Applications of deflation techniques to the study of excited states of quantum systems are analyzed. It is demonstrated how these methods allow us to transform the excited state problem of one Hamiltonian, into the ground state problem of an auxiliary one. As an example, potential application in the density functional treatment of excited states is discussed. The inclusion of approximations in this scheme, such as the solution of the proposed model within a finite basis set is discussed. An extension of the Hartree–Fock (HF) method to excited states is presented. This new treatment includes previous self consistent field extensions to excited states and provides us with a way to obtain the HF extension to excited states of any ground state method. These results make the excited states of a system accessible through all ground state theoretical techniques. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.