Special Memorial Section

Remembering Clark Moustakas

Clark's presence is remembered by those who knew and loved him.

By Diane Blau, PhD, Majorie Scott , and Lee Bach

Clark MoustakasIf one were to attempt to describe Clark Moustakas, one would utilize words that illustrate a phenomenon. He was a man of polarities. He was at once relaxed and energetic, still, yet intense activity waited to be summoned. Exceptionally academic yet delightfully playful. Composed, even-tempered, but with emotions so accessible that his face easily darkened, and his eyes would fill with tears when experiencing distress. In his company, one had the impression of time standing still, moving at top speed, in slow motion, or something in between. His presence was profound and inspiring.

Core themes of Clark's thinking and writing emphasized valuing the self and one's inner life, the relational dimension and its therapeutic potential for personal growth, change, and healing. As Clark taught and wrote, people were drawn to his words. He touched many hearts as he spoke of relationship, of love, uniqueness, authenticity, creativity, of being. He carried his ideas all over the world, speaking at workshops and seminars. His books have been published in more than 10 languages. Moreover, he served as a model of his philosophy about how human beings relate positively and respectfully to one another.

Colleagues and students were touched by Clark in remarkable ways. They remembered his everlasting impact on their lives.

Clark helped me be creative and discover inner resources.

Clark encouraged me to come up with my own ideas and way of thinking.

He seemed glued to my every word.

I feel privileged to have studied with Clark.  I recall the awe I experienced as he taught from his depth of wisdom, insight and passion. 

Clark, especially, gave me the courage to reclaim myself.

There was much more to Clark than his unparalleled capacity for innocence. 

Clark's values and visions are an alive and growing force for healing the world.

At the core of my learnings, I realized the importance of the relationship and the value of simply being-with and being-in the moment.  

The Firebrand will always burn in many ways, many places and in an ever increasing number of hands.

I'll keep living my life in the spirit of Clark...it makes living quite great when you carry his spirit into your everyday world.

Clark will always remain in my heart, and more importantly, I will forever be reminded to try to live as authentically as I can.

In teaching me about phenomenology, I learned that a person's experience is more important than the facts.

Clark helped me be creative and discover inner resources.

I adopted his belief that sometimes the only thing you accomplish when you make a rule is encouraging someone to find a way around it.

I learned the value of rhythms and rituals in the continuity of life.

Clark Moustakas achieved greatness. He was an indelible figure.  As a firebrand, he spoke for and supported alternative causes and viewpoints. T hose who studied with him were mesmerized by the beauty of his words, his depth of knowledge and wisdom and magical way of being. Participants in his workshops came away awed at the gentle but confidant soul, who looked in their eyes and touched them deeply. Children melted in his presence. People around the world respected his expertise and sought his advice.

Clark's lifetime of innovation generated profound insight, growth and change in the lives of all who came to know him. He passed away at home in Farmington Hills, Michigan on October 14, 2012. He will be greatly missed.