Complex Grief & Ambiguous Loss

For those of you suffering or aware of someone who is suffering from complicated or complex grief or ambiguous loss, you might find these links and suggestions useful. As you can see I’m a great fan of Pauline Boss and her work in this area. There are however others doing useful work in this area and a search will help you discover what suits you and what will be useful. Many find Family Constellations work to be helpful and it’s connecting of present generations with ancestors. For those of you who are adoptees, Bert Hellinger, the great developer of this work, addresses adoption and the difficulties of adoptees specifically.

“Family Constellations: A Practical Guide to Uncovering the Origins of Family Conflict” Kindle Edition

“Family Stress Management: A Contextual Approach”   Pauline E. Boss , Chalandra M. (Matrice) Bryant , Jay A. Mancini

“Grieving Mindfully: A Compassionate and Spiritual Guide to Coping with Loss”

In dealing with loss and grief, whether our own or that of others, it is vital to remember to proceed with respect for difference, acknowledgement of cultural practices, and to treat ourselves and others with gentleness, kindness and compassion. Try not to make assumptions or judgements, to listen well and to remember what others confide in us and do us the honour of sharing. It is a great privilege to be trusted and to be mindful of the confidences of others. Never share those confidences with others or make them the subject of gossip, the fastest way to destroy trust. We humans have many things in common which go across generations, cultures and country – suffering is one we all share, regardless of when and where we were born and raised.  Perhaps when we all remember that our world may come to it’s senses. ❤



2 thoughts on “Complex Grief & Ambiguous Loss

  1. Hi Von,

    I’m not an adoptee but have been following your blogs because of my own work exploring the role of early loss and other challenging life events as risk factors for chronic illness (including my own).

    I heard Pauline Boss on npr last summer for the first time and was blown away by her compassion, insight, and calm supportive attitude. As a somatic psychotherapist with a specialty in trauma work I also find it wonderful to see that you, too, have found Hellinger’s work to be something you recommend. I’ve done some of that work myself along with a number of other approaches that have all been very helpful on my gradual journey of healing.

    If you haven’t heard of it I’ve found big shifts resulting from work with very compassionate, deeply insightful and supportive approaches for working with adults around the effects of perinatal events – including something like adoption. You can find a database of people doing this work on the APPPAH website (Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health). Two people who do work in small group settings that I highly respect are Myrna Martin and Ray Castellino.

    best to you!!


    • Thank you Veronique, I’ll look into it. I don’t necessarily recommend Hellinger’s approach but it does suit some people in some situations. Good to see that you’re exploring the role of early loss and hopefully many more will follow your lead. It is wonderful to see good work being one in such difficult times! The very best to you and thank you for being here.

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