All losses are touched with ambiguity. Yet those who suffer losses without finality bear a particular burden.
Pauline Boss, the principal theorist of the concept of ambiguous loss, guides clinicians in the task of building resilience in clients who face the trauma of loss without resolution. Boss describes a concrete therapeutic approach that is at once directive and open to the complex contexts in which people find meaning and discover hope in the face of ambiguous losses. In Part I readers are introduced to the concept of ambiguous loss and shown how such losses relate to concepts of the family, definitions of trauma, and capacities for resilience. In Part II Boss leads readers through the various aspects of and target points for working with those suffering ambiguous loss. From meaning to mastery, identity to ambivalence, attachment to hope–these chapters cover key states of mind for those undergoing ambiguous loss. The Epilogue addresses the therapist directly and his or her own ambiguous losses. Closing the circle of the therapeutic process, Boss shows therapists how fundamental their own experiences of loss are to their own clinical work.
In Loss, Trauma, and Resilience, Boss provides the therapeutic insight and wisdom that aids mental health professionals in not "going for closure," but rather building strength and acceptance of ambiguity. What readers will find is a concrete therapeutic approach that is at once directive and open to the complex contexts in which people find meaning and discover hope in the face of ambiguous losses.
"The author’s many years of clinical experience in this area will help to educate and guide clinicians who encounter the growing number of clients who have experienced ambiguous loss." — The Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic
"In a dominant culture that denies death and marginalizes those most closely affected by it, the work of Pauline Boss is indeed welcome....[D]efies many traditional Western ways of thinking about and responding to loss by examining it head on and giving voice to the experiences of those whom even mental health professionals may be least prepared to assist....[A] worthy contribution." — Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care
"Comprehensive, clear, well-referenced guide....[that] presents valuable insight into the common feature in the situations so many people find themselves in..." — Counseling Resource