Who hasn't heard of Sigmund Freud? Most people who have read or heard about psychology have connected their limited knowledge of the field to the theories of Sigmund Freud.
Before speaking of Mr. Freud's legacy we must first clarify some of the terms that pertain to his theories, such as psychology, psychoanalysis, and psychiatry. Very often psychoanalytic terms are confused in the layman's minds.
Psychology is the study of all behavior and mental processes in humans and animals. Sigmund Freud developed theories and treatments that pertain to personality and is called psychoanalysis. Psychiatry which is often confused by individuals is a branch of psychology which uses psychoanalytic treatments and sometimes medication for treatment. In essence a psychiatrist is a medical doctor and can prescribe medication. On the other hand a psychoanalyst is trained to use the techniques of study aforementioned, but may not be a medical doctor or prescribe medication.
With that said, Sigmund Freud was fascinated by the conscious, unconscious, and preconscious mind. His particular psychoanalytic theories became so commonplace that they are intertwined in our belief systems. Many of the terms which he developed have become an integral part of social discourse. For example, the term a "Freudian slip" is often used in conversation when someone says something that may be termed a mistake, but in essence Mr. Freud would state that the slip was not a mistake at all, but is based on the unconscious mind revealing what the person may truly feel or think.
Some of the popular terms that Sigmund Freud coined for particular facets of the personality are the id, ego, and the superego. These particular facets according to Freud were closely linked to latent sexual development. If an individual did not go through the different stages of sexual maturation one could become fixated at certain stages of the psychological growth process. As a result of the popularity of his theories many psychological professional used his methods for treating patients.
He left a legacy not only on the psychological community, but on the parenting techniques as a whole. Many parents became very conscious of how they treated their children. Quite often permissive parenting resulted.
Although Sigmund Freud's theories were highly publicized and inter grated into our belief systems there have been many changes in the psychological community. His theories have either evolved or been supplanted by other theories. Nevertheless, he made a tremendous impact on society at large.