Sarah Wayland

Writer / Counsellor / Speaker


A successful Sydney based freelance writer blending a background in trauma support with the skill of storytelling. Sarah writes predominantly about life, loss and the spaces in between for mainstream media, Government organisations and corporate business success stories. Contact her to discuss a story idea.



A counselling framework to support families of missing persons
Supporting Those Who Are Left Behind

ISBN 978-0-9804405-0-8 Each year in Australia, 35,000 people are reported missing to police. That’s one person every 15 minutes. For every missing person’s case reported, at least 12 people are affected whether it is emotionally, psychologically, physically or financially. That means that a significantly large number of people will endure the trauma associated with the unresolved loss of a loved one. For some, the impact on their lives is momentary; for others it’s a lifetime.

Stories of courage from families of missing persons
A Glimmer of Hope

ISBN 0734728646 Stories of courage from families of missing persons. This anthology catalogues four different stories from family members of missing persons - a sister, parents, a wife and a daughter. It describes, in their own words, the journeys they travelled when their loved one disappeared.

Corporate Writing

Australian Writers Centre

Australian Writers Centre - Writing Bar
Lindy Alexander goes from social worker to freelance writer

Lindy Alexander, 34, a social worker and mum, completed the course in Magazine and Newspaper Writing at the Australian Writers' Centre in 2011. At the time, she was pregnant with her first baby. Lindy shares her ideas on succeeding in the world of freelance writing.

Jocelyn Pride: The travel writer

Jocelyn Pride completed the Australian Writers' Centre Travel Writing course in the summer holidays of 2011. She grew up in a home where storytelling was prominent. Her mother's skill of taking people on a journey with her love of words filtered down a generation. With a background in education, evolving success as a travel writer ...

Cassy Small: Writing is her first love

Cassy Small, 32, is a Sunshine Coast health and wellbeing writer. She completed the Australian Writers' Centre Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1 course online in January 2012. The confidence to get started Like many teenagers, Cassy Small spent hours journaling and writing short stories but the memory was packed away once she entered the workforce.

Radio, Television and Podcasts

Social Media in Tragedies by ABC NSW

Discussing the use of social media in dealing with the grief of tragedies and the fight to stop violence against women. Fiona Wyllie with Sarah Wayland and Jane Caro.

ABC Radio National Life Matters
In limbo: the pendulum between hope and grief

As the search continues for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane with 239 people on board, many of us watch on with intrigue. But the families of the passengers and crew on board are caught between between hope and grief as they await some evidence of what might have happened to the plane.

Australia Counselling
Malaysia Airlines MH370: The Psychology of Missing People

The shock disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370 with 239 people on board this week over the Gulf of Thailand while on route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing has captured the world's media attention. The mystery surrounding it's disappearance is unique in that there has not yet been any wreckage of the flight sighted, days after the flight was lost.

Australia Counselling
Writing and Psychotherapy: Every Person's Life is a Worth a Novel

Podcast: Sarah Wayland is an Australia Counselling member who holds the unique title ofsocial worker and successful freelance writer. She has found that writing and blogging has been an effective way to attract new clients into her practice and raise her profile in the community.

ABC Radio National Life Matters
Holding on to hope: families of missing people

In Australia 35,000 people go missing every year. While 95% of those people are found, often within the first week, the remaining 'missing' leave behind family and friends that must deal with their loss.

SBS Insight

Are we doing enough to track down missing people? Add Your Comments Currently comments Jenny Karmas came home from work one evening to an unlocked, empty house. Although her husband Sam had left his keys, wallet and ute at home, he was nowhere to be seen. He is still missing.

Gone Missing by triple j Hack

35,000 people go missing in Australia every year. Most are found quickly. But imagine if your loved one never came home.

MiNDFOOD - MiNDFOOD Radio: Sarah Wayland
International Missing Childrens Day

Each year, about 35,000 reports are received by the police regarding a missing person and 1600 people remain missing. We chat to counselor Sarah Wayland about her work in the missing persons field, for International Missing Person's Day on May 25.

ABC Radio National Life Matters
Missing young people

Couch surfing, having some time out, having a break - these are not terms you usually associate with missing people. But young people who lose contact with their families and friends do not always perceive themselves as 'missing'.

Commissioned work - Grief

MiNDFOOD - Love after loss: navigating through grief

When a person loses a partner the physical connection is severed but the emotional connection can live on. Three women share their stories. Isa King was only 20 when she met Aaron. "Every month we went out Aaron would send me a bunch of flowers and a teddy bear and it all stopped when we got engaged," she laughs.

Have you seen Dan?

