Dr Israel & Cathie Helfand

Marriage Quest® was founded by Dr Israel and Cathie Helfand in 2003 to fulfill the need of couples wanting fast results for their marriage struggles. The origins of the Marriage Quest process dates back to the early 80’s with Dr Barry Ginsberg and The Center of Relationship Enhancement. Israel developed the process with Barry over several years. Israel and Cathie began leading their form of couples marathon intensive weekends in the early 90s, well before other retreat leaders and trainers, like John and Julie Gottman.
AASECT Relationship Counselor Dr Israel Helfand, member of AAMFT and Certified Sex Therapist

Israel Helfand, PhD, LMFT, CST

Israel is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) since 1984. He is a Certified Sex Therapist with the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). He was also certified as a Hypnotist, and a Senior Member of the Academy of Family Mediators with a specialty in Divorce Mediation.

Israel is an experienced group leader with thousands of hours in Psychodrama, and years of experience running Mens’ Groups including groups for Vietnam Vets. He has led many workshops, taught college, written numerous articles, spoken on radio and television, and supervised many therapists.

In the early ‘90s Israel was certified as a Wilderness First Responder and a Licensed New York State Wilderness Guide. He ran “inward bound” and Vision Quest type backpacking retreats, known as Soul Awakening, Corporate Quest, and Ecopsychology. In addition, he led clients in Shamanic Journey, Soul Retrieval, and Past Life Journey experiences. Nature has always been his sanctuary, his safe place. As a child he often retreated to the woods and stream. Today, he enjoys his little piece of heaven in Vermont.

On a personal note, Israel has overcome multiple childhood traumas. Today, he is described as having five ACES: from not being wanted, to being bullied from peers, and antisemitism from teachers, employees, employers, and other authority figures. Therefore, he understands what it takes to overcome the past and to learn to trust.

Now, he teaches clients how to turn their “sad and tragic tale” into a Hero’s or Heroine’s Journey, how to communicate in a more positive way with significant others, self-soothe and re-parent themselves, and to personally feel stronger and healthier.

"As a clinician, I teach skills to communicate in a more positive way, to self soothe, to self parent, and to feel a stronger self. All these skills help to improve day to day living and loving by stopping us before we get triggered. To heal the trigger itself, we have to enter the trauma, feel it, and give it new language. In short, my work is both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and experiential when needed."

AASECT Relationship Counselor Cathie Helfand, MS & Psychotherapist focused on Marriage & Family Counseling

Cathie Helfand, MS

Cathie Helfand, MS, is a Vermont Registered Psychotherapist with a Masters in Counseling and Human Resources, with a focus in Marriage and Family Counseling and a Bachelors in Human Development and Family Studies. She brings an expertise to marriage therapy from her extensive graduate training and experience in Relationship Enhancement Therapy.

She has worked with couples and families since 1977, in a variety of settings including her marriage counseling work with Israel, as a youth and family counselor at Danbury Youth Services, as an Employee Assistance Program counselor for Pitney Bowes and other small businesses, and with the Fairfield County Council of the Boy Scouts of America as the Exploring Director.

As an adjunct professor she has taught courses including Family Therapy, Ecopsychology, and Addictions and the Family. Over the years Cathie worked for three different dating services and even started one called “To Life.” Cathie’s focus is on helping people make decisions in their lives, find happiness in their relationships, and make plans to move forward in a more positive direction.

“The most transformative experiences I ever had with Israel were when we met for several hours talking together openly and honestly. It was in these concentrated blocks of time that we were able to get to ‘the bottom of it all’ and ‘back up the other side.’ Now, we teach this powerful process to our couples.”

Cathie And Israel’s Book

 The YUMMY Marriage, is available on Amazon in the paperback and Kindle editions, as an iBook on Apple, and as a spiral bound book at Lulu.com. Stay tuned: Israel’s new book will be available in 2024.

Consider A Marriage Counseling Retreat

If you are ready to fix your troubled marriage or relationship, we can help. A private Marriage Counseling Retreat can help you and your partner enhance your marriage by addressing the underlying issues through a compassionate, direct, and effective process.

Already Signed Up For A Retreat?

If you and your partner have already scheduled your retreat with Dr Israel and Cathie Helfand, please review the resource page for information about next steps, local accommodations, and other helpful tips to get the most benefit out of your retreat experience.

Dr Israel & Cathie's Office