The Suspicious Student

Usually these students complain about something other than their psychological difficulties. They are tense, cautious, mistrustful, isolated, 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 underlie most of their behavior, even though they may seem capable and bright. This type of student is often mistrusting of psychological counseling and reticent to engage in it. But you may wish to call and consult with us on how to proceed.

DO:

  • Express compassion/concern 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.
  • Be aware that humor may be interpreted as rejection.

DON’T:

  • Assure the student that you are her/his friend
  • 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.