Missing ... Daniel James O'Keeffe. It was just over a year ago that Loren O'Keefe last spoke to her 25-year-old brother Dan. He went missing on July 15, 2011. In those first few days Loren assumed that he might have just needed space - the uncertainty made it difficult for her to raise the alarm, to let people know he was missing.

Vanishing Acts

What happens for families of missing people when they turn to the media for answers?

Grief reactions

"The sadness people encountered after their loss actually gave them a new sense of meaning about their life." About nine years ago Ingrid Poulson's two children and father were taken in a violent attack by her ex-husband.

Faces of a fallen city

One year on...a case study of five people affected by the Christchurch Earthquakes

Holding out for news

EK Family Home Parents of missing child Madelaine McCann, Gerry (left) and Kate McCann, speaking during an interview aired as part of a major public appeal. Photo: AFP The images of Madeline McCann's face have flashed across our television screens since that night in Portugal in 2007 when she vanished from her holiday apartment at the tender age of three.

Commissioned work - Mental Health

Shifting focus: seeing our babies from another perspective

Caring for Baby Photo: Getty Images Parents and questions about what's 'normal' for babies go together like a bad night's sleep and a cup of coffee. I certainly found it hard to go from a fully functioning working adult to a person whose whole day was held ransom by a small baby; I wasn't quite sure what she was supposed to be doing, and when she was supposed to do it.

Facing Mother's Day after the loss of your own mum

EK Family Home There is no right or wrong way to feel on the day. Photo: Getty As soon as the Easter eggs and Hot Cross Buns are removed from the supermarket shelves, the carnations and heartfelt poems appear.

Daniel Morecombe. True loss does not have closure

Social media provides an instant platform for people wanting to respond to tragedy and trauma. No matter what type of loss we might be witnessing the same words tend to swirl round and around - we rally at the injustice of 'bad' happening to 'good' people, we tell each other to hold our babies tighter to remind ourselves to be grateful for what we have and we commonly fall prey to the word ....

Sydney Morning Herald
A pilgrimage and our careful progress

Illustration: Jim Pavlidis. He twisted his wallet in his hands. As office workers rushed past, his conversation was awkward - a given, perhaps, as I only knew him from a smiling image on my computer. We had agreed to meet on the corner of Pitt and Park streets in Sydney, strategically one hour before I was due in a meeting.

Facebook memorials

When Faye and Mark Leveson established a Facebook page in memory of their son Matt, they turned their grief outwards. The willingness of people to support them, years after their son disappeared, presumed murdered, in 2007, gave them the confidence to keeping looking for answers. Their pain was there for the world to see.

Reducing the stigma of mental illness

Nutrition & Wellbeing "I think we give each other permission to tell the truth" ... Catherine Know, Gidget Foundation Photo: Getty Images October 10 is World Mental Health Day. This year, in Australia, the day's main aims are to encourage help seeking behaviour, reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, and foster connectivity throughout communities.

Suicide prevention: responding to young people

Latest health news Pulling them out of the dark ... Photo: Getty Images When our children move from childhood to adolescence it isn't just their appearance that changes. The ways, in which they connect, reach out for help and view life changes.

When a teen's idol dies

Development for Older Kids Dead at 31 ... Cory Monteith, star of the television series Glee Photo: AP I was 15 years old when River Phoenix died. Our relationship only existed through staring at his poster on the wall above my sister's bed but my friends and I still mourned the loss as if the relationship existed in real life.

Commissioned work - Parenting
How music and a notebook helped me through my marriage breakdown

There are two things you need in a break-up - a notebook and a good playlist. One to master the practical and the other to nurture the emotional. Back in early 2006 I found myself in the midst of a marriage break up, with a small baby on one side of me and a mountain of 'what the hell am I going to do' on the other.

Making mealtimes family time

Preschooler Nutrition & Fitness Dinner time can often be a struggle but building a new routine may help. Photo: Getty Images Emma Fahy Davis is realistic - the idea of her family coming together for a meal and the reality of the chaos with five children can be stressful.

Women's Agenda
Having a second baby: Is it worth it to keep on working?

Olivia Wilson and her husband are out of pocket just under $400 each week to pay for the care of their two children. The juggle of getting out of the house each morning relies heavily on the assistance of ABC4Kids but Olivia knows that in world of sales, a career path she chose long before her babies arrived, that connections and networking are paramount.

Women's Agenda
PhDs and parenting: A good match?

Dr Inger Mewburn dipped her toe into the postgraduate world when her son Brendan was just eight months old and by the time she had her doctorate he had celebrated his eighth birthday. He had no memory of a mother who didn't study. The average age of Australian postgraduate students is 36.

ivillage Australia
Eat, Pray, Get over yourself: If you could write your own ending

After a particularly long day last week, I sank onto my bed, grabbed my kindle and disappeared into a land created by a woman I'll never meet. By the time I looked up my shoulders had dropped, my mind was clear and I felt like I'd stepped out of my life for just a bit.

