Mildred Lachman Chapin: Artist & Art Therapist

Mildred Lachman Chapin, M.Ed., ATR-BC, HLM

This film explores the art and art therapy life of Mildred Lachman Chapin, better known as Millie Chapin (1922-2019). There are three parts to this compilation: The first consists of a conversation between Millie and Mari Fleming, Millie’s friend and colleague (28 minutes). This conversation took place in 2002 shortly after Millie’s receipt of the American Art Therapy Association’s (AATA) Honorary Life Membership (HLM) award in 2001. The second part portrays Millie discussing her paintings shown in “Living Legacy,” an exhibition at Tucson’s Jewish Community Center (20 minutes). The final six-minute portion comes from “Arizona Illustrated,” and briefly demonstrates Millie’s practice as both an artist and an art therapist.

Millie was involved with AATA from its earliest days and was active in publications, helping to edit both the Newsletter and the first issues of the Association’s journal, Art Therapy. She studied the Self Psychology of Heinz Kohut, and developed a method based on his theories of the need of primitively organized patients for empathic mirroring that involved using her own art as a response to the patient. Indeed, Fleming notes that Millie was among the first art therapists to present and to write about her own painting. Chapin herself expresses pride in having founded AATA’s Art Committee, and in its reflection of the importance of recognizing the artist part of an art therapist’s identity. Expressing herself in various modalities, this painter who had once been a dancer was also the first to offer a workshop on movement and art at an early AATA conference (1971), and later published poetry echoing a series of paintings on the theme of Mothers and Daughters.

The film serves to introduce art therapists to one of their field’s pioneers.

Total Running Time: 1 hour, 26 seconds



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