An imprint is created whenever there is an unresolved trauma. Another metaphor can help describe how this happens. The magnetic, sentient, feeling essence is at first like the surface of a lake. Smooth and calm, with gently rolling waves, the magnetic, feminine, emotional essence is whole and at peace.
Then a traumatic experience seriously disrupts the peaceful calm. The trauma is like a meteor crashing into the lake. However, rather than absorbing the intrusion like water would, the emotional essence is wounded. It's now as if there is a crater that separates parts of the essence that were once whole. This crater acts as an 'attractor basin' that draws similar experiences into it.
This happens because the magnetic essence that is affected by the trauma unconsciously tries to expel it, so the emotional essence may return to its natural state of peaceful wholeness. In an effort to do this, it draws circumstance similar to what was happening when the original trauma occurred. This causes an 'reenactment' of the original traumatic event. If nothing has changed since the original trauma, if there are still not enough resources available to resolve the trauma, we are re-traumatized. And the imprint becomes deeper and more difficult to heal.
When an imprint is triggered, our awareness is confined to what is down inside the crater. It's as if we've fallen into a hole and are unable to see anything outside. We identify with the wounded essence and become trapped in that identity.
The judgments that were formed during the original trauma resound in our mind's voice as if they were written on the wall of the crater, and a 'spell' of some kind is forcing us to repeat them over and over again. The spell of the imprint also makes it difficult to experience anything outside of the imprint, like happiness or feeling good about ourselves. In short, we become 'stuck.'
The solution to this dilemma is the development of an adult part that is willing to accept the pain of the traumatized part and everything else in the imprint, resolve the trauma, and then nurture the part back into wholeness. This is the loving, resourceful Healer.