Pressure to be perfect

Education for Older Kids Not coping with failure ... Photo: Getty Images From the moment children demonstrate little streaks of independence parents are encouraged to praise them with words and actions. Toilet training? Here's a sticker chart. Managing the school drop off without tears? Here's a special treat at the end of the week.

Don't forget the kids before you travel

EK Family Travel Hesitant traveller ... Photo: Getty Images As I was packing suitcases for a long awaited family holiday I chatted with my seven-year-old daughter about the excitement of heading overseas 'but what if I miss my friends, miss Grandma, miss my school?' she asked.

The anxiety of the blended family

Preschooler Development Winning over your partner's child takes patience and an honest conversation with their parent from the outset. Stephanie's son is almost 11 and for most of his life he has lived between his mum and his dad's house.

Conquering a defeatist attitude

Kids Development When your child gives up too easily ... Photo: Getty Images Parents often catch themselves swooping in to provide positive, life affirming words of encouragement when they hear the 'I can't do it' line from their kids.

iVillage Australia
The fastest growing family in Australia

If current research is to be believed, then step or blended families are the fastest growing family type in Australia today. The increasing divorce rate, the search for happiness and meaning and a woman's capacity to say no when it isn't working might all be contributing to this emergence of a family group that doesn't look as white bread as it used to.

The Hoopla

As Christmas - and the inevitable mention of the silly season - rolls around again we start to see polar opposite images of the festive season emerge. On one hand a picture of togetherness as a family, for others the pain of isolation.

Sydneys Child
Play By Design

An evolution of children's playgrounds

Do we really need to fear the white van?

A few months back I wrote a piece about the location of a missing child. In the days after the piece was published I was interviewed on the radio about my thoughts and the question that came up was whether or not our kids are safe.

iVillage Australia
How should we teach our children that not all men are bad?

Most Australians know the story of Daniel Morcombe who was abducted from a bus stop close to his home just weeks before Christmas 8 years ago. Working in the missing persons field it really resonated with me having seen first hand the stories of loss and despair from families in similar situations.

Regular Column

How long did you stay in hospital after giving birth?

It used to be that new mothers would stay in hospital for days after the birth of their children. Now its more like hours. The Herald Sun reports that hospitals are offering mothers gifts (like nappies, frozen meals and cleaning services) and visits from midwives to persuade them to leave hospital early and free up beds to cope with a rising number of births.

Expert Comment

Guest Posts

Beating baby name anxiety

Stages of Pregnancy Indecision and anxiety ... "My fear is what happens if further down the track I think 'oh, I really like that name, I wish I'd gone with that'" There are few discussions that you have on your path to parenthood that can produce more disputes than choosing a name for your newborn.

Coping With Jane
Contagious anxiety? Managing the return to school

January tends to have a different feel than the rest of the year – holidays, book reading, snippets of time to lay about, laugh and not focus too much on the clock. Our kids have similar experiences. A long break from school and a chance to break away from the rigidity of routines can give them a chance to try and just be, but as January draws to a close the conversations between parents and kids turn to the arrival of the new school year. A conversation that can be filled with a mix of...

Career Mums
CareerMums: Family and work flexibility - Please don't send in the clowns

Blogger Sarah Wayland from That Space In Between thinks that working mums overuse the word 'juggle'. She's come up with another word she prefers. Do you agree with her? I was meandering through the online world the other day reading bits of this and bits of that and I noticed something - articles relating to mums tend to overuse the world juggling.

Coping With Jane
Dementia Awareness Day - Are you part of the sandwich generation?

As the Australian population ages and women are having children later in life, the challenges of caring for elderly parents as well as being a mum become the reality for many women in the community. When this responsibility falls on your shoulders how do you manage it?

Clown Shoes and Tight Chests - A Mum's First Year at School

Today I would like to welcome Sarah Wayland of That Space In Between to Childhood 101 with a guest post sharing her perspective as a Mum reflecting upon her feelings as a mother when her daughter headed off to Big School last year...

Australia Counselling
Missing Persons: Rituals for the Lost

Every year in Australia 35000 missing persons reports are made about the safety and wellbeing of an individual. More than 95% will be located (or return of their own volition) within a month but the loss experienced by those left behind can be difficult to conceptualise.

Career mums
CareerMums: Family and work flexibility

Blogger Sarah Wayland from That Space In Between considers her new existence as a part time mum and what works for her. A lot of mums re-entering the workforce after the fog of maternity leave choose to work part time.