To supporters and professionals

To supporters and professionals

The situation and the psychological processes of recovery are different between a state of “definite and authentic loss”, such as that of a bereaved family, and a state of “ambiguous loss”, such as that of the family of a missing person.


JDGS members were in contact with Dr. Pauline Boss soon after the disaster, and in March 2012, they had the opportunity to attend a training in person in the United States. At that time, Dr. Boss specifically emphasized that “ambiguous loss” needs to be framed very differently than “bereavement loss”, where death has been identified.


It is difficult for a family with “ambiguous loss” to come to terms with the loss as long as the situation continues, and the family must live with the ambiguity of the loss for the rest of their lives. It’s important that the supporters first understand their situation.

Another major problem that people in the midst of ambiguous loss often experience is isolation. Typically, many people in society, as well as supporters and so-called professionals, do not know what to say or how to support those who suffer from ambiguous loss. As a result, it is inevitable that some will keep their distance or use inappropriate language.


It is very important for professionals to know what these families with ambiguous loss are experiencing and how to support them.