HOPE RESTORED® A MARRIAGE INTENSIVE EXPERIENCE FAQs
What is Hope Restored: A Marriage Intensive Experience?
Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce. Hope Restored Intensives are all-inclusive, extended periods of counseling over multiple days that allow our team of marriage counselors to get to the root of the problem.
A Hope Restored Intensive includes:
- 20-32 hours of counseling over 3-5 days
- 3-5 nights of lodging
- Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner each day
What are the differences between the 3, 4, and 5 Day Intensive programs?
The 4-Day Group Intensive structure has proven to be the most powerful format for helping couples move past the barriers that keep them from experiencing the marriage of their dreams. While it's common initially for many couples to be reluctant to discuss their relationship in front of others, our participants repeatedly offer high praise for the group format on post-Intensive surveys.
The four-day format includes:
- Approximately 32 hours of marriage counseling with our team of counselors.
- A safe and supportive environment with a maximum of five couples and two marriage counselors.
- 4 days and 5 nights in luxury accommodations with all meals served on location.
- A participant manual and other follow-up services with a Hope Restored coach.
The 5-Day Couple's Intensive is our premier intensive experience, providing the most focused care of any Hope Restored Intensive. In this program, you will receive both individual and joint counseling over a period of five days from a male/female therapy team. While all of our individual programs are tailored to couples' specific needs, this longer format allows for much more flexibility as you determine, with the counselors, the direction of each day's sessions.
The five-day format includes:
- Approximately 32 hours of marriage counseling with a guaranteed male/female team.
- A safe, supportive, and private environment.
- 5 days and 5 nights in luxury accommodations with all meals served on location.
- A participant manual and other follow-up services with a Hope Restored coach.
The 3-Day Couple's Intensive utilizes the same powerful principles as the 4-Day Group Intensive, yet is perfectly designed to provide additional privacy during marriage counseling, enhanced individual care, and greater scheduling flexibility.
The three-day format includes:
- Approximately 20 hours of exclusive marriage counseling with one or two Hope Restored counselors.
- 3 days and 3 nights in luxury accommodations with all meals served on location.
- A participant manual and other follow-up services with a Hope Restored coach.
Where and When are the Intensive programs held?
Marriage counseling, in the 4-Day Intensive format, is held at the Focus on the Family Retreat Center in Branson, MO or at the WinShape Marriage Retreat Center in Rome, GA (north of Atlanta). The 4-Day Intensives are scheduled weekly in Branson and once a month in Rome.
Private marriage counseling programs (for the three- and five-day Intensives) are scheduled on an as-needed basis at the Focus on the Family Retreat Center in Branson, MO.
How is a Hope Restored: Marriage Intensive Experience different from weekly marriage counseling?
- Traditional counseling can be very effective and beneficial; however, progress is often very slow and frustrating when the issues feel overwhelming. The Intensive format was designed to allow individuals to get to the root of their issues quickly, with ample time to focus on resolution and growth. The extended amount of time spent within the Intensive setting gives couples the opportunity to go deeper without many of the distractions of daily life, and time to stay long enough to consider the solutions available to them.
- Efficiency: One of the first steps in the Intensive process is an extensive assessment and questionnaire prior to your arrival. This allows the counselor to gather background information and get an idea of the best way to proceed before you arrive for your session.
- Counselors for Hope Restored intensives: Our counselors are specialists in the area of marriage counseling. One analogy we like to use is that of the Mayo Clinic: people go to their regular physician, but they may also be referred to a specialist for help in specific areas. Hope Restored marriage therapists have been trained in the Intensive counseling format to maximize its effectiveness. In addition, several of the Intensive programs provide the perspectives and insights of two professionals, rather than just one.
What sets Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored Intensives apart from other programs designed to help marriages?
We have researched other major programs across the nation and found that they are similar only in that they are trying to help marriages. While we are encouraged by those efforts to minister to those in struggling relationships, we believe there are several things that set Hope Restored intensives apart:
1. The couples seeking help
Most programs are what we consider “enrichment” focused—meaning that they can facilitate growth or rekindle romance in a relationship that is generally healthy or has a solid foundation. By contrast, Hope Restored Intensives target couples who are often in a marriage crisis (separated, divorcing, hopeless). These couples feel “stuck” and discouraged, and often say they have tried everything else without having a breakthrough or seeing any positive results. Couples often take part in a Hope Restored Intensive as a last ditch effort to save their marriage, not as a booster for enrichment. Our research suggests that frustration and, in some cases, additional harm can be experienced by couples who take part in programs that are not designed to offer what they really need. Some of these programs can open emotional wounds and stir things up even when their design and leadership structure is not sufficient to help find resolution or navigate emotionally charged areas.
Leaders in some programs are not trained professional counselors/therapists or psychologists (this training requires either a Masters Degree or a Ph.D., licensure requirements by the state, thousands of hours of experience and supervision, and so on). One key distinction of Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored Intensives is that all of our counseling staff members are trained professionals. While pastors, lay helpers, and marriage mentors can be wonderful facilitators offering compassion, life experience, and testimonies, that is very different from the type of assistance provided by a trained professional equipped with the knowledge, skills, and experience to address more complex dynamics and deeper needs.
This is the most significant distinction. Hope Restored Intensives are NOT a typical seminar, workshop, or retreat. There is not a fixed schedule of specific lectures and presentations. They do not offer a cookie-cutter or “canned” approach to the situations and problems clients are experiencing. Our team of clinical professionals has collaborated very closely over the years to develop a personalized approach along with specific techniques that best meet the needs of each couple and encourage change in their relationship. We gather detailed information from each spouse prior to their arrival so that our counselors can get a sense of the unique concerns to consider for every couple.
What form of therapy does Hope Restored utilize?
A Focus on the Family Hope Restored Intensive addresses a variety of topics including communication, infidelity, intimacy and sexual issues, financial strains, blended families, children, and career conflicts. It offers a unique, holistic, and scripturally-based counseling approach that combines the heart, the mind, and a couple’s faith. This approach has proven amazingly effective. In fact, we routinely survey Intensive participants about their experience. Responses to the survey show that roughly 80 percent are still married two years later.
Does Hope Restored offer Intensives for pre-marital counseling?
We do offer pre-marital Intensives in a limited capacity. For further information, we encourage you to call 866-875-2915 and speak with a Hope Restored representative.
What if I am already divorced and seeking restoration?
We understand there are unique circumstances in many situations. Please call 866-875-2915 for further help in this area.
What if my spouse is not open to attending an Intensive program?
Over the years, we have learned that each spouse has far more ability to positively influence how the marriage functions than they generally realize, even with an uncooperative spouse.
Additionally, in the Intensive programs we emphasize the importance of “self-care.” If your spouse is unwilling to attend an Intensive, we encourage you to seek the help you personally need to walk this journey in a healthy way. While the majority of our programs are designed for couples in crisis, we do have a program that is designed to help individuals get to a healthy place personally and be an encouragement toward positive change relationally. The 3-Day Individual Intensive is an option for these individuals.
What if my spouse and/or I do not feel comfortable in a group marriage counseling setting?
We understand how intimidating it can be for many people to open up in a group setting. We hear this concern quite often. Many couples arrive dreading the group marriage counseling format, and yet by the end of their time at the Intensive, they would not have it any other way! Even so, we are here to serve you, and in the end, it will be your decision which program you believe will best suit your needs. In the group setting, Hope Restored marriage counselors create a safe environment for individuals to express concerns and struggles and to help couples learn through observation and feedback. The group setting also helps facilitate relationships for continued support after the Intensive. Each couple works specifically with the marriage counselors on their issues. The group setting does not utilize a cookie-cutter format, and is actually very customized and practical.
Many individuals who have concerns about affairs, pornography, or childhood abuse have found it very therapeutic to let their “secret” out in the safe setting of the group Intensives because it becomes less of a burden for them to bear alone. Often they find empathy and support from others with similar struggles. Again, the atmosphere of the location is very private, and the Hope Restored counselors are specially trained to create a safe environment.
Are there cases when you would NOT recommend that a couple take part in a Hope Restored Intensive?
There are three circumstances when we may suggest that a couple seek an alternative route:
- If there is currently a substance addiction, the individual would need to complete, or be actively involved in, a rehabilitation program prior to participating in a Hope Restored Intensive. In order for the experience to have a fair chance of being effective, individuals need to be attentive throughout the Intensive without any chemical influence or impairment.
- If there is currently an ongoing physical or emotional affair, the Intensive will not be as useful. The program’s effectiveness depends on two individuals who are focusing on their marriage. The affair must be cut off, and both partners need to focus and commit to the present relationship prior to registering for an Intensive. Even if you are unsure about the future, there needs to be at least a temporary commitment to focusing on this opportunity with an open heart.
- If there is a case of domestic abuse or violence, we would need to do additional screening to determine if our programs would be the best fit for the couple.
What if my spouse and/or I do not feel comfortable staying in the same room together?
We realize that rooming arrangements might be a concern for some couples because they are currently separated or they simply don’t feel comfortable staying in the same room together. We are committed to making sure each couple’s stay is as safe and comfortable as possible. The lodging arrangements for each location are listed below. If additional rooms are needed, our team will be able to provide you with the necessary information to make these arrangements (the additional room cost will be the couple’s responsibility).
Branson, MO – One bedroom with a king bed and a full bath.
Rome, GA – One bedroom with a queen bed and a full bath.
What is the Cost of a Hope Restored: Marriage Intensive Experience?
4-Day Group Intensive:
Price in Branson, MO – $3,950* (Scholarships Available)
Price in Rome, GA – $3,950*
3-Day Private Couple’s Intensive: Branson, MO Only
Price with one counselor – $4,250*
Price with two counselors – $4,750*
5-Day Private Couple’s Intensive: Branson, MO Only
Price – $8,950*
*Prices listed per couple
Will my insurance cover all or a part of the cost for the Hope Restored Intensive?
Focus on the Family recommends that all clients contact their insurance company or human resources department prior to coming to an Intensive to clarify what benefits may apply. When requested by the client, we will provide a detailed receipt with a diagnosis and CPT code for your insurance purposes. This receipt will show the marriage counselor and clinic information, EIN, License number and the amount the client has paid. However, Focus on the Family currently does not submit to insurance companies on behalf of participants of Hope Restored Intensives.
What airport should I use when traveling to an Intensive?
For Intensives in Branson, we recommend the following options:
- Springfield-Branson Regional (1 hour north): a smaller and often more expensive airport
- Branson Airport, Branson Missouri: another smaller and often more expensive airport
- North Arkansas Regional airport (Fayetteville, Arkansas, 2.5 hr. drive): generally less expensive than Springfield
- Tulsa, Oklahoma; Kansas City, MO; St. Louis, MO (all about 3.5-4 hr. drive): major hub airports, less expensive flights
For Intensives in Rome, we recommend the following options:
- Atlanta airports (1.5 hr. drive)
- Chattanooga airports (1.5 hr. drive)
What happens after I have attended a Hope Restored Intensive?
A Hope Restored Marriage Intensive is more than just a one-time service—our goal is the long-term health of your marriage. With this goal in mind, we have put in place several resources for our alumni:
- Participants are given a Hope Restored manual to work through to supplement the experience following the Intensive, along with a 15-week resource titled Producing a Blockbuster Marriage, which is intended to be studied in the weeks following the Intensive.
- Each couple is assigned a coach who checks in on them from time to time.
- For couples who were working with a therapist in their area prior to attending a Hope Restored Intensive, our counselors can connect with those local therapists in order to update them on progress made during the Intensive. This is subject to the disclosure process.
- If further help is needed, couples are eligible to participate in a second Hope Restored Intensive at a 25% discount. Alumni may also return to the Focus on the Family Retreat Center in Branson for "retreat weekends," should they feel it would be helpful to work through issues that arise following the Intensive.
Do you have a Statement of Faith?
Our Statement of Faith reads as follows:
- We believe the Bible to be the inspired, only infallible, authoritative Word of God;
- We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
- We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father and in His personal return in power and glory;
- We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful humanity, regeneration by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ is absolutely essential.
- We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life;
- We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost, they who are saved unto the resurrection of life and they who are lost unto the resurrection of damnation;
- We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
- The Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of Focus' faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our Board of Directors is Focus' final interpretive authority on the Bible's meaning and application.
What if I have questions that are not listed in the FAQ section?
We want to assist you in getting all the information you need to make informed decisions about our programs. If you have additional questions:
- Call Focus on the Family's Hope Restored: A Marriage Intensive Experience at 866-875-2915. One of our trained consultants will confidentially and sensitively answer any questions you may have in determining what program is best for you and your spouse.
- Email your question and we will respond as soon as we can.