Marriage Quest, Israel and Cathie Helfand, Cabot Vermont, 802-563-3063

Divorce Decision and Counseling
Recovering from Infidelity
Detecting and Surviving an Emotional Affair
Conquering a Mid-Life Crisis
When Your Children Leave Home
Addressing Sexual Concerns
Emotional Intimacy and Physical Intimacy
Emotional Trauma
Premarital Counseling for Second Marriages too
An Overview of Marriage Quest Couples Retreats Intensive Weekend Marriage Retreats Letters from Couples and Individuals All About the Helfands and the Counseling Center Address, Phone, Email, Hotels, etc. Travel - Hotels

Is Your Marriage Falling Apart?
Marriage Quest Can Help

3-Day Intensive Retreat, One Couple at a Time

Marriage Quest is a private, personalized 3-day marriage retreat program located in Cabot Vermont. It is for married and non-married couples who are looking for an intensive and effective approach to relationship or marriage counseling, even healthy divorce counseling. The two of us work with one couple at a time so that we can focus on your specific goals. You do not need to figure out which program is right for the two of you. We tailor the sessions to your situation.

Marriage Quest has been named the #1 Best Marriage Counseling Retreat in the U.S. by Guide Doc since 2015, #1 in the Top 5 Marriage Retreats in the US by Connect With Life, is in The Top 10 Marriage Intensive Retreats by Rank My Therapist, one of the 5 Best Marriage Boot Camps and Couple's Retreats by The Coolist, is #2 in The Top 50 Marriage Intensive Retreats in 2018 by The Marriage Intensive Network, and is #2 in the list of Top Marriage Retreat sites by Top 20 Sites.

It is not a group program like workshops, seminars, or marriage encounters. The two of you will meet together with the two highly-trained Marriage and Family Therapists, Israel Helfand, PhD, MS, LMFT, CST and Cathie Helfand, MS, MFT who have been working together as a couple with couples since 1983.

We have found that our private intensive couple-to-couple retreat (the four of us working together) is a highly effective way to help couples understand and resolve their problems, whether they are in a crisis and at a crossroad in their relationship... or hoping for a deeper intimate connection.

Many couples come to us after an emotional or sexual affair, with one person wanting a divorce and the other person wanting to keep the relationship together. In this situation our job is to understand the roots of their problem, explore the options together, and help them make their momentous decision.

Unlike other programs, we advocate for marriage but not at any price. The objective of our marriage retreat is to support the two of you in your specific personal relationship goals, whatever they may be, while concurrently enhancing your relationship.

As a husband and wife team, counseling couples together for more than 25 years, we have specific training in marriage therapy and marriage repair. We know personally and professionally about the challenges of modern day relationships. With this knowledge we bring to marriage therapy a blend of male and female perspectives and a comfort with the issues common to evolving relationships.

Whether it is to renew and awaken your fading love, repair a marriage that is ready to fall apart, or make a major relationship decision, our couple to couple intensive marriage retreat can help you gain insights into your personal situation while teaching you healthy communication skills to keep your discussions focused and fair.

Our work is professional and non-denominational. We believe that people have the right to be happy, and that children greatly benefit from authentically happy parents, and that the most important goal is to follow the truth... to treat each other honestly... and to do that with love and respect.

Intensive Couples Retreat:

Our three-day marriage retreat has been designed for the couple wanting a private marriage counseling experience that is deeper and more comprehensive than that which they may have experienced in regular weekly counseling sessions. The marriage retreat is offered regularly throughout the year at our Cabot, Vermont retreat center.

Unlike most marriage encounters, seminars, workshops, and retreats this is not a group experience. Meeting with you, one couple at a time allows us to deal exclusively with your personal relationship issues. The four of us usually meet together in our comfortable counseling room, but often we meet one-on-one for a short period of time to explore a specific issue. Many couples come here to get in touch with their deeper truth: whether it is to rekindle and rescue their relationship, explore the decision of a separation, or to work towards a friendly divorce and healthy co-parenting.

The marriage retreat will include:

  • Opportunities to discuss what you each see as the problems, as well as strengths, in your marriage
  • An in-depth discussion of your personal backgrounds and experiences, including your history as a couple together
  • Understanding your feelings, building your emotional awareness, and enhancing your skills in problem solving through effective communication
  • An opportunity to learn and experience how love and forgiveness can build through increased tolerance and through the recognition that personality and character differences can actually enhance your marriage and personal happiness
  • Depending on the problems that brought you to Marriage Quest, we may together discuss and learn what you saw in each other in the first place, stages of marriage and where you are today, problems of non-communication or mis-communication, how to identify misconceptions and change your reactions, stereotypes and prejudices and how to change them, and changing self-defeating behaviors

Couples have come to Marriage Quest from many faraway places... from Alaska, St. Thomas, Scotland, California, and many places in-between. They stay at a local B&B, motel, or hotel while meeting for three days of intensive marital therapy.

Couples have come to us for many phases of relationship (including pre-marital) counseling to build better communication skills and a structure for a healthy marriage. (Hey Mom and Dad, what a great idea for an engagement present!)

