My friend Andy Kuczmierczyk, who died of cancer at the age of 68, was a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Hertfordshireand also a life coach and a poet.
He began his career in the late 1970s studying cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) at the Middlesex Hospital in central London under Victor Meyer, a founding father of CBT. Andy has deployed adventuring techniques, including “flooding,” which involves exposing people with phobias immediately and directly to the things they fear most.
He moved to the US in 1981 and completed a doctorate at the University of Athens, Georgia and taught in various medical schools and became professor of clinical psychology at the University of New Orleans. On his return to London in 1995, Andy lectured at City University and served the NHS as a consultant clinical psychologist. As a professor at the University of Hertfordshire in 2013, he has many academic publications to his name, as well as an unfinished book on the healing power of forgiveness.
He was born in London to Polish parents, Irma (née Zembrzuska) and Antoni Kuczmierczyk, who were war refugees. Irma was awarded Poland’s Cross of Valor for her heroic role in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. In 1957, they moved to Munich with their two small children, Andy and his sister, Hania, to join Radio Free Europe and to communist broadcasting. Poland.
However, Andy and Hania returned to Britain for their education and stayed with their grandparents in Highgate, north London. The siblings remained a close, unbreakable unit. During school holidays in Munich, they spoke Polish with their parents, German on the street and English with friends. At St Aloysius’ college in Highgate, a Catholic grammar school where most pupils were of Polish, Irish or Italian origin, he met several lifelong friends, including me. Andy went on to study psychology and sociology at Keele University and graduated in 1976.
His Christian faith remained strong, and he believed passionately in social justice. Intensely proud of his heritage, he was saddened by the rise of populism in Poland and the divisiveness of Brexit.
Andy was a total romantic at heart and a talented musician, linguist and songwriter. He has written four collections of poetry in English and Polish, including Transitions of Love, Hope and Faith (2009). a keen tennis player, in his youth he looked like Björn Borg.
Hugely popular, he lived life with an infectious enthusiasm and threw unforgettable parties at his home in St Albans.
He was a good listener and at his happiest helped patients, friends and family to face life’s challenges. His work continued until he was hospitalized in August after his cancer diagnosis.
While working in the US, he met and married Jola Pasikowska in 1988. They divorced in 2003. Andy is survived by their two children, Ala and Alex, Hania and his nephew, Danny.