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Limbic revision is the therapeutic alteration of personality residing in the human limbic system of the brain.[1]

The concept was first advanced in the book A General Theory of Love (2000), and is one of three interrelated concepts central to the book's premise: that our brain chemistry and nervous systems are measurably affected by those closest to us (limbic resonance); that our systems synchronize with one another in a way that has profound implications for personality and lifelong emotional health (limbic regulation); and that these set patterns can be modified through therapeutic practice (limbic revision) by utilizing the properties of limbic resonance and limbic regulation in a therapeutic setting.[citation needed]

Lewis, Amini and Lannon state "The neocortical brain collects facts quickly. The limbic brain does not. Motional impressions shrug off insight but yield to a different persuasion: the force of another person's Attractors reaching through the doorway of a limbic connection. Psychotherapy changes people because one mammal can restructure the limbic brain of another." They go on to critique the modern self-help movement in terms that also would apply to the insight-focused methodology of some therapists: "Describing good relatedness to someone, no matter how precisely or how often, does not inscribe it [italics in orignal] into the neural networks that inspire love."[2]:177

Relation to affect regulation and limbic resonance

Dr. Allan Schore, of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, has explored related ideas beginning with his book Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self published in 1994.[citation needed] Dr. Shore looks at the contribution of the limbic system to the preservation of the species, its role in forming social bonds with other members of the species and intimate relations leading to reproduction. "It is said that natural selection favors characteristics that maximize an individual's contribution of the gene pool of succeeding generations. In humans this may entail not so much competitive and aggressive traits as an ability to enter into a positive affective relationship with a member of the opposite sex."[3] In his subsequent book Affect regulation & the repair of the self,[4], Schor correlates the "interactive transfer of affect" between mother and infant, on the one hand, and in a therapeutic context on the other, and describes it as "intersubjectivity". He then goes on to explore what developmental neuropsychology can reveal about both types of interrelatedness. Although he is not cited A General Theory of Love by Amini, Lewis and Lannon, Dr. Shore has explored phenomena that are very similar to their concepts of limbic regulation and limbic revision.

In Integrative Medicine: Principles for Practice, authors Kligler and Lee state "The empathic therapist offers a form of affect regulation. The roots of empathy — Limbic resonance — are found in the early caregiver experiences, which shape the ways the child learns to experience, share, and communicate affects."[5]


  1. ^ Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Yongey Mingyur, Eric Swanson, Daniel Goleman (2008), The Joy Of Living, p. 227 
  2. ^ Lewis, Thomas L.; Amini, Fari; Lannon, Richard (2000). A general theory of love. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-375-50389-7. 
  3. ^ Allan N. Schore (1994), Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, p. 255, ISBN 0805834591 
  4. ^ Allan N. Schore (2003), Affect regulation & the repair of the self, W. W. Norton & Company, p. 48, ISBN 0393704076, 9780393704075 
  5. ^ Benjamin Kligler; Roberta A. Lee (2004), Integrative Medicine: Principles for Practice, McGraw-Hill Professional, p. 56, ISBN 007140239X 


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