VAP Staff Curriculum → Direct Services (DS)

Inclusive Language

This course will help staff to review and examine the language we use in the work we do. Much this content is borrowed from the American Psychological Association. Please see their introduction below-

For the first time, APA is systematically and institutionally examining, acknowledging, and charting a path forward to address its role in racism and other forms of destructive social hierarchies including, but not limited to, sexism, ableism, ageism, heterosexism, classism, and religious bigotry. The organization is assessing the harms and is committing to true change. This requires avoiding language that perpetuates harm or offense toward members of marginalized communities through our communications.

As we strive to further infuse principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) into the fabric of society, those committed to effecting change must acknowledge language as a powerful tool that can draw us closer together or drive us further apart. Simply put, words matter. The words we use are key to creating psychologically safe, inclusive, respectful, and welcoming environments.

These guidelines aim to raise awareness, guide learning, and support the use of culturally sensitive terms and phrases that center the voices and perspectives of those who are often marginalized or stereotyped. They also explain the origins for problematic terms and phrases and offer suitable alternatives or more contemporary replacements. This document will be flexible and iterative in nature, continuing to evolve as new terminology emerges or current language becomes obsolete.

By embracing inclusive language and encouraging others to do the same, we firmly believe that we will not only communicate effectively with more people, but also better adapt to a diversifying society and globe.

Maysa Akbar, PhD, ABPP
Chief Diversity Officer
  • Introduction and Directions
  • Videos
  • Why Inclusive Language Important?
  • These Phrases Have Racist Origins?
  • Guidelines
  • APA DEI Language Guidelines
  • TEST
  • Langauge
Completion rules
  • All units must be completed
  • Leads to a certification with a duration: Forever