As a licensed marriage and family therapist with 25 years of experience, the Rev. Gregory LaDue has utilized his experiences to instruct numerous classes on the interface of psychology and spirituality.
LaDue, the director for the New Life Counseling Center at San Diego First United Methodist Church, also enjoys being a student. In fact, he took a mythology class through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at SDSU last year at the encouragement of the woman he is dating.
“I was interested in the Osher class because it is a group of people who never stop learning,” LaDue said. “I don’t see it as a group of people who are done with formal education and have now stopped learning. They bring life experience to class and are generally there to learn something.”
LaDue, an adjunct faculty member at National University from 1992-2005, has now moved over to the teaching side at the Osher Institute for students 50 years of age and better. He will teach a class in the fall that will examine Carl Jung and the concept of individuation. This past spring, he taught two lectures: Understanding Family Dynamics: Psychological Theories and Literary Illustrations and Joseph Campbell’s “Monomyth” in the Judeo-Christian Bible.
Being an instructor in the Osher Institute is actually a carryover from his role at San Diego First United Methodist Church.
“I do a lot of teaching in my job at the church,” LaDue said. “My collateral assignment is adult Christian education. If I am given a choice to preach or teach, I would rather teach.”
In his teachings with the Osher Institute, there is a fine line to walk. After all, there are going to be diverse and differing opinions regarding spiritual matters.
“That enriches the class,” LaDue said. “There is a cross fertilization. Someone else’s perception may be different than your own. You learn from that.”
One thing LaDue has learned from teaching in the Osher Institute is that students have an actual desire to attend class with no strings attached. It’s contrary to his former teaching role at National University where students were primarily studying to enter a career.
“People in the Osher program have a genuine interest to be there,” he said. “Otherwise, they wouldn’t spend the money or take the time to be there. At National, you had people primarily between 25 and 45 looking for a career change. They were there to learn and get a degree. At Osher, people want to learn because learning is exciting.”