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Ambiguous Loss
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Table of Contents

1. Frozen Grief 2. Leaving without Goodbye 3. Goodbye without Leaving 4. Mixed Emotions 5. Ups and Downs 6. The Family Gamble 7. The Turning Point 8. Making Sense out of Ambiguity 9. The Benefit of a Doubt Notes Acknowledgments

Promotional Information

Combining her talents as a compassionate family therapist and a creative researcher, Pauline Boss eloquently shows the many and complex ways that people can cope with the inevitable losses in contemporary family life. A wise book, and certain to become a classic. -- Constance R. Ahrons, author of The Good Divorce A powerful and healing book. Families experiencing ambiguous loss will find strategies for seeing what aspects of their loved ones remain, and for understanding and grieving what they have lost. Pauline Boss offers us both insight and clarity. -- Kathy Weingarten, Ph.D, The Family Institute of Cambridge, Harvard Medical School

About the Author

Pauline Boss is Professor of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota, past President of the National Council on Family Relations, and a psychotherapist in private practice.

Reviews

Boss, a practicing psychotherapist and professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, defines and explores ambiguous loss, a common and painful condition. Typified by a sense of "frozen grief," it can occur when a loved one is taken away (through desertion, divorce, or abduction) or can no longer respond (owing to mental or emotional loss or injury). Boss has written a thorough and compassionate study that serves as a guide to those trying to cope and get on with their lives. Case studies and anecdotes inspire and reassure, and Boss encourages self-nurturance and strength. Recovery can pave the way to a more positive and successful life. This book is beautifully written in clear, nontechnical language. Recommended for both public and academic libraries.ÄYan Toma & Jessica Wolff, Queens Borough P.L., Flushing, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

You will find yourself thinking about the issues discussed in this book long after you put it down and perhaps wishing you had extra copies for friends and family members who might benefit from knowing that their sorrows are not unique...This book's value lies in its giving a name to a force many of us will confront--sadly, more than once--and providing personal stories based on 20 years of interviews and research. -- Pamela Gerhardt Washington Post A compassionate exploration of the effects of ambiguous loss and how those experiencing it handle this most devastating of losses ... Boss's approach is to encourage families to talk together, to reach a consensus about how to mourn that which has been lost and how to celebrate that which remains. Her simple stories of families doing just that contain lessons for all. Insightful, practical, and refreshingly free of psychobabble. Kirkus Review Engagingly written and richly rewarding, this title presents what Boss has learned from many years of treating individuals and families suffering from uncertain or incomplete loss...The obvious depth of the author's understanding of sufferers of ambiguous loss and the facility with which she communicates that understanding make this a book to be recommended. -- R. R. Cornellius Choice Written for a wide readership, the concepts of ambiguous loss take immediate form through the many provocative examples and stories Boss includes, All readers will find stories with which they will relate...Sensitive, grounded and practical, this book should, in my estimation, be required reading for family practitioners. -- Ted Bowman Family Forum Dr. Boss describes [the] all-too-common phenomenon [of unresolved grief] as resulting from either of two circumstances: when the lost person is still physically present but emotionally absent or when the lost person is physically absent but still emotionally present. In addition to senility, physical presence but psychological absence may result, for example, when a person is suffering from a serious mental disorder like schizophrenia or depression or debilitating neurological damage from an accident or severe stroke, when a person abuses drugs or alcohol, when a child is autistic or when a spouse is a workaholic who is not really 'there' even when he or she is at home...Cases of physical absence with continuing psychological presence typically occur when a soldier is missing in action, when a child disappears and is not found, when a former lover or spouse is still very much missed, when a child 'loses' a parent to divorce or when people are separated from their loved ones by immigration...Professionals familiar with Dr. Boss's work emphasised that people suffering from ambiguous loss were not mentally ill, but were just stuck and needed help getting past the barrier or unresolved grief so that they could get on with their lives. Asian Age

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