The institution of Play Therapy began in Finland in 1909. During the following years, the importance of playing was recognized and documented through research.
In 1974 Play Therapy was recognized by law as one of Children’s Rights.
The first play therapy program was created at the Pediatric Hospital P. & A. Kyriakou with the support of Professors Konstantinos Papadatos and the guidance of child psychologist Gonilla Roden.
Nowadays, play therapy is taking place in specially designed areas of the hospital and it is run by volunteers of “Open Arms Hug”.

Play Therapy goals are:

  • To protect the child’s mental health on the best possible way
  • To make it easier for the child to accept the hospital environment
  • To help the child accept their illness and work with the medical and nursing staff
  • To use playing to prepare a child for a serious surgery or even a possible disability.



  • To diminish a child’s concern by communicating with other children and help them understand that they are other children like them too (team dynamics).
  • To help them understand that the Hospital and the Doctors are there to take care of their own good and not only to bring pain.
  • To help children express their feelings and let go of negative thoughts, reactions and emotions.
  • To teach parents how they can support the child during their illness.