This paper focuses on exploring the association between the patient’s perception of his own interpersonal behaviour on the one hand, and that of the therapist’s behaviour and of helping alliance on the other hand. A cross-sectional study was conducted, including 83 patients from substance dependence programs in The Netherlands. They completed the Helping Alliance Questionnaire (HAQ) and the Interpersonal Check List (ICL). Results indicate that the patient’s perception of the therapeutic alliance, and his perception of his own and of the therapist’s interpersonal behaviour are three separate domains, each playing their role in the context of the therapeutic relationship. Helping Alliance scores are predicted by both the patient’s (complaisance) and the therapist’s interpersonal behaviour (dominance). We conclude that patient’s cognitions about himself and about his therapist do contribute significantly to the perception of the therapeutic relationship. Limitations to the study are discussed, as well as some clinical implications.

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