In his review of Gregory Boyle's Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, Michael Greene notes,
Father Boyle illustrates and extols the importance of helping gang members understand and feel that they are "somebody" and that someone takes them seriously, listens to them, and, yes, loves them unconditionally.It is also noted that there are no program evaluation data on the effectiveness of Fr. Boyle's methods.
To what extent is this "unconditional positive regard" important in developing a systematic, evidence-based program to help members leave the violence of gang life? Can Fr. Boyle's qualitative book be used to develop a program whose effectiveness can be assessed? What (else) needs to be built into such a program?
By Michael B. Greene
PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(31)