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“The Ghost in the Box”

Welcome to “The Ghost In The Box”

We are please to announce the Internet Publication of Robert Shellenberger and Judith Green’s historical monograph, “From The Ghost in the Box To Successful Biofeedback Training” (Originally published by Health Psychology Publications, Greeley, Co, in 1986).  This publication caused a major revolution in the field of biofeedback by clarifying the assumptions underlying the discipline and providing new conceptual insight into the mechanisms of its effectiveness.

Unlike the 300+ other (free) articles published on InContiNet, this publication is “shareware”.  If you value the book (or any part of it) and use it in your professional thinking, you are asked to “register” your copy with the authors and pay a modest $5 fee.  That’s a real bargain, since the original 1986 edition (which has long been out of print) was $9.95!  We believe this is the world’s first publication of an established “book” as shareware, and we hope that the honor system works as well here as it does for computer software shareware.

The individual chapters have been formated separately to allow easy downloading as they become available.  The sections already published here are indiciated by underlined colored document names; the remaining chapters will be published here in order over the next few days and weeks.  The eight componets are listed below. [click on blue link to download chapter.]  Note: These chapters are in HTML format; after downloading to your web browser, you should SAVE the chapter to your hard disk.  Hint: Make a new folder called “Ghost” to keep them together in your favorite “downloading” area.  You will need to use your browser in “open file” mode to read and print the chapter(s) from your harddisk, unless your word processor is an advanced one that can read HTML documents.

ghost0.htm – The title page, preface, Table of Contents and acknowledgements (There’s no index, so be sure to get the table of contents!*)
ghost1.htm – Chapter 1: Models of Biofeedback Training
ghost2.htm – Chapter 2: Methodological and Conceptual Errors [Note: The Netscape “bug” has been fixed] ghost3.htm – Chapter 3: Unsuccessful Biofeedback Training
 – Chapter 4: Successful Biofeedback Training
ghost5.htm – Chapter 5: The Tomato Effect, The Placebo Effect, and Science
ghost6.htm – Chapter 6: From the Ghost in the Box to Successful Biofeedback Training
ghost7.htm – Author information and complete Reference list

*There is no word index to the book, but if you use the “find in this page” function of your browser (under Edit), you can quickly locate significant key words.   The process will be even more effective if you cut and paste all the separate chapters into one file called, e.g., “TheGhost.htm”.

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A Personal Recommendation
by John D. Perry, PhD, BCIA-C

When “Ghost” was first published in 1986 it created quite a storm in biofeedback circles.  Since I had been specializing in biofeedback for over a decade, I eagerly bought a copy — but somehow didn’t get around to reading it until some weeks later when we went on a two-week Cape Cod August vacation.  After the car was unpacked and we settled in, I began to read “Ghost” — and discovered that it explained most of the mysteries that had been bothering me.  In fact, it read like a murder mystery — I could not put it down!  I think I finally finished the book about 4 am, after reading it from cover to cover.

When I finally woke up later that day, the first thing I did was try to call Bob at Aims Community College to congratulate him on the great accomplishment.  Alas, Bob and Judy were also on vacation, this time scuba diving in Mexico.  It was several more days before I got to express my appreciation directly to the authors by telephone.

For many years “The Ghost” was virtually required reading in our Perry Institute Workshops on Treating Pelvic Muscle disorders.  It is impossible to appreciate the biofeedback treatment of incontinence and related problems without understanding the “Mastery Model” that Shellenberger and Green present here.   And now, through the miracle of the Internet, we are proud to present this masterpiece — for less than the price of a hamburger at a good restaurant.  Wow!   It doesn’t get much better than this!

An Historical Note

“The Ghost” was written in 1986, and therefore only cites research in the decade preceeding.  If you are new to biofeedback, and only reading current literature, you may not have encountered many of the methodological errors that “The Ghost” describes.  That’s because many, if not most, of the researchers in mainstream biofeedback have adopted the lessons of “The Ghost” and avoided the errors that it describes.

The same cannot be said, however, for biofeedback research conducted by specialists in other medical fields, such as urology, gynecology, and gasteroenterology.  Any number of studies could be cited in the field of incontinence and pelvic muscle work that continue to commit many, if not most, of the methodological errors described in Chapter 2.   The recent BC/BS-TEC report in Incontinence, for example, was written by people who obviously never read “The Ghost”!

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