spend a significant amount of time pondering over the questions.

(Complete all 70 Questions to GET YOUR RESULTS)



Your email address:

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Can a Woman Be Successful at Being a Mother, Wife and Career Professional?


Dear Dr. Buckingham,

I am currently in a marriage that has gotten worse over the past 15 years. I met my husband in college and we were both ambitious. I studied to become a lawyer and he studied to become a sports journalist. We both accomplished our goals. Before we jumped into the workforce we discussed the possibility that I could make more money than him at some point. Well, that is exactly what happened.

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He is a sports journalist for a small company and I am a partner in a law firm. I make almost $50,000 more than he does. The money does not matter to me because he knew that my heart was set on making a difference in the legal system. However, whenever I put in some extra time at the office he criticizes me and tells me that I am slacking on my motherly and wifely duties. He also tells me that no woman should put her career before her family. At times, he makes me feel like I have to choose. I am tired of him complaining and feel like I should quit my job.  Can a Woman Be Successful at Being a Mother, Wife and Career Professional?


Wife with Many Roles

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Should I Disown My Sister For Cheating With My Husband?


Dear Dr. Buckingham,

My marriage has been torn apart because of the actions of two people that I love to the moon and back. My husband of 6 years slept with my younger sister. My younger sister came to stay with us after she graduated college. We allowed her to stay with us until she got on her feet.

My husband is 42 years old and my sister is 22 years old. You might be wondering why I mentioned their ages. Well I believe that my husband seduced my younger sister. He purchased her clothes and gave her money. Initially, I did not think anything about their relationship until he allowed her to drive his Aston Martin Vanquish. The car cost over $200K.

I started to question their relationship when this started because he has never allowed me to drive the car. I went to work one day and decided to come home early. As I walked through the door I saw the two of them on the couch kissing. I quickly closed the door and jumped back in my car. I went to a friend’s house and stayed there for the night. My husband called and begged me to come home. My husband provides me with a first class lifestyle, but treats me a like a second-class citizen. I know that I have to face this, but I feel so disrespected by both of them and my heart is crushed. I know that my marriage is over, but I cannot divorce my sister. Should I Disown My Sister for Cheating with My Husband?

Please help,

Second Class Wife

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