Typically these students complain about something other than their psychological difficulties. They are overly concerned about fairness and being treated equally and often feel they are being slighted. Suspicious students tend to be:

  • Tense and anxious
  • Loners
  • Overly reactive to events
  • Self-focused and take things personally
  • Pessimistic
  • People with low self-esteem and self-worth
  • Negative in their view of the world; the world is an unsafe place

When interacting with these students, here are some do’s and don’ts:


  • Acknowledge their thoughts and feelings “I understand you think I am being unfair”
  • Talk in a calm, slow, quiet voice
  • Communicate concern
  • Be specific and direct regarding the standards of appropriate behavior
  • Give the student physical space
  • Offer support and ask how you can be of help


  • Argue with the student
  • Become hostile or punitive yourself
  • Ignore the student
  • Challenge or agree with irrational beliefs
  • Be ambiguous
  • Give mixed messages
  • Be overly warm or nurturing
  • Touch the student