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Academic contexts emphasize the cognitive component of writing. However, for tutors to effectively meet students’ needs they must also give attention to the affective, or emotional, component. At times, anxieties about session productivity or a perceived inability to meet students’ needs cause tutors to fall into a defensive mindset in which they attempt to address students’ emotional states as quickly as possible. Rather than allowing this mindset to dominate the session, tutors should practice the empathetic mindset, giving students the space and support to express their emotional needs. Emphatic listening facilitates the empathetic mindset, positioning tutors to act as a mirror for the students’ emotions and listen to their needs without assumptions or judgement. Vulnerability involves a mutual disclosure in which both student and tutor are willing to be open about their struggles and experiences. Emotional intelligence refers to one’s ability to identify and respond to emotional behaviors within oneself and others. Through an articulated organizational culture of openness, honesty, and acceptance, we can cultivate an emotionally intelligent writing center.