What is ambiguous loss?
Ambiguous loss is an unclear loss without closure. The lack of clarity is based on something or someone being both here and not here at the same time, such as a missing person or someone who has dementia. Others may not recognize the loss, and people may not be able to move forward in solving the original need or problem.
Ambiguous loss theory has long been used to support family therapy in cases such as terminal illnesses and children leaving home. However, ambiguous loss also has many applications for families in the farming industry. In the changing farm and rural landscape, loss of land, livestock, changing markets, and even relationships can be ambiguous losses that lead many to feel “stuck.”
A Changing Way of Life: Ambiguous loss and farming interactive workbook and curriculum
A Changing Way of Life: Ambiguous loss and farming is a workbook from University of Minnesota Extension to help farm families understand and name ambiguous loss, and to provide strategies for moving forward. Designed for educators, public health administrators, social workers, clergy and others who have an interest in helping farm families.
This is an interactive workbook that includes questions and activities along the way to increase understanding. Readers will learn:
- What ambiguous loss is.
- How to consider their own situation in light of this perspective.
- How to confront ambiguous losses and move forward.
Join us to learn more
The A Changing Way of Life: Ambiguous loss and farming curriculum includes educational presentations, discussion topics, and additional activities to engage farm families with the workbook more intentionally.
University of Minnesota Extension will offer training on this curriculum in-person and virtually to those who are interested in using it in their work with farm families.
Contact Emily Krekelberg, Extension educator, for questions or accommodations, firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-756-3977.
Boss, P., Bryant, C. M., & Mancini, J. A. (2017). Family stress management: A contextual approach. (3rd Ed.). Sage Publications.
Reviewed in 2022