About Dr. Pauline Boss

What is ambiguous loss?

About Dr. Pauline Boss

Dr. Pauline Boss, Professor Emeritus of Family Sociology at the University of Minnesota, has been a pioneer in interdisciplinary research on family stress and family therapy for many years. She is also a loving disciple of Carl Whitaker, who was called the master therapist of family therapy.


She has been developing her own family theory based on family therapy and family social psychology for over 30 years. Ambiguous loss is a theory that she has proposed based on her own experiences, and the construction of that theory and her work in many family therapy cases are some of her most important and highly acclaimed achievements.



Her books and publications

・Boss, P. (2016). Family Stress Management: A Contextual Approach.

SAGE Publications, Inc.


・Boss, P. (2011). Loving Someone Who Has Dementia. How to Find Hope While Coping with Stress and Grief. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Wiley.

(Japanese translation available from Seishin Shobo. Supervised translation by Wada, H.)


・Boss, P. (2006). Loss, Trauma, and Resilience: Therapeutic work with ambiguous loss. New York: Norton.

(Japanese translation available from Seishin Shobo.  Supervised translation by Nakajima, S and Ishii, C.)


・Boss, P. (2004). Ambiguous Loss Research, Theory, and Practice: Reflections after 9/11. Journal of Marriage & Family, 66(3), 551-566.



・Boss, P., Beaulieu, L., Wieling, E., Turner, W., & LaCruz, S. (2003). Healing Loss, Ambiguity, and Trauma: A community-based intervention with families of union workers missing after the 9/11 attack in New York City. Journal of Marital & Family Therapy, 29(4), 455-467.

 DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2003.tb01688.x                    


・Boss, P. (2002). Family Stress: Classic and Contemporary Readings. SAGE Publications, Inc.


・Boss, P. (1999/2000-paperback). Ambiguous Loss: Learning to live with unresolved grief. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

(Japanese translation available from Gakubunsha.  Translated by Minamiyama K.)