Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic and Change, W. W. Norton, December 14, 2021, release
How do we begin to cope with loss that cannot be resolved?
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many of us haunted by feelings of anxiety, despair, and even anger. In this book, pioneering therapist Pauline Boss identifies these vague feelings of distress as ambiguous loss. This is what we experience when a loss remains unclear and undefined, and thus lingers indefinitely. Now, with a pandemic that has upended the lives of people across the globe, we are collectively experiencing ambiguous loss—loss of trust in the world as a safe place and loss of certainty about our healthcare, education for our children, employment, and the rebuilding of our lives after so much loss.
Here, you will find guidance for beginning to cope with this lingering distress, and even learn how this time of pandemic has taught us to tolerate ambiguity, build resilience, and emerge from crises stronger than we were before.
Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief, Harvard University Press, 2000
When a loved one dies we mourn our loss. We take comfort in the rituals that mark the passing, and we turn to those around us for support. But what happens when there is no closure, when a family member or a friend who may be still alive is lost to us nonetheless? How, for example, does the mother whose soldier son is missing in action, or the family of an Alzheimer's patient who is suffering from severe dementia, deal with the uncertainty surrounding this kind of loss? In this sensitive and lucid account, Pauline Boss explains that, all too often, those confronted with such ambiguous loss fluctuate between hope and hopelessness. Suffered too long, these emotions can deaden feeling and make it impossible for people to move on with their lives.
Loss, Trauma, and Resilience, W.W. Norton, 2006
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. 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.
Loving Someone Who Has Dementia, Jossey-Bass, 2011
Research-based advice for people who care for someone with dementia
Nearly half of U.S. citizens over the age of 85 are suffering from some kind of dementia and require care. Loving Someone Who Has Dementia is a new kind of caregiving book. It's not about the usual techniques, but about how to manage on-going stress and grief. The book is for caregivers, family members, friends, neighbors as well as educators and professionals—anyone touched by the epidemic of dementia. Dr. Boss helps caregivers find hope in ambiguous loss— having a loved one both here and not here, physically present but psychologically absent.
Family Stress Management (3rd edition) Sage, 2017
The Third Edition of Family Stress Management by Pauline Boss, Chalandra M. Bryant, and Jay A. Mancini continues its original commitment to recognize both the external and internal contexts in which distressed families find themselves. With its hallmark Contextual Model of Family Stress (CMFS), the Third Edition provides practitioners and researchers with a useful framework to understand and help distressed individuals, couples, and families.
Family Stress: Classic and Contemporary Readings, Sage Publications, 2003
Why do some families rebound from stress with seeming ease while others seem to struggle? This anthology, comprised of 23 major articles from the family stress literature, addresses questions such as the increasingly diverse and complex family situations of stress and crisis. This volume provides the family stress community with an accessible, coherent compilation of writings by past, present and emerging family stress scholars. The reader includes classic and current writings from multi-disciplinary streams of work in family social science, social work, nursing, family sociology, family therapy, and family psychology.