Ambiguous Loss:
What it Means and Why it Matters

Many children, youth, and caregivers experience ambiguous loss from life stressors such as transitioning into new living arrangements or placements, or having persons in their lives who are unable to sustain caring relationships or support. By definition, ambiguous loss is a loss that remains unclear. Dr. Pauline Boss believes that ambiguous loss “defies resolution, creates long-term confusion about who is in or out of a particular family or couple structure, and freezes the process of grieving.” With death, according to Dr. Boss, there is official certification of loss, proof of the transformation from life to death, and support for mourners through group rituals. With ambiguous loss, none of these elements exist. The webinar will provide you with the knowledge to understand ambiguous loss as a concept in our work with children, youth, and caregivers.
Learning Objectives:
- Become familiar with ambiguous loss theory, including its    assumptions
- Learn to define ambiguous loss and the two types of loss
- Recognize what ambiguous loss is not
- Explore ways to ease the stress of ambiguous loss
CYC Certification Competency Domain: Developmental Practice Methods
1 Class Hour
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Created by

Rose Ann Renteria

Rose Ann Renteria, PhD, is the Director of Research and Evaluation for PHILLIPS Programs for Children and Families in Annandale and Fairfax, VA, and Laurel, MD. She is committed to providing support without judgement to youth and caregivers seeking educational, life skills, and thriving opportunities, and believes that we all benefit from helping children, youth and their caregivers feel safe, secure, and nurtured. Rose Ann oversees outcomes, program evaluation, and performance management at PHILLIPS, and trains on protective factors nationally. She received her BA from the University of Texas at Austin, an MPA from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and a PhD in sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder.