Harold gives us a chance to think together about how one takes care of one's self and patients as well as one's loved ones. Often it can be complicated to find the balance. It appears that Harold has such a problem. We are meeting a man who is in pain. He fears that there will be no solution with out some party losing and he has very strong fears about how severely the parties will be injured.
It is likely as Henry suggests that Harold learned this theory in his childhood. The history he is about to give us will help put a perspective to his dilemna. I would guess that we will meet a parent who was very self-sacrificing and got little in return. Harold is trapped with a lot of uncomfortable feelings about what he can have for himself without hurting the ones he loves. His fears of dying and anxiety at exploring his thoughts freely suggest to me that in that decade he was afraid to see his thoughts clearly for fear that he might have to take action to deal with his unhappiness. His relationship with Meg appears to have provided a holding pattern for many years. His current discomfort speaks to a desire to be authentic but again it carries consequenses that are dangerous for him.
I ( as did Harold) love the way that Don offered him time to sort out what he wanted and needed. I am not sure if or what the recovery will be or look like. He needs to feel like it would be safe to sort out his options and needs without any dead bodies appearing. His omnipotent responsibility clouds his judgment. He is very straightforward about accepting Don's help and will be well served by receiving active participation in making sense of his issues. I have the feeling that we will learn that all is not as perfect as it appears. He may have had compelling reasons to fear leaving his wife (he may see her correctly or not as very fragile) and Meg may not be the "right" choice either.
Why the activity is helpful to him we don't exactly know yet, but I think Don is wise to listen to Harold's request and see if it aids or interferes with the work. It seems as though he is worried about what others think about him. He feels ashamed and stupid, and will want to reasure himself that Don is not harshly judging him as he is surely doing to himself for daring to want so much in his life. I think it is a very positive step for Harold to seek help. I think he will get it with Don.