Ambiguous Loss and the Myth of Closure

Ambiguous loss is loss without closure, and thus its grief also has no closure. When loved ones can’t be found or healed from an illness, when families are uprooted and separated by forced migrations, or when loss makes no sense (suicide, homicide), the lens of ambiguous loss helps therapists as they work with families when there is no clear solution. While lingering grief from ambiguous loss is akin to that of complicated grief, it is a normal reaction to an abnormal type of loss. DSM 5 will be discussed in this regard. Traditional grief and PTSD therapies are thus insufficient. Instead we discuss relational and contextual assessments and interventions, as well as cultural differences regarding the need for closure. Boss’ six therapeutic guidelines to increase the resiliency to tolerate, and even embrace ambiguity, focus on meaning, mastery, identity, ambivalence, attachment, and hope. Dr. Boss includes a case analysis and time for self-of-the-therapist reflection.

Pauline Boss, PhD, is a family therapist and Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota. She is the author of Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief (Harvard University Press, 1999), Loss, Trauma, and Resilience (Norton, 2006) and most recently, Loving Someone Who Has Dementia (Jossey-Bass/John Wiley, 2011). She trains clinicians around the world, most recently, Japan, and Zurich. Her clinical practice is in St Paul, MN.

Date: Friday, April 1, 2016
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuition: $135
Contact Hours (CEU’s) for NYS: 6
CE Credits for NASW: 5

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If you would like to mail or fax in your application form, download a printable application here.

The Ackerman Institute for the Family SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0052.

This program has been approved for Continuing Education Credit Hours by the National Association of Social Workers, CT and meets the continuing education criteria for CT Social Work Licensure renewal

If you are an Ackerman alumni or current Ackerman student, please contact the Training Department directly to register.

Damaly Ferreira
Phone: 212-879-4900