Books by Pauline Boss
Loss, Trauma, and Resilience, W.W. Norton, 2006
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Pauline Boss, the principal theorist of the concept of ambiguous loss, guides professionals in the task of building resilience in clients who face the trauma of loss without resolution.  In her earlier groundbreaking book, Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief, her work was praised by the Washington Post for “giving a name to a force many of us will confront.”  Now, in Loss, Trauma, and Resilience, Boss describes a concrete therapeutic approach that is at once direct and open to the complex contexts in which people find meaning and discover hope in the face of ambiguous losses.
An ambiguous loss is one in which some critical element is missing, making customary rituals impossible, and impeding typical behaviors.  Some ambiguous losses are due to physical absence and others are due to psychological absence.  Whether it is living with a loved one in the grip of Alzheimer’s, coping with a partner who has gone missing, or dealing with any loss in which closure cannot be achieved, people need guidance in order to see their losses as ambiguous, resist social pressures to “get over” the loss, and develop resilience based on personal strengths and family and community support.
Based on clinical research and her extensive experience working with families who have suffered traumatic and ambiguous losses in places as diverse as New York City and Bosnia-Herzegovina, 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.  The book closes with an essential epilogue addressing the therapist. Closing the circle of the therapeutic process, Boss shows therapists how fundamental their own experiences of loss (ambiguous or not) are to their clinical work.
"This is a book that is so needed in our field, that builds upon the years Boss has spent developing the important concept of ambiguous loss . . .  a very important contribution.  Complex oncepts are clearly written, using examples that bring the concepts to life."
   -- Constance Ahrons, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California; Director, Divorce and Remarriage Consulting Associates; Author of The Good Divorce and We're Still Family
“In a world with wars, migration, disastrous events like the 9/11 attacks, and personal tragedies such as Alzheimer’s, ambiguous loss is all around us.  Many people experience separation, be it of mind or body, without closure, leaving them with distinctive problems of managing grief, stress, and trauma.  This poses major challenges for society in general, and for therapists in particular.  Pauline Boss’s book is illuminating, useful, and informative.  It develops original theory through numerous examples drawn from the author’s research.  Loss, Trauma, and Resilience is an important contribution to the psychosocial literature on loss and trauma, essential for therapists, researchers, and anyone seeking to reflect on contemporary life.”
   -- Celia J. Falicov, Ph.D., Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, and past President, American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA)
"With her new book, Pauline Boss has made a significant contribution to the field of trauma studies by addressing the need to bridge individual models of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder with those based on relational and resilience approaches.  At a time when the violence and losses of war, terrorism, and natural disasters increasingly threaten to unravel the social fabric of entire communities, clinicians and humanitarian workers alike will welcome Boss’s clear guidelines for strengthening connections in families in order to better cope with the stress of such ambiguous and difficult situations and find new sources of meaning and hope."
   -- Jack Saul, Ph.D., Director of the International Trauma Studies Program, New York City
"We all confront loss in our lives, and with loss comes a rupture in meaning.  In Loss, Trauma, and Resilience, Pauline Boss insightfully sees traumatic loss as "a relational disorder and not individual pathology."  Most importantly, she draws on her substantial therapeutic experience, along with sophisticated theoretical resources, to provide practicable routes to restoring relations, meaning, and hope.  This work will be especially useful to therapists confronting cases of trauma, great and small, and to scholars concerned with therapy as the site for restoring meaning."
   -- Kenneth Gergen, Mustin Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College, and author of The Saturated Self and An Invitation to Social Contribution.
"Pauline Boss has written a comprehensive guide to understanding and healing one of the most painful of human experiences.  In clear, accessible prose, she links together a wide range of theories, practices, and vivid cultural references.  Sure to become a classic that will be widely read by those who've suffered ambiguous loss as well as those attempting to provide a therapeutic pathway that transforms suffering into newfound strength."
   -- Peter Fraenkel, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, The City University of New York and co-author of The Relational Trauma of Incest: A Family-Based Approach to Treatment