In this course, Dr. Sarah Wayland provides a thorough explanation of the ambiguous loss inherent in the experience of a missing person. She examines the issue from the perspective of families of the missing person, the role of police and the media, and what mental health helpers need to know in order to provide the most effective support.
About this course
In this course, ambiguous loss expert Dr. Sarah Wayland notes that 51,000 missing persons reports are recorded by the police every year in Australia, and though there are many reasons people go missing, the experiences of those left behind have some common denominators which police, the media, and mental health helpers need to understand if they would be effective in supporting those who are experiencing ambiguous loss. Dr. Wayland details the types of circumstances that shape a person’s experience of this loss and outlines common reactions of those left behind at both early and ongoing stages of a person being missing. Misconceptions abound and ambiguous loss generates complicated, disenfranchised, and anticipatory grief; Dr. Wayland emphasises that the way to not fall afoul of the misconceptions is to listen to the people left behind as they describe their experience and respond to that.