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Barbara Kapetanakes, PsyD; Candidate for President-Elect, NYSPA

2021 President- Elect Candidate

Barbara Kapetanakes, Psy.D


Barbara Kapetanakes, Psy.D., Candidate for President-Elect, NYSPA


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Q&A for Barbara can be found here

Personal Statement
As 2020, a strange year indeed, enters into autumn, I am asking for your support in my campaign for President-Elect of NYSPA. In these uncertain times NYSPA needs proven leadership with experience and a good working relationship with the divisions and regions. I am that person. I have served on the Board of the Westchester County Psychological Association (WCPA) for nearly two decades—as president of a division, as president of the organization (five years of a two-year term), as newsletter editor, as Chair of the Westchester Center for Psychological Education (WCPE), as Facebook moderator, and as Representative to NYSPA Council.  I also served on NYSPA’s Executive Committee (EC) during a time of unprecedented transition and crisis in our organization. Throughout my time on Council and the EC I have developed important and positive relationships with many other members of NYSPA leadership.  Through our time getting NYSPA back on its feet we learned how to work together, even when we didn’t agree, and even when things seemed too challenging, in order to focus on the important task of keeping NYSPA afloat and rebuilding.

            From strengthening the camaraderie of those involved in running divisions and regions, to increasing member retention, I was there. From bringing NYSPA back from the brink and moving in a different direction with a management firm rather than a solo executive director, I was there, helping to make those decisions. Helping our past-president resume his presidential duties midyear? I was there. Working with our treasurer to brainstorm a budget? I was there. Involved in legislative action and attending Lobby Day in Albany? Check. Informing our Westchester members of important happenings in our profession? Check. At closed door meetings making difficult decisions? I was there too. Sometimes until nearly midnight on the phone with the rest of EC so we could keep NYSPA going, I was there. 

            My career has always involved some type of participation in professional organizations. While I was a graduate student at Pace we were strongly encouraged to join APA, NYSPA, and other organizations. I became a founding member of a graduate student association and was its first vice president and second president. No sooner had I started showing up to WCPA events and meetings that I was asked to run for a position on the Board, leading to my position at the helm of DOWI and then serving more than two terms as president of the organization. I have been at virtually every WCPA board meeting for nearly 20 years and was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in 2010. I was also appointed by the County Executive to the Westchester County Community Services Board in 2007, and in 2014 was asked to be a founding member of the county’s Concussion Task Force. 

            While my tenure on the NYSPA governing body is not long, I felt like I knew all the goings-on due to the regular reports of Larry Baker, who I am honored to say was my good friend, and who held my current position of Council Representative for many, many years.  When I was asked to step up and take that position, I felt like I already knew so much about how NYSPA ran and who the players were. Whatever I didn’t know, my wonderful colleagues were there to show me.

            As president, along with the rest of EC, I would continue the upward and forward momentum that has been achieved in recent years. I would strengthen our relationship with Jaffe and help to streamline their tasks and continue to fine tune our cooperation in running the organization. I would follow in the footsteps of our recent presidents in fostering solidarity, civility, and a purposeful sense of working together. As someone who chaired WCPA’s educational arm I would work on required CE credits and help organize division and regional presentations, both in person and virtually. I intend to work on building membership numbers, through better retention as well as attraction of new members, and to try to increase the diversity of our membership to better represent the New York population and clientele that we serve. I will fight for our profession, continue to lobby in Albany, and continue to protect our title, license, and profession. As someone who has fulfilled the requirements for prescribing privileges where allowed, I’d like to see the RxP bill further addressed by our lawmakers and plan to become more involved in that area.   

            I hope I can count on your vote for this important NYSPA leadership position. 


