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30 years of Natural Family Planning, experiences with a multidisciplinary approach in teaching and training

The Arbeitsgruppe NFP was founded in 1981, tasked to

  • prepare and implement the promotion of natural family planning in Germany
  • offer the dioceses subsidiary assistance
  • seek out cooperation for individual projects with relevant associations, organizations and institutions, particularly in the fields of family, women, doctors and social work.

At present the Arbeitsgruppe NFP is under the umbrella of the Malteser Werke/Gesundheitsförderung und Prävention.The method of the Malteser Arbeitsgruppe NFP was branded in October 2010: Sensiplan® (trademark).


buch-bundesministeriumModel Project
Soon after the Arbeitsgruppe NFP was founded, a model project (1984-1991) was launched, supported by the federal ministry of health and ministry. The specifically relevant points of internationally gained knowledge about the symptothermal methods of family planning were to be scientifically investigated, in light of the living conditions and attitudes of people in Germany.


In connection with this, introductory courses were developed and scientifically evaluated to teach and advise various groups of users.

On the basis of these investigations, teaching and learning materials, informative literature and media were developed to ensure reliable instruction on natural family planning to broad strata of the German population. Additionally materials containing the latest medical news on natural family planning were developed for doctors and medical staff.

Bild1The psychological studies concerning participants to the NFP teacher training courses provided further insight:

  • The practice of NFP does not initially improve partner relationships.
  • The actual effect of NFP application is the following: when practicing NFP, partners repeatedly depend upon each other and remain (and have to remain) in dialogue with each other about the issues that affect them.
  • This need for communication promotes the necessary communication skills.

Investigations into the user profile have shown that NFP users are distinguished from users of other family planning methods in that they feel understood and accepted, can talk about their sexual needs, and are free to express their sexual wishes. The mutual responsibility for the issues and practice of family planning is significantly stronger in NFP users.

Consequences for Educational Provision
The insight into the need to master a certain approach to evaluating cycle observations and to simultaneously develop and promote language skills is what defines the teaching concept for the NFP teacher training and the introduction to NFP.

A standard reference of NFP work, the manual „Natural and Safe“ was created. A work-book was then published to go with the manual with a collection of training cycles from various situations in life. Based on the WHO Learning Package and the experience from training courses held from 1981 to 1983, a new concept for NFP teacher training was developed and evaluated, with the accompanying materials of the NFP course leader file and NFP advisor manual and an NFP introductory commentary. Both the NFP teacher training and the NFP teaching are based on modern methods of adult training (non-directive conversation techniques, group work, participant-centered work, simulation technique, and so on).

The courses cover the following topics:

  • Specialist competence in NFP in the narrow sense of the term
  • Communicative competence/contact and communication skills
  • Method competence/teaching and mediation skills
  • Staff competence/credibility and trustworthiness

The training regulations for NFP teachers, the experience, concepts and materials that have been developed are defined as a basis for evidence-based NFP teaching and application in Germany.