Six guidelines

To supporters and professionals

Dr. Boss has made a list of the following six guidelines for interventions to be undertaken by supporters.

These six guidelines are not linear, but move in a circular fashion, going back and forth. These six guidelines are explained in detail in the book, “Loss, Trauma and Resilience”  (published in 2006/ Japanese translation in 2015).



1.Finding Meaning

<Helpful points>

  • Give the problem a name:”ambiguous loss”.
  • Talk with comunity families and peers to make some sense out of what happened and how to cope.


2.Tempering Mastery

<Helpful points>

  • Recognize that the world isn’t always fair.
  • Know that even if you are feeling down and depressed, it’s all because of the ambiguous situation, not you or your family.
  • Reduce self-blame and externalize blame.


3.Reconstructing Identity

<Helpful points>

  • Find “psychological family” (someone who seems like family) in the community
  • Become more flexible about family boundaries and  who has what role in the family.
  • Do not get isolated.


4.Normalizing Ambivalence

<Helpful points>

  • Normalize feelings of guilt, shame, and anger.
  • Discuss these feelings with your peers, professionals, and people you trust.
  • Do not make a “no talk rule” : family secret.


5.Revising Attachment

<Helpful points>

  • Recognize that the family, home, and hometown that exist in your mind are not the same as they used to be.
  • Grieve over what you have lost and celebrate what you still have.
  • Find a new connections :  a new community and psychological family.


6.Discovering Hope

<Helpful points>

  • Becom more comfortable with ambiguity.
  • Accept unanswered questions
  • Feel in control of your life, even if things don’t go your way.