Ketamine is a glutamate (NMDA receptor) modulator, and is the only legal psychedelic medicine available to mental health providers for the treatment of easing emotional suffering. Studies have shown psychedelic assisted psychotherapy utilizes the acute psychological effects to enhance the normal mechanisms of psychotherapy. Ketamine is a dissociative drug, allowing the patient to achieve a state of dissociation of the mind from the body, look at experiences differently, thus allow changes to how one thinks and thus sees the world while in that state. As the Ketamine wears off, the memory of the trauma is still there, but the physical and emotional charge around it is lifted.
Ketamine infusions are described as inducing a hypnotic or dream-like state. In this state the mind is more malleable, allowing the breakdown of psychological defenses, in turn accelerating processing of emotional material that would otherwise take months to work through. In other words, ketamine-facilitated therapy allows us to gain access to the unconscious, allowing for deeper, more meaningful and transpersonal experiences than talk therapy or hypnotic therapy, alone. Creating the bridge between intellectual awareness and emotional memory, in a therapeutic environment, can be the key in allowing the processing of trauma.