Beneath pages and pages of hocus-pocus commercially packaged as a six-step program lies one preposterous contention: you can drastically improve your life by simply choosing more ""effective"" thoughts and screening out the ""defective"" (read negative) variety. Kushel, a practicing psychotherapist, discovered the centering process after taking his licks in academic life, and swears by its calming effects on his patients: ""Olga took off, in her mind's eye, into the sunset, past the yellow flowers, and over the beautiful green hill."" The conscious part of the process, with which the book is primarily concerned, treats the mind like a file cabinet ripe for weeding: the newer, more positive dossiers are guaranteed to assure one of, say, automatic lovability: ""You need to store up a generous supply of effective self-esteem thoughts so you can choose them whenever you need them."" Padded-out extensions of the basic premise include ""commitment"" to inner liberation, a clarification of one's purpose in life, and a dash of ""adventure"" (read spontaneity and unpredictability). There may be no harm in a sales pitch that stresses responsibility for one's own thoughts and attitudes; but when it comes to a process of rigorously policing one's own thoughts, with a reflex effect on behavior assumed, the ice wears treacherously thin.