Bonnie Burstow (March 6, 1945 – January 4, 2020) was a Canadian psychotherapist, author, and anti-psychiatry scholar. She was a professor in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. In 2016, the University of Toronto launched the Bonnie Burstow Scholarship in Antipsychiatry, which is awarded annually to students at the OISE conducting research in anti-psychiatry.[3] It is the first anti-psychiatry scholarship in the world, and it provoked a controversy regarding academic freedom after it was announced.[4] It was criticized by a mental health activist, who noted in the Huffington Post that the scholarship had been praised by the Canadian division of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a non-profit organization established by the Church of Scientology. Burstow insists that attempts to connect her to Scientology are "bogus smear tactics".[5] In 2019, she gave $25,000 of her own money to create the Bonnie Burstow Scholarship for Research into Anti-Semitism.[6] She has written several nonfiction books, including Psychiatry And The Business Of Madness (2015), as well as the novels The House On Lippincott (2006) and The Other Mrs. Smith (2017).[7]

Bonnie Burstow
Bonnie Grower

(1945-03-06)March 6, 1945
DiedJanuary 4, 2020(2020-01-04) (aged 74)
Resting placePardes Chaim Cemetery, Toronto[2]
EducationUniversity of Manitoba
University of Toronto
Known forAnti-psychiatry
Scientific career
InstitutionsOntario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto
ThesisAuthentic human existence--its nature, its opposite, its meaning for therapy: a rendering of and a response to the position of Jean-Paul Sartre (1982)

Burstow died at the age of 74 on January 4, 2020.[2]


  1. ^ Burstow, Bonnie (2009-02-02). "Interview with Bonnie Burstow" (PDF) (Interview). Interviewed by Alexandra Rutherford. Psychology’s Feminist Voices. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  2. ^ a b c Necrocanada (2020-01-06). "Bonnie Burstow Saturday January 04 2020, death notice, Canada". Canada Obituaries | 2020. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  3. ^ "Bonnie Burstow Scholarship". Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  4. ^ Tate, Emily (2017-01-17). "At U of Toronto, professors debate whether academic freedom covers work some view as fake science". Inside Higher Education. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  5. ^ Ritchie, Kevin (2016-11-16). "Bonnie Burstow launches the world's first antipsychiatry scholarship at OISE". Now. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  6. ^ Lungen, Paul (2019-04-29). "Professor creating endowment to study anti-Semitism". Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  7. ^ Gillis, Carla (2017-12-22). "Bonnie Burstow's The Other Mrs. Smith is an idealized account of a woman recovering from electroshock". Now. Retrieved 2019-08-04.

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