Today’s modern society, and the field of psychology, have come to one general consensus about Sigmund Freud and his theories: While he is acknowledged to be the father of psychology, his theories are now not much more than pop culture references. We often hear characters on television or in movies referred to as “anal”. According to Freud that person has an anal fixation, a condition caused by parents delaying or beginning the potty training phase too soon. But realistically these comments are merely made out of context, and at the very least, not how Freud had intended them.
In these modern times many of Freud’s theories are simply outdated. For starters, problems that overwhelmingly face the average American have an explanation according to Freud, but not an explanation that most individuals would readily accept. Over 45 million Americans smoke, and Freud would have individuals believe that this is a direct result of the way a child went through the teething phase. The idea that a parent who let their child teeth for too long could some how lead to the individual developing an oral fixation, presenting itself as smoking, is something that has lost a general sense of credibility. There are millions of smokers in the United States and very rarely does the blame for that rest upon the shoulders of parents who left their kids with their pacifier for too long.
But perhaps it is some of his more radical ideas that has lost him credibility with the modern generation. Sexist ideas about Penis Envy have pushed countless numbers of psychologists away from his theories and teachings. His own daughter, Anna Freud, was forced to adopt a much less controversial school psychology. Even she realized that his theories about a woman being envious of a man’s penis were outlandish and sexist at the very least. It wasn’t until the Neo-Freudians revolutionized Freud’s school of psychology that a certain amount of credibility was given.
Overall, credit should be given where credit is due. Freud put the study of psychology on the map of scientists the globe over. He was one of the first to develop a theory and his errors only led to more credible theories of psychology to later be developed. While his place in modern society might only be as a humorous pop culture reference his theories will continue to be studied and interpreted.