As a native New Yorker, I naturally juggle the hustle, bustle, and multitasking of the city that never sleeps. Born in Brooklyn in the final months of the 1960s to Brooklyn-born parents, I grew up at a time when the city was as gritty and colorful as one could imagine. I was taught to be alert to my environment, adaptable, and direct. A spontaneous reader by age 3, I was able to get scholarships to go to a private school and enter first grade at 5—a year early.  Before deciding to apply myself towards a career in psychology--although my first love was art--my father convinced me that a career in engineering was the way to go (good in math and science, become an engineer, was basically the logic). While that major only lasted a year, the friendships I made at Brooklyn Polytechnic University (now part of NYU) have lasted over three decades. Once I set my sites on psychology, I set my eye on the prize and didn’t waver, as is usually the case with me when I know I’ve made the right decision. Anyway, I should have known I was going to be a therapist despite that detour into calculus and writing Pascal programs, since some of my earliest memories are of getting out of bed and asking, “Mommy, do you want to hear what I dreamed?” Indeed, at Poly, I was the person everyone came to for advice or a shoulder, and I often parlayed those “sessions” into a free slice of pizza in exchange for listening to stories about a fight with a girlfriend, a bad grade, or troubles with parents. At 19, I transferred to Brooklyn College as a junior, which had a much bigger psychology department than could be found in engineering school, and my mother was thrilled that it was practically free.  That made it easier to go right into graduate school at Pace University exactly 30 years ago (boy time flies!). 

            I loved my time at Pace, which is where I started to get involved in professional interests and organizations. I worked in the psychology department on an assistantship and was able to go to meetings with the internship trainers and directors around the city, learning about the political and policy side of the profession I was about to enter. Many of the faculty members in my department were involved in NYSPA and other professional organizations and we were encouraged to do the same. I remember professors handing out applications for APA and NYSPA and giving us class time to fill them out. I went on to intern at Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry and then to a career as a school psychologist while I prepared to obtain my license. I also started to teach as an adjunct, which I have done for 25 years, both at the graduate and undergraduate levels, as well as supervising interns, fellows, and early career psychologists. 

            Remember that aptitude for science and math that my father tried to nurture? It led to two post doc degrees: one in neuropsychology and one in psychopharmacology, and mastering the PEP, the prescribing exam for psychologists. For the past 17 years I have been in full time private practice with a focus on adolescents and young adults, divorce and divorcing families, LGBTQ issues, and neuropsychological evaluations. During that time I have written for local newspapers and given presentations to PTAs, special interest groups, and colleagues.

            When not working at the career I love, teaching young minds, or being involved in WCPA and NYSPA, I can be found in the woods with my dogs, walking around with a camera, on the back of a horse, or enjoying art, music, theater, and travel with my husband, who I met when we were both volunteering at a music hall (a match made in music heaven). 



  • Regional Representative to NYSPA Council: Westchester County Psychological Association
  • Member at Large, Executive Committee

NYSPA-wide Committees:

  • Executive Committee
  • Legislative Committee

Task Forces:

  • LGBT Task Force, Founding Member and Facebook Moderator

Non-NYSPA Organizations:

  • WCPA
  • Past Chair of WCPE
  • Westchester County Community Services Board, 2007-2014
  • Westchester County Concussion Task Force, Founding Member, 2014-2017
  • Rockland County Psychological Society
  • Academy of Professional Family Mediators
  •  Volunteer, Guiding Eyes for the Blind (puppy massager)
  • Volunteer, Tarrytown Music Hall
  • Volunteer, Good Dog Foundation (visitor as part of a dog/human therapeutic team), 2010-2018
  • Volunteer, Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (dog socializer/home trainer), 2010-2016
  • Founder and President, Carol Kapetanakes Memorial Gift Fund, a perpetual fund for charitable donations
  • Home foster, New York Pet Rescue


List of Supporters
We, the undersigned, strongly recommend that you give your vote to Barbara Kapetanakes, PsyD. as President-Elect of the New York State Psychological Association. 

Deena Abbe, PhD
Florence L. Denmark, PhD
Panteá Farvid, PhD
John Guinan, PhD
John D. Hogan, PhD
Peter Kanaris, PhD
Randi Kaudman, PsyD
Julie Lehane, PhD
Candace Martin, PhD
Barbara Meehan, PhD
John E. Northman, PhD, ABPP
William Picker, PhD
Dianne Polowczyk, PhD
Bob Raymond, PhD
Ilana Rosenberg, PhD
Shara Sand, PsyD
Charles Silverstein, PhD
Dennis Thornton, PhD
Jennifer Walker, PsyD
Susan C Warshaw, EdD, ABPP
Joni Weinstock, PhD
Adam S. Weissman, PhD