Suspicious Students

Typically, these students complain about something other than their psychological difficulties. They are tense, anxious, mistrustful, loners, and have few friends. They tend to interpret minor oversights as significant personal rejection and often overreact to insignificant occurrences. They see themselves as the focal point of everybody's behavior and everything that happens has special meaning to them. They are overly concerned with fairness and being treated equally. Feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy underline most of their behavior. They seem capable and bright.

Do:

  • Express compassion without intimate friendship. Remember, suspicious students have trouble with closeness and warmth.
  • Be firm, steady, punctual, and consistent.
  • Be specific and clear regarding the standards of behavior you expect.

Don't:

  • Assure the student that you are his/her friend; agree you're a stranger, but even strangers can be concerned.
  • Be overly warm and nurturing.
  • Flatter or participate in their games; you don't know the rules.
  • Be cute or humorous.
  • Challenge or agree with any mistaken or illogical beliefs.
  • Be ambiguous.