Workshop teaches natural family planning instructors

Friday, September 30, 2022

CI Photo/Linda Petersen

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Andrea Dovel, in red, learns how to trace a woman’s cycle during the Creighton Model Natural Family Planning workshop. Also featured are Nell Cline, Denise Winters and instructor Margaret P. Howard.

By Linda Peterson

Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — The past week has been a busy one for the three attendees of an eight-day Creighton Natural Model Family Planning Workshop sponsored by the Diocese of Salt Lake City Family Life Office.

During the 60-hour workshop, which ran from September 17-24, the three women learned about anatomy, human sexuality, reproductive physiology, abortion, contraception, fertility assessment and natural family planning methods. They also heard a presentation by Deacon Scott Dodge on Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical on birth control. The remaining time was spent on the specifics of the Creighton Model FertilityCare system and how to teach it.

Nell Cline of Holy Family Parish in Ogden, Denise Winters of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Salt Lake City, and Andrea Dovel of St. Olaf in Bountiful are all proponents of natural family planning.

Dovel and her husband have used the Creighton Method themselves, and “I’ve fallen in love with it so much that I want to use it to teach others,” she said. “This system integrates the sexuality of the couple, body and soul.”

Couples using the NFP are “able to determine the fertile and infertile days they can use if they decide to have a child, or not, at particular times in the woman’s cycle”, he said. she declared.

Cline, a Certified Lay Church Minister, completed NFP training as part of her ministry in the Church. “When I started my family, we were doing the Calendar Rhythm Method (of NFP),” she said. “When I was looking at the literature, I was really interested. I wanted to know more about women’s health. I think if I knew more about NFP and women’s health, I probably would have made better decisions on some of the things I’ve done throughout my life.

Winters and her husband also used Creighton’s model. A physical therapist, Winters said she was looking for another career opportunity after retiring from that field. His interest in the NFP workshop was piqued after seeing an article about the workshop in this publication.

“It gives me some options for later on for something that is still very meaningful, and I think it will be very rewarding to be able to support couples who are trying to cope with infertility or those who are not ready to conceive but who want to use a natural way and not put an artificial barrier of contraception in their relationship,” Winters said.

On the last day of the workshop, participants were tested on their knowledge of the system. Each passed with flying colors and are now certified in the first part of the Creighton program, said Crystal Painter, director of the Office of Family Life.

The one-week training will be followed by a distance internship over several weeks. A second phase of the training will be offered in March, followed by another internship.

The workshop instructors were Margaret P. Howard, MAM, CFCE and local physician Joseph Stanford, MD, CFCMC. The Diocese partners with Stanford, which is affiliated with Intermountain Fertility Care Services, to train and maintain NFP practitioners.

The three women who participated in the NFP workshop “are good students and they are going to be great practitioners,” Painter said.

The diocese covered the cost of the workshop for the three participants. In return, they are committed to advising engaged couples preparing for marriage in the diocese for at least two years. Engaged couples preparing for marriage in the diocese are required to complete, at a minimum, a one-hour introduction to NFP.

All participants said they plan to speak with their pastors about providing their services to parishioners and others upon graduation from the program.

“It’s important for us to make sure we have trained practitioners who are available to all couples and men and women who want and need to learn about natural family planning,” Painter said.

There is only a small group of NFP practitioners in Utah; the Hispanic community especially needs this resource because there are currently no bilingual practitioners, she said, adding that she hopes to launch a bilingual program in the future.

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