Clem’s moxie starts with his mother’s efforts to keep him alive and safe from the Nazis in Poland during World War II. As a child, Clem witnessed his mother’s fierce bravery and moxie in the face of Nazi atrocities, alongside the kindness of Catholic nuns in the convent where he was hidden for two years.
After the war, Clem and his mother immigrated to the United States to start anew in New York City. He became a psychologist and psychoanalyst and has maintained a private practice for over 35 years.
in 1969 he cofounded the National Institute for the Psychotherapies, an organization dedicated to training in relational psychoanalysis and integrative psychotherapy. The Institute’s students provide low-cost, high-quality therapy to patients of all backgrounds. He currently serves on its board of directors.
Part of Clem’s moxie is in how he works through his childhood trauma and shame. He helps others find self-acceptance and peace through his clinical practice. He believes that being in relationship with others is the key to healing and wholeness.
He has published books and articles on dream interpretation and psychotherapy and a memoir When the Birds Stopped Singing, in which he explores the trauma and tragedy that he lives with to this day. Clem writes that he acknowledges “that along with the privilege of survival comes the obligation to live one’s life to its fullest and honor those who did not survive.”
He is a sculptor and portrait photographer and finds his creative life part of his healing and self-expression. He contributed a chapter to the book The Power of Witnessing, entitled “My Lost Father,” in which he explores the creation of a life-sized sculpture of the father he lost at the age of four and never knew.
He is a volunteer lecturer at the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.