October 9, 2015

Creighton NFP practitioner training to be held at St. Vincent Hospital in Carmel

By Natalie Hoefer

On Nov. 14-21, individuals wanting to become educators of the natural family planning (NFP) Creighton Model FertilityCare System will have a rare local opportunity.

Usually they must travel to other parts of the nation to receive the two-part, two-week training that teaches them how to educate women and couples to use the Creighton method, which uses biological indicators to help with women’s health and fertility issues.

But during those eight days in November, part one of the training will be offered at St. Vincent Hospital in Carmel, Ind., just north of Indianapolis in the Lafayette Diocese. It will be conducted by certified educator Elizabeth Kauffeld.

Kauffeld became a Creighton practitioner and started teaching the Creighton method to couples and individuals in 2003.

In 2008, she completed her educator training through the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Neb., enabling her to train others to become Creighton practitioners.

When practitioner Elizabeth Escoffery of St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis heard that Kauffeld had moved to the Indianapolis area last summer, she gave the certified educator a call.

“I’m one of only seven trained [Creighton] practitioners in this area,” Escoffery said of a region including Indianapolis, Greensburg, Beech Grove and Carmel. “We have as many clients as we can handle. None of us does it full time, and we’re all swamped. There is definitely a need for more certified instructors.”

She asked Kauffeld to consider conducting a training session for local practictioners.

“I told her I’d pray about it,” said Kauffeld. “Then people started coming out of the woodwork wanting training.

“There are not a lot of trainings in the Midwest. This area has been underserved in educational programming.”

When approached, St. Vincent Hospital in Carmel offered the use of rooms at their facility to conduct the training.

Kauffeld is excited about the medical faculty who will be involved in the sessions.

“Our medical facilitator is a surgeon who spent a yearlong fellowship with [Creighton Model FertilityCare System founder] Dr. Thomas Hilgers,” she said. “There are very few fellowship-trained surgeons in the world—Dr. Hilgers only takes on one to four fellows a year. They’re like celebrities in our field.”

The November training, called Education Phase I, covers anatomy, physiology, the psychodynamics of contraception, human sexuality and other topics.

It also trains students how to teach couples and individuals the Creighton method based on a standardized curriculum, how to teach chart reading, how to conduct sessions with clients and more.

Education Phase II, scheduled for June 4-9 of next year, will also take place at St. Vincent Hospital in Carmel.

Each of the education phases is followed by a supervised practicum. Students then receive an on-site visit by a certified educator. They also must pass a national standardized final exam before being approved to teach the Creighton method.

The requirements to apply for the program are not extensive, said Kauffeld.

“We require a college degree, but we do consider at least some college experience, like an associate degree or the equivalent,” she explained.

“The biggest requirement is for someone to really want to be involved in this mission. Someone who feels passionate about teaching women and couples about the dignity of sexuality. Someone who wants to bring healing to lives and to our world.”

While tuition, materials and administrative fees bring the cost of the program to about $3,750, Escoffery noted that, by having the training locally, students will not have the additional burden of travel and lodging costs.

“It may take sacrifice,” Escoffery admitted. “But it’s a great education, a great base of ethics, anatomy, physiology and teaching skills.

“And being local—my classmates are in different places in the country, whereas those who take the training here for the most part are going to be fairly close geographically—they’ll have a great system of communication and support.”

It’s well worth the time, money and commitment, said Escoffery.

“Some people we help are single women who are being treated for thyroid [problems],” she said. “Some are [couples] spacing pregnancies. Some are [couples] dealing with infertility or experiencing infant loss.

“It’s a journey we walk with them. ... It’s an accompaniment through their life. That’s something you can’t put a price on.”

(The deadline to register for the Practitioner Training is Oct. 14. If interested but need more time, or for more information on the training, contact Elizabeth Kauffeld at naturalchoiceFertilityCare@gmail.com.)

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