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The On Being Project

Pauline Boss

The Myth of Closure

There is no such thing as closure. Family therapist Pauline Boss says that the idea of closure in fact leads us astray — it’s a myth we need to put aside, like the idea we’ve accepted that grief has five linear stages and we come out the other side done with it. She coined the term “ambiguous loss,” creating a new field in family therapy and psychology. And she has wisdom for the complicated griefs and losses in all of our lives and in how we best approach the losses of others — including those very much in our public midst right now.
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  • Pauline Boss

    Pauline Boss

    is Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Loss, Trauma and Resilience: Therapeutic Work with Ambiguous LossLoving Someone Who Has Dementia, and Ambiguous Loss.