The Suspicious Student

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 everyone'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.

  • Express compassion without offering 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.
  • Acknowledge his/her anxiety (e.g., "I hear how frustrated/confused/anxious you are").
  • Assure the student that you are his/her friend. Agree instead that you are a stranger, but even strangers can be concerned.
  • 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.