Pauline Boss, PhD

Pauline Boss, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, family therapist, and consultant is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and a former president of the National Council on Family Relations. With her groundbreaking work in research and practice, Dr. Boss coined the term ambiguous loss in the 1970s and since then, developed and tested the theory of ambiguous loss, a guide for working with families of the missing, physically or psychologically. She summarized this research and clinical work in her widely acclaimed book, Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief (Harvard University Press, 2000). In addition to over 100 peer reviewed academic articles and chapters, her other books include Loss, Trauma, and Resilience: Therapeutic Work with Ambiguous Loss (W. W. Norton, 2006) and Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope While Coping with Stress and Grief (Jossey-Bass, 2011). Her most recent book, The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic and Change, will be published by W. W. Norton in December 2021. Her work is known around the world wherever ambiguous losses occur, and thus her books are now available in 20 different languages. For more information about Dr. Boss, her writings, and the ambiguous loss online training program, see