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Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1024/1421-0185.64.1.13

Influence of patient’s interpersonal schemas on the establishment of the therapeutic alliance is examined on a sample of 60 outpatients during first dynamic psychotherapy sessions. To assess interpersonal characteristics, we used the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (Horowitz et al., 1988) and the patient’s conflictual relationship themes (CCRT; Luborsky & Crits-Christoph, 1998). Alliance was measured with the Helping Alliance Questionnaire. The results show that therapeutic alliance is associated with patient’s wish to be close, to perceive others as being trustworthy and as helpful. Patients with low alliance more often express the wish to be close to others, but perceive others’ responses more negatively, as indicated by their representations of others as “hurtful and untrustworthy” and “unhelpful”. They also present more interpersonal problems linked to a diminished capacity for affiliation. Clinical implications of the results are discussed.

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