Clinical Lectical Interviewing in Practice


If you are a coach, consultant, educator, parent (or another form of adult human), you can benefit from building Clinical Lectical Interviewing skills—a special set of perspective-seeking skills for helping others explain their ideas.

Clinical Interviewing is a form of developmental interviewing first developed by Jean Piaget and later refined by Lawrence Kohlberg. It's different from other forms of interviewing in that it is specifically designed to probe into the ways in which individuals understand and work with knowledge and ideas. Skilled clinical interviewers not only help respondents show how they are thinking by asking for explanations but also listen with interest and respect to what a respondent is saying. The former challenges the respondent; the latter makes them feel heard.

All in all, a well-conducted clinical interview is a positive learning experience for both interviewer and respondent. It is also sometimes described as a "bonding" or "social flow" experience.

CLIP started out as a certification course in Clinical Lectical Interviewing for Certified Lectical Consultants, Educators, and Coaches. Today, we also welcome parents, educators, developmental researchers, and other adults the opportunity to participate in CLiP. For members of the latter group, certification is available but not required.

Upon successful completion of the course, Certified Clinical Lectical Interviewers will be able to deliver Lectical Assessments as interviews.

Cartoon of an individual


Clinical interviewing is a form of developmental interviewing first developed by Jean Piaget and later refined by Lawrence Kohlberg. It has been used in hundreds, perhaps thousands of studies over the last 90 years. If you plan to study mental development, clinical interviewing is an essential skill.

Cartoon of parent and child


At Lectica, most of us have conducted developmental research that has involved clinical interviewing. Those of us who are parents have also found clinical interviewing skills useful for understanding how our children are thinking, what they are interested in learning, and how robustly their minds are developing.

Cartoon of teacher reading to students

Educators & Counselors

Teachers and school counselors can use Clinical Lectical Interviewing to build a deeper understanding of student learning. Clinical interviewing techniques can be used one-on-one for diagnostic purposes or in class discussions to help students articulate emerging understandings or ideas and develop their explanations.

Cartoon of a coach and client


Most coaches learn how to conduct an interview designed for therapeutic contexts as part of their training. Clinical Lectical Interviewing provides a set of complementary skills focused on reasoning. Clinical interviewing helps coaches surface their clients' learning needs and is required for conducting Lectical Assessment Interviews.


CLIP is a 6-meeting online practice-based course (with a final qualifying assignment for those seeking a certification). Every fortnight, participants meet for two hours. Between meetings, they complete, transcribe, and submit short interview segments. Most class time is spent in small-group sessions in which participants learn the basics of good clinical interviewing while critiquing one another's interview segments, participating in role-plays, and working with other participants to explore solutions to common clinical interviewing challenges.

Module 1: The basics of Clinical Lectical Interviewing (CLI)

In this module, we cover CLI basics. You'll learn:

  • The goals of CLI and how they may differ& from the goals of other interviewing approaches
  • The basic rules of CLI
  • How to prepare clients for the interview experience
  • How to track and probe responses
  • Interview techniques to avoid
Module 2–4: Practice

In these modules, participants will critique one another's interview segments and engage in role-play to build CLI skills.

Module 5-6: Challenges, pitfalls, and solutions

In these modules, participants will continue to critique one another's interview segments. They will also play the interviewer as facilitators model 10 challenges that can affect the quality of interview responses. Participants will work together to develop and implement strategies for managing these challenges.

Final assignment (certification track only)

For the final assignment, those seeking certification will conduct and record a minimum of one interview and write a detailed self-critique. The interview will be reviewed by your facilitator, who will provide detailed comments and suggestions and determine if you have achieved an adequate level of skill for certification. If the instructor decides that you need additional practice, you may be asked to conduct a second interview as part of the certification process.

For Certified Lectical Practitioners

Interview assessments have both advantages and disadvantages. For example:

  • They are often the only way to access the reasoning of younger children. Clinical interviewing skills are valuable for researchers studying childrens' development as well as parents or teachers who wish to track children's development.
  • Clinical interviews are often more appealing for busy senior executives than written assessments because they're more personal and take less time.
  • Clinical interviews are often viewed as less threatening than written assessments by individuals who suffer from test anxiety.
  • Many people who do not enjoy writing find the interview format more appealing.
  • Because it is a form of intense listening, clinical interviewing can strengthen relationships, including the coaching relationship.
  • When using Lectical Assessments in executive hiring, an interview is often preferable to a written assessment.
  • The primary disadvantage of clinical interviewing is that adults tend to receive slightly higher scores on written assessments than on interview assessments. This is largely because written assessments provide more opportunities for revision. We encourage clients to take this into account when choosing between written and oral assessments.
  • A secondary disadvantage of interviewing adults is that it is more expensive to process interview responses because they are generally much longer than written responses.


Fees & schedule

CLIP is open to anyone who would like to learn how to conduct clinical interviews. However, CLiP certification is available only to participants who meet certain requirements.

CLIP is delivered in six weekly practice-based sessions. The course fee is $1,600 ($1,500 early bird rate) for participants seeking certification and $1,100 ($1000 early bird rate) for non-certifying participants.

Sessions are generally held from 10 AM–12 PM or 5:00–7:00 PM US ET (New York time).

The next CLiP begins on January 11th, 2024. The early bird rate ends on November 30th, 2023, and registration closes on December 24th, 2023.

We will meet weekly from 5:00–7:00 PM US ET (New York time).

If you register for CLiP, but are unable to complete coursework in a timely fashion or are unable to participate effectively in class activities, we may ask you to complete the course at a later date. (Individuals who are moved to another session must pay an administrative fee equal to $15% of the current CLiP rate.)

Selected funders

IES (US Department of Education)

The Spencer Foundation


Dr. Sharon Solloway

The Simpson Foundation

The Leopold Foundation

Donor list

Selected clients

Glastonbury School District, CT

The Ross School

Rainbow Community School

The Study School

Long Trail School

The US Naval Academy

The City of Edmonton, Alberta

The US Federal Government

Advisory Board

Antonio Battro, MD, Ph.D., One Laptop Per Child

Marc Schwartz, Ph.D. and former high school teacher, University of Texas at Arlington

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D., University of Southern California

Willis Overton, Ph.D., Temple University, Emeritus