Nowadays, people regularly use the lnternet-based information search in order to better understand their psychological difficulties and to facilitate their coping strategies. One type of coping strategy that can be attained via lnternet is e-mail counseling. lt has become frequently used form of counseling all over the world, while in Croatia it became a regular counseling tool in the last few years. The aim of this research is to show who, when and why uses e-counseling as a coping strategy. Research is conducted on sample of 400 e-mails sent to Psychological center TESA during years 2007 and 2008. Characteristics of senders (gender, age, and educational level), types of problems, and time from the beginning of the problem till sending an e-mail are analyzed. Client coping strategies as well as their perceived effectiveness and self-efficacy related to problem coping are also studied.
Coping strategies classification is taken from Spirito, Stark and Williams (1998) and includes resignation, distraction, social withdrawal, wishful thinking, self criticism, blaming others, social support, emotional regulation, problem solving and cognitive restructuring. ln addition, clients’ satisfaction with e-counsels, and clients’ readiness to proceed to face-to- face counseling are also considered. The results generally indicate a great need for e-mail counseling in Croatia. lt appears to be helpful counseling method for clients with different types of problems and different coping strategies. Young people are especially ply for that type of counseling. Moreover, for some clients, e-counseling is an encouragement for starting face-to-face counseling.