Limbic imprint

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In psychology, limbic imprint refers to the process by which prenatal, perinatal and post-natal experiences imprint upon the limbic system, causing lifelong effects.[1] The term is used to explain how early care of a fetus and newborn is important to lifelong psychological development, and has been used as an argument for alternative birthing methods,[2] and against circumcision.[1] Some also refer to the concept as the human emotional map, deep-seated beliefs, and values that are stored in the brain's limbic system.[3]

Lewis, Amini and Lannon, in their book A General Theory of Love, use the concept of limbic imprinting to explain lifelong patterns of poor love choices, explaining that the patterns of love and care received as a youth will affect the patterns of love that the adult seeks in their life.[4] For instance, during birth, the so-called primal substance meets primal sense so that it results in an explosion of emotional meaning and limbic imprinting.[5] There are therapists who recognize that body and emotions - facilitated by experiences - leave imprints in deep neuronal circuits of the limbic brain and use such position to devise psychological interventions such as the therapy within a group setting.[6] Some therapists suggest a course of "limbic repatterning" to consciously rewrite bad limbic imprints and thus improve the patient's overall psychological health.[7]


  1. ^ a b Tonetti-Vladimirova, Elena (2008). "Limbic Imprint". In Denniston, George C.; Hodges, Frederick Mansfield; Milos, Marilyn Fayre. Circumcision and Human Rights. Springer. ISBN 9781402091674.
  2. ^ Tonetti-Vladimirova, Elena (November 2006). "The Limbic Imprint". Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  3. ^ Desjardins, Liliane (2011). The Imprint Journey: A Path of Lasting Transformation Into Your Authentic Self. Ann Arbor, MI: Life Scripts Press. pp. xiii. ISBN 9781615990870.
  4. ^ Martin, Roger (July 2000). "Limbic Love". American Scientist.
  5. ^ Bertrand, Azra; Bertrand, Seren (2017-08-15). Womb Awakening: Initiatory Wisdom from the Creatrix of All Life. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781591432807.
  6. ^ Ginger, Serge; Ginger, Anne (2012). A Practical Guide for the Humanistic Psychotherapist. London: Karnac Books Ltd. p. 157. ISBN 9781780490472.
  7. ^ Dayton, Tian (August 2003). "The Neurobiology of Emotions: How Therapy Can Repattern Our Limbic System". Counselor, The Magazine for Addiction Professionals. 4 (4): 64–66. Archived from the original on 2013-09-20.