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

Download the PDF version
of this article (102kB)

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

Private Intensive Couples Retreat

Did you ever feel like you were just getting warmed up when the therapist said, "We need to stop now." Many people who have come to us for intensive marriage retreats have expressed similar frustration. Working on a marriage relationship deserves the luxury of time, space, and focus. It should not be rushed. In order to get to the heart of the matter, to really dig into an individual or couple's truths, enough time to really explore must be available, or progress is painfully slow.

Having 2-4 hour time blocks over the course of three days is an incredibly satisfying and empowering experience. It gives the four of us the necessary time to address deeper-lying issues and possible solutions. Time between sessions allows for personal processing and specific customized homework to be completed. This is an important part of our process.

Marriage counseling is a process of change. Clients and therapists work together to determine the marital problems, examine existing patterns, set goals for the changes the clients desire, and teach ways to reach those goals. Sometimes clients choose to work on one or two specific problems that they would like to solve, and sometimes they want to change the entire atmosphere of their marriage. Often there are long-standing issues that are causing current problems. The therapists are there to act as facilitators to reach the client's goals.

Whether your marriage is on the rocks and falling apart, or in need of a tune up, our intensive marriage retreat can help give you new tools for dealing with the issues that seem unbearable and irresolvable. Over the three-day couple's retreat the two of us, meeting with you privately, teach the two of you a new set of communication skills specifically designed to enhance your relationship. We then have you practice those skills with each other in our sessions, and as a part of your evening's homework. We look for your personal-relationship challenges, and teach you ways to deal with them specifically. We help you to take things less personally, and learn to respectfully stand on your own two feet, which in turn strengthens the relationship and even reduces personal anxiety and depressed feelings.

Your typical schedule is:

  • Preparation: Upon confirmation of your sign-up we will send you a questionnaire to begin your preparation process.
  • Arrive in Vermont the day before we start out and settle into the accommodations of your choice. Some couples come in two days prior. Travel, hotel, and meals are not included in our fee. See our suggested accommodations.
  • Meet with Israel and Cathie at their homestead at 10AM on Day 1. The first couple of hours are spent discussing your roots: your families of origin, your current family, as well the roots of your romantic involvement with each other. We then switch gears and begin various tutorials and behavioral exercises focused on your specific needs. A snack or sandwich is provided, if you want, while you practice with each other and we coach you through your new skills.
  • After the session you will be practicing the communications skills you are learning, talking to each other on a new deeper level about how your relationship began and grew (or did not grow), about your hopes and dreams for your self and for your relationship together, your regrets and sorrows, and where you see things going. In addition we suggest things to do together... and hope that you can have some fun and relaxation after the day's intensive session.
  • Meet again on Day 2 for several hours. This session tends to be more intense, dealing with the hotter topics (and deeper issues) that need to be addressed. As trained therapists we guide you safely through those areas which have been too hot to handle in the past. When you leave on Day 2, again we give you suggestions of ways to re-connect and take your relationship to a healthier more intimate place (or sometimes to lovingly disconnect and begin to separate more).
  • Day 3. We will review the previous sessions, discussing your progress. We will either continue working on your specific issues while practicing your new communication skills and/or discuss our recommendations for each of you as individuals, as well as for the two of you. Wrap up by noon. Return home, or enjoy an extra day or two in scenic Vermont.
  • When you return home we are available for brief questions on the communication work and other lessons you have learned, as well as on our specific recommendations for the two of you. Click here for other AfterCare Options.

Couple-to-Couple Counseling

We only do couple-to-couple marriage retreats where you get the full attention of two trained marriage therapists, in contrast with marriage encounters, workshops, seminars, and conferences where you are either listening to a lecture or meeting with a number of other couples. We analyze your specific problems without the distraction of others sharing the time and we find that every couple's situation is different, requiring specific individual evaluation and counseling.

We work together as a husband and wife team in our couple to couple retreats. This style of marriage counseling is very effective for many reasons; there is a balance of male-female energy, the benefit of two therapists' insights, knowledge and participation, and the role modeling of a healthy caring relationship in which there are healthy disagreements.

Traditional marriage counseling separates the couple. Either they are seen one at a time by the same therapist or they seek out two different counselors. Working together in an intensive couples retreat, we've found that many couples stay together, where in the traditional analytical process separation and divorce often occur.

While the four of us spend most of our time together in couple-to-couple sessions, we do spend an hour female-female and male-male on Day 2, and at other times, as needed. Our time together is somewhat flexible; therefore we can tailor it to your needs and wants. We get a great deal of work done in a relatively short period of time because we learn just how much to push each of you for your optimal growth. The process is deep, meaningful, and intense.

Read about Our Philosophy.

A recent couple described the Marriage Quest process in their own words:

"Several summers ago, things had reached such a low point in our marriage that it was impossible to maintain the illusion of well-being a minute longer. We found the Helfands' "marriage quest" weekend on the internet and decided it would be an efficient way of tackling our issues.

"Upon our arrival, I immediately felt at home with Cathie & Israel. Their warm and welcoming presence, combined with a strong sense of professionalism let me know right away that we had made a good decision. Next, Israel impressed me with his no-nonsense approach to our case. He hit on what I felt were key issues relating to the personalities involved in less than 2 minutes flat: clearly, we were not going to waste our time here!

"Throughout the weekend, the Helfands employed a variety of approaches and techniques: they spoke to us separately and together, inside their comfortable sitting room and outside in the garden, they educated us, they asked us to make lists, to do role-plays, and of course we also conversed freely. At every step of the way, their competence was matched by their high level of compassion. Emotionally-charged topics were handled with great sensitivity, but they were tackled head-on and in a way that allowed for healing.

"We left the weekend with a 'game plan' which we played out to the best of our respective abilities. In the end, we both felt stronger and better equipped to go on to a healthier, happier life-which is what we have done."


Click to see more Letters and Testimonials we have received.

Call us at 802-563-3063 and ask for Israel or Cathie. We'll be pleased to answer your questions, and provide information on available dates and pricing. In case we are busy counseling another couple at the moment, leave a message and we will return your call promptly.

Considering Divorce | Surviving Infidelity | Emotional Affairs | Mid-Life Crisis | Empty-Nest Syndrome | Retirement | Sexuality | Intimacy | Emotional Trauma | Pre-Marital Counseling | Private Intensive Retreats | Couples Letters | About Us | Contact | Home | Sitemap

Marriage Quest ® is a registered trademark of Helfand Retreats, LLC. © Copyright 2018.
340 Deeper Ruts Rd, Cabot Vermont 05647
Tampa Web Design & Graphic Design by Off the Page Creations