When the Children’s Grief Centre closed last year due to pandemic restrictions, our counselling team was busy working at home to provide children and teens therapy and support through technology. Hospice Calgary and the Children’s Grief Centre have always leveraged technology to help connect families to the support they need, and this year was no exception.
Some families are now very familiar with virtual appointments, but for others, these type of appointments are quite new. To make this a smooth and successful option for families, counsellors decided to utilize an unlikely tool – Bitmoji. Bitmoji is an online app that creates avatars, miniature cartoon versions of yourself for use on social media. Counsellors use Bitmoji to connect in a fun and creative way, and help their clients navigate virtual counselling. All our grief counsellors have created Bitmoji’s.
When first reaching out to a client, counsellors share their Bitmoji along with an infographic of what clients can expect during a virtual session (e.g. confidentiality, wearing headphones, and tips on finding a quiet place to talk).
Our counsellors have also used their Bitmoji to create a guide on what to expect during in-person counselling sessions. Serena Shokar, one of our Children’s Grief counsellors, says that Bitmoji “make it more personable, and give the kids and teens a sense of familiarity. Bitmoji help us support our clients differently than we have in the past.”
Since implementing the use of Bitmoji’s, our counsellors have received a lot of positive feedback from parents and caregivers. One parent of a 10-year-old girl shared, “This will make my daughter feel more comfortable connecting with counselling online.”