Attempts to profile terrorists have failed resoundingly, leaving behind a poor (and unfair) impression of the potential for a sound psychological contribution to understanding the terrorist. However, recent work in
the area has delivered promising and exciting starting points for a conceptual development in understanding the psychological process across all levels of terrorist involvement. Involvement in terrorism is a complex
psychosocial process that comprises at least three seemingly distinct phases: becoming involved, being involved—synonymous with engaging in unambiguous terrorist activity—and disengaging (which may or may
not result in subsequent de-radicalization). A critical implication of these distinctions is the recognition that each of them may contain unique, or phase-specific, implications for counterterrorism. An argument is
made for greater consideration of the disengagement phase with a clearer role for psychological research to inform and enhance practical counterterrorism operations.