We've all seen it in film and hour-long format TV dramas, a brilliant criminal profiler, seen as the best in his field by their peers, delves 'too deeply' into the mind of the killer/rapist/undesirable he or she is looking for and disastrous consequences ensue. This often turns out in one of a few ways (the profiler committed the last N crimes unaware, he/she is led into a trap, he/she becomes the new killer, etc.).
My question is could this realistically happen? Would spending enough time trying to make yourself think like a serial murderer/crazed sex offender/phantom peanut butter thief really cause someone to 'slip in' to their behaviour patterns, unbeknownst to the profiler?
On one hand it seems like if you were trying to force yourself to think like a killer, eventually with enough dedication and time it might become second nature. But it still seems a little far-fetched that a perfectly normal (aka. non-murdering) person would be capable of it. Is this really even a technique used in this field?