Expired Advanced Ambiguous Loss Case Studies: Clinical Treatment with Couples and Families

This workshop is part of Ackerman’s Ambiguous Loss Expert Series with Dr. Pauline Boss & Dr. Elizabeth Weiling. The goal of this series is to train the next wave of experts in ambiguous loss. Practitioners will learn how to effectively support their clients and are invited to carry forward the work of ambiguous loss for future generations. Please check course prerequisites before completing your registration.

In Advanced Ambiguous Loss Case Studies: Clinical Treatment with Couples and Families, Dr. Boss and Dr. Wieling will use case studies, presented by clinicians, to address questions about how to apply the theory of ambiguous loss to help people manage stress and trauma in clinical settings.

As this workshop is interactive, not only do we want you to discuss, but we want you to bring your clinical questions and quandaries from your own clinical cases of ambiguous loss and trauma.

Case studies of traumatic ambiguous loss (physical and psychological) will be presented. Dr. Boss and Dr. Wieling will then give feedback, focusing on context, assessment, trauma, treatment, and ending therapy. Discussion will center on why grief therapy does not work with ambiguous loss, what to use instead, and our own tolerance for ambiguity.

Practitioners who complete this advanced workshop will receive certificates of completion, as well as the opportunity to be added to Dr. Pauline Boss’ ambiguous loss referral list.

Learning Objectives:

  • Be able to apply the theory of ambiguous loss more broadly, to recognize, understand, and assess such unresolvable losses at personal, family, and community levels
  • Gain a clinical understanding of intergenerational trauma and loss, the passing on of trauma (and resilience?), and which interventions can help those exposed to multiple types of traumatic stress
  • Know how to increase resilience for the trauma of ambiguous loss with the six guidelines and both/and thinking while also interrupting the transmission of trauma to another generation
  • Know that the goal with the trauma of ambiguous loss is to find meaning and understanding, not closure

Required Prerequisite:

To participate in this training you must have attended an ambiguous loss workshop at the Ackerman Institute within the last three years, including the 2023 Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic and Change foundational workshop, OR have completed the University of Minnesota’s Ambiguous Loss Online Training.


Pauline Boss, PhD

Pauline Boss, PhD is Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota; emeritus family therapist; consultant; Fellow in the American Psychological Association and American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. With her groundbreaking work as a scientist-practitioner, Dr. Boss is the principal theorist in the study of ambiguous loss, a term she coined in the 1970s. Books include Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief (Harvard University Press, 1999); Loss, Trauma, and Resilience: Therapeutic Work with Ambiguous Loss (W. W. Norton, 2006); Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope While Coping with Stress and Grief (Jossey-Bass, 2011); and The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic and Change (W. W. Norton, 2022). For her many peer-revised publications, see www.ambiguousloss.com.

Elizabeth Wieling, PhD, LMFT is a Professor and Program Director of Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Georgia. Her program of research is focused on preventive and clinical intervention models that demonstrate effectiveness with systematically marginalized and trauma-affected populations in the United States and abroad. She has expanded her work to include a multi-component interdisciplinary agenda that includes developing ecologically and culturally relevant interventions. Specifically, she uses Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) with individuals to address complex post-traumatic stress; GenerationPMTO with parents to interrupt intergenerational transmission of psychopathology and violence; and Ambiguous Loss to support immigrant and refugee families.

Ambiguous Loss Expert Series 

View All Workshops

  • February 3, 2023
    10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Pauline Boss, PhD and Elizabeth Wieling, PhD, LMFT

3 CE Contact Hours

Location:   Online Event


A link will be emailed to you one day before the event. Online events are held in Eastern Standard Time (ET).

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