We have often heard from clients, many of whom themselves are therapists, that our 3 day program is worth more than six months to a year of 45 minute weekly therapy sessions. Come experience what many other couples have found to be a more satisfying, comfortable, private, cost effective, and time-efficient way to nourish or heal your marriage/relationship.

Click for a more detailed description of Intensive 3-Day Marriage Retreats.

Exploring the Divorce Decision - Discernment Counseling

More than half of the couples that come to our retreats are considering a divorce. Therapists today call this "Discernment Counseling". Usually, one partner thinks that they should get a divorce and the other thinks they should not. Our job is to determine the source of the problems, help you to understand them, and find ways to eliminate these problems (if possible). If you are trying to make this momentous decision we can help you work through your questions, choices, and decisions. If you then decide to get a divorce, we can help you acquire the skills to move forward in a positive direction, improve your relationship, and learn to be better co-parents. You can make a better decision if you have explored the situation more completely.Click here to learn more about Exploring Divorce.


The discovery of infidelity is an earth-shaking experience - often tearing a marriage apart and leading to a cold relationship or an instant initiation of divorce. We have helped many couples turn the excitement of an affair back into the marriage while rebuilding trust and commitment within the marriage. Intensive marriage therapy, when accompanied by motivation on the part of both partners, provides an opportunity to address the nature and motivation of an affair and move forward. Couples we work with have the courage to face the truth and explore the options of staying together, a possible trial separation, or discussing divorce. Paradoxically this often leads to increased relief and a positive outcome. Click for more information on Marriage Therapy to Survive Infidelity.

Emotional Affairs

Emotional affairs can be anything from regular emails with an old lover or office friend... to secret meetings that are leading up to a sexual affair. For the spouse involved in this relationship it often seems innocent and exciting. For the uninvolved spouse it usually is devastating, shows a lack of trust and extreme betrayal of the marital bond, and hurts deeply. Our job is to help navigate healthy discussions of what has been missing in the marriage, how the marriage can be more intimate (emotionally and sexually), and agreement on what is reasonable behavior with friends of the opposite sex. Click for more information on Detecting and Surviving an Emotional Affair.

Mid-life Crisis

If you have detected a change in your partner's personality, actions, or habits perhaps the problem is what is known as a mid-life crisis. A mid-life crisis can have many effects on one's life, many behaviors that need attention. Since these behaviors affect the marriage relationship, at Marriage Quest we evaluate the problems, seek the underlying causes, and work with you to find solutions, in order to revive the marriage. Click for a more detailed description of The Mid-life Crisis.

Empty Nest

When the last child leaves home some couples breathe a sigh of relief while others find themselves lost and disoriented. This time of change can be a time of crisis and lonliness, or soul searching and growth. Click here to learn more about the Empty Nest "opportunity".


Retirement, even if it is planned, is usually a major life change and often creates a strain on the marriage. Many of the couples coming to our Intensive Marriage Retreat are considering divorce after one spouse has retired and their marriage is full of conflict and stress. Click here for more information on Retirement challenges.


Human sexuality is an extremely complex subject and is, for many couples, a very tender and sensitive issue. Even therapists may avoid the subject because of their personal discomfort. At Marriage Quest, it is with great care that the four of us, couple to couple, may enter the discussion of sex in your marriage, when it seems appropriate. Click here for more information on Sexuality.

Emotional Intimacy and Physical Intimacy

The symptoms of marital problems are often exhibited in problems of intimacy... including emotional intimacy, physical intimacy, and sexual intimacy. Each partner often sees the problem quite differently, and has a different solution in mind. When we see that intimacy is one of the marriage problems we both call upon our experiences as Marriage and Family Therapists and Sex Therapists to carefully work through the barriers to intimacy. Click for more information on our approach to counseling in the areas of Emotional Intimacy and Physical Intimacy.

Emotional Traumas

Traumatic occurrences, past or present, can cause many kinds of emotional challenges in a marriage. If a couple has recently experienced a traumatic event, or are in the middle of a crisis, we help them sort things out and make some good decisions. Whether the trauma is recent or from the past, we help couples gain insight and understanding along with new skills to improve their individual and their marital situation. Click here for more information on Emotional Traumas.

Pre-Marital Counseling

No new phase of your life is as tremendous as the step into marriage. Take time to prepare and acquire the skills to make a success of it. Make sure you start off on the right foot. Second marriages have a higher divorce rate than first, so learn from the past, and make this the best marriage ever. Click here to learn more about Marriage Quest Pre-Marital Counseling.

Email us at the link below if you want more information on scheduling and pricing.

Call us at 802-563-3063, if you want to talk more about your specific situation and how our Marriage Quest retreat can help the two of you. Come experience what many other couples have found to be a more satisfying, comfortable, private, cost effective, and time-efficient way to nourish, heal, or re-direct your marriage/relationship

Read the latest article 'Two Cabot 'Sexperts' Rekindle Relationships',
that ran in Seven Days February 26, 2014.

To view Full Publication List of articles By Us or About Us, please click